82. National Security Action Memorandum No. 3421


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Secretary of Commerce
  • The Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare
  • The Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • The Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
  • The Administrator, Agency for International Development
  • The Director, United States Information Agency
  • The Special Assistant to the President for Telecommunications and Director of Telecommunications Management


  • U.S. Assistance in the Early Establishment of Communications Satellite Service for Less-Developed Nations

In carrying out his responsibilities under the Communications Satellite Act of 1962, the President has directed that the United States Government take active steps to encourage the construction of earth-station links to the worldwide communications satellite system in selected less-developed countries. Emphasis in this effort is to be on encouraging the selected countries to construct these stations out of their own resources, stressing the many benefits of direct access to the global communications satellites.

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The Special Assistant to the President for Telecommunications/Director of Telecommunications Management has been designated by the President as the agent for coordinating this project.

The State Department and AID are to determine (a) the countries to be included in this program and (b) U.S. Government actions, if any, for encouraging the accelerated construction of earth stations and related facilities in these countries. In cases involving possible U.S. technical or financial assistance, the President has directed that no special funds should be requested. All funding of such projects is to be handled out of current AID FY 1966 appropriations or out of regular FY 1967 funds.

The Department of State is to report its findings to the President, through the Special Assistant for Telecommunications/Director of Telecommunications Management, by July 1, 1966.2

The President has directed that the Executive Agent and Manager of the National Communications System and U.S. Government agencies operating facilities outside the NCS utilize the global communications satellite system in handling traffic whenever possible and where national security requirements will not be compromised, consistent with sound cost-efficiency and other management considerations.

A Working Group is to be established, in accordance with the President’s instruction, to study the possibilities of using the communications satellite system to advance information exchange and educational purposes, in line with his desire that the United States play a greater role in international educational efforts, particularly in less-developed countries.3

Bromley Smith
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, NSAM Files: Lot 70 D 316. Confidential. Also printed in John M. Logsdon, ed., Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civilian Space Program, vol. III: Using Space (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1998), pp. 95–96.
  2. See Document 86.
  3. The White House Working Group on Educational Uses Abroad of Communications Satellites submitted its report through O’Connell to Rostow on June 30. (Memorandum from Read to Rostow, June 30; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SP 12–1) Regarding the President’s approval of the report, see Document 92.