125. Memorandum From Jeanne Davis of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Talking Points for Your Luncheon with Under Secretary Irwin, Thursday, October 15
[Page 272]

This is the first of your planned weekly luncheons with Under Secretary Irwin,2 continuance of your regular sessions with Elliot Richardson. We have canvassed the staff for items you may wish to raise, with the following results:

[Omitted here are items concerning Jordanian relief activities and the Middle East.]

State’s Role in Interagency Coordination

State is still resisting the basic interagency concept of the NSC mechanism: specifically, papers prepared for the NSC or its subordinate bodies by the Interdepartmental Groups, the Under Secretaries Committee, or other groups chaired by State are, in many cases, being “approved” by the Secretary or an Under Secretary before they are sent here. Papers have often been seriously delayed, or even blocked, by this device. Wayne Smith’s recent experience with the “provocative attacks” paper is an example. In addition, State has taken the position that these papers, once blessed by the Secretary, are no longer open to interagency dissent.

This is unfair to the other agencies who, in effect, are being subjected to the veto power of the Secretary of State. It is not consistent with the basic concept which is designed to assure that all agency views can and should be put forward. The Secretary of State, of course, is free to submit his views separately if he wishes.

You may wish to remind Mr. Irwin of the direct responsibility of the IG Chairman (and the Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee) to the NSC, and the necessity for providing other agencies full opportunity to make their views known.3

[Omitted here is an item concerning security at the United Nations.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 340, HAK/Irwin Meetings. Secret.
  2. Richardson stepped down as Under Secretary of State on June 23, 1970, to become Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. John Irwin entered on duty as Under Secretary of State on September 21, 1970.
  3. According to his record of schedule, Kissinger and Irwin met from 1:35 to 2:32 p.m. on October 15, but no record of their discussion has been found. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–1976)