109. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Samuels) to Secretary of State Rogers and the Under Secretary of State (Richardson)1


  • Under Secretaries Committee

The Under Secretaries Committee has achieved an extremely important role in the decision-making process in the Government and the chairmanship of this committee has enabled the State Department to play a very important role in the formulation of policy decisions. It is important that nothing be done to detract from State’s role.

For example, a draft paper is in circulation by Kissinger’s office, remitting to the Under Secretaries Committee a watching brief over the EC enlargement negotiations and the U.S. Government’s relations with the European Community. I am told by one of the members of the NSC staff that the question has already been raised by one agency as to whether this watching brief ought not now to be placed elsewhere.

Considering the importance of the Under Secretaries Committee and State’s role in it, I suggest that if a new Under Secretary is not designated prior to Elliot’s confirmation,2 it might be desirable upon his confirmation to designate Alex Johnson as Chairman of the Committee, at least pro tem, and so advise all other agencies.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, General Files on NSC Matters, Box 2, Administrative, Vol. 1. No classification marking.
  2. Richardson stepped down as Under Secretary of State on June 23 to become Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. In a June 12 memorandum, NSCU/N 23, Richardson notified members of the Under Secretaries Committee that he had asked Johnson to become acting chairman pending the arrival of a successor. (Ibid., S/SNSCU/N Files: Lot 83 D 277) John Irwin entered on duty as Under Secretary of State on September 21 and assumed chairmanship of the Under Secretaries Committee on October 14. (Ibid.)