21. Editorial Note

On February 6, 1969, the White House issued a press release announcing the steps that President Nixon had taken to “restore the National Security Council to the role set for it in the National Security Act of 1947.” The press release also announced that the President had “directed the reorganization and strengthening of the NSC staff.” The substantive components of the staff now consisted of: 1) an Operations Staff with seven subdivisions—for Latin America, Europe, East Asia, Near East and South Asia, Africa, International Economic Affairs, and Science, Disarmament and Atomic Energy; 2) Assistants for Programs; 3) a Planning Staff; and 4) the Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. For text of the press release, see Department of State Bulletin, February 24, 1969, pages 163–164.

Also on February 6 the Department of State issued Foreign Affairs Manual Circular No. 521 outlining the New National Security Council System as well as the authority and responsibility of the Secretary of State in the new system. In a message that same day to officers and employees of the Department of State, Secretary Rogers apprised them of the new system and assured them that it was the President’s intention that the Department “play a central and dynamic role” in the system. For text, see ibid., pages 164–165. The Secretary’s message was transmitted to all diplomatic and consular post in telegram 019246, February 6. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, ORG 1)

Earlier, in a January 25 memorandum, Secretary of Defense Laird had established procedures for Department of Defense participation in the National Security Council and its various components. He designated the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs as the central point of contact for NSC matters in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and as advisor to the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary for NSC matters. He also specified procedures to expedite coordination between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on agenda items prior to meetings of the NSC, the NSC Review Group, and the NSC Under Secretaries Committee. (Johnson Library, Halperin Papers, Box 5, NSC/RG) In a January 28 memorandum, Paul Warnke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, established basic responsibilities in ISA for carrying out the functions assigned to him by Secretary Laird. (Ibid.) In a January 29 memorandum, L.K. White, Executive Director Comptroller of the Central Intelligence Agency, outlined the new NSC system and established institutions and procedures for providing the system with CIA support. (Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry, Job 80–B01086A, Box 7, Folder 220, National Security Council)