87. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for Telecommunications (O’Connell) to President Johnson 1


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

Progress has been made in recent months towards meeting the President’s desire that the U.S. Government take active steps to encourage the construction of earth station links to the worldwide communications satellite system in selected less developed countries.

Pursuant to your direction as conveyed in National Security Action Memorandum No. 342, dated March 4, 1966, the State Department has determined: (a) The countries recommended for inclusion in this program and (b) current and potential U.S. Government actions to encourage accelerated construction of earth stations and related facilities. Action has been limited in accordance with your direction in that no special funding has been considered appropriate.

The enclosed memorandum has been prepared for the President jointly by the Department of State and the Agency for International [Page 164] Development and is transmitted herewith in accordance with NSAM 342.2

You will note the positive action taken with respect to Africa. This action was stimulated by the President’s remarks to the Organization of African Unity on May 26, 19663 and the constructive assistance of Ambassador Ed Korry.

Planning for the construction of earth stations in only three of the thirteen countries selected by the State Department appears to be lagging. These countries are Turkey, Pakistan and Korea. As noted in the enclosed memorandum, AID is prepared to consider possible assistance to these countries.

I recommend that you approve the recommendations set forth in the enclosed memorandum and that you approve stepped-up U.S. initiatives with respect to Turkey, Pakistan and Korea.

I will continue to serve as the President’s agent for coordinating this project with the State Department and AID and will report by January 1, 1967 concerning further progress made.

J.D. O’Connell
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Charles E. Johnson Files,COMSAT—Educational Purposes NSAM 342 (Domestic and Foreign), #3, Box 12. Confidential.
  2. NSAM No. 342 is Document 82. An advance copy of the enclosed report is printed as Document 86.
  3. Johnson spoke of three missions on which Africa and the United States could work together: First, to strengthen regional economic activities; second, to increase the number of trained Africans; and third, to develop effective communications. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, Book I, pp. 556–560)