22. Memorandum From the President’s Military Assistant (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
I have expressed to you on several occasions my concern that the NSC staff is not properly organized and that the functions of the components of the staff, i.e., the Operators, the Planners and the Programmers have not been sufficiently delineated and formalized to insure the kind of smooth staff work that is essential. I am equally concerned that the interface between the NSC staff and your personal staff, which should be oriented primarily to support the White House and the President, is also ragged and requires some finite functional sorting.
I have no personal ambitions with respect to this problem and am honored to serve in any capacity at this level, providing I have assured myself that you are getting the kind of support which you must have. It would be a tragedy if our failure to sort out organizational problems and establish sound internal management were to detract from the kind of service that I am sure you can provide to the President and to the country.
You mentioned to me on several occasions the problem of establishing a Deputy’s billet. After careful reflection, I am convinced that such a billet should be established, provided you are willing to delegate to the incumbent of that billet the authority that is needed to permit him to move promptly and decisively on organizational matters and to enable him to relieve you of the mounting inconsequential procedural details with which you are currently being plagued by various members of the NSC staff. As I suggested earlier, I think it is essential that the following things be done as soon as possible:
- A detailed organizational charter be promulgated among the staff, outlining the specific responsibilities of each staff member which provides for a finite interface between each staff section, and includes a conceptual flow of work projects through these sections, as well as appoints senior points of contact where appropriate, i.e., within planning and programming sections. It is equally important that the interface between your urgent, one-time support requirements for the President and the long-term, more formalized development of NSC projects be carefully outlined. I would foresee this as a primary responsibility for your Deputy, who should deal directly with the staff and the primary [Page 51] officers within the three sections of the staff to insure that the frictions of the past two weeks are promptly eliminated.
- Establish an Administrative Secretariat in the EOB under the supervision of a non-substantive, yet highly qualified administrative officer.
- Put Larry Eagleburger and your Deputy, or just the latter, in the office next to you and move all NSC administrative business to the EOB.
- Continue the preparation of Daily Presidential Briefs as currently set up but with a mandatory one hour coordinating period each evening to insure that the business and intelligence details included in the brief are carefully refined by you personally or by your Deputy and also to insure that you are thoroughly prepared before your morning meeting with the President.
- Dependent on the seniority of the Deputy that you select, the interface between Larry Eagleburger and the Deputy will require the most careful coordination. In any case, it is essential that these two individuals work together on a give and take basis, that one can fill for the other and that both are totally cognizant of each others’ responsibilities and the current actions being handled by each. As I visualize it, your Deputy’s principal focus would be on the flow of substantive information between the NSC staff and you and the requirement to insure that this information is provided on a timely basis and is substantively responsive to your guidance. I visualize that Larry Eagleburger will continue to provide you the broad personal attention in every area of activity in which you are involved.
While I am not volunteering to assume the Deputy’s responsibilities outlined above, I would be honored to serve you in this capacity and believe I could do much to relieve the errors and confusion of our first organizational days. In any event, I think it is essential that you move promptly to establish the lines of responsibility which I have outlined so that the best energies of our staff can be channeled to support you in an efficient manner.
If you approve this action, I am prepared to move, without delay, this weekend, to sort out these details in coordination with the members of the staff and in full recognition that there will be certain bruises develop with which I am prepared to cope.2
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger–Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1969–77, Box 40, Administrative File, National Security Council Organization (2), 2/7/69–2/11/69. Eyes Only; Private.↩
- Haig was promoted to Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in June 1970. In an April 15, 1969, letter to Laird in which he supported Haig’s candidacy for promotion to Brigadier General, Kissinger praised Haig’s “superb” performance. “He deals daily with a multitude of complicated and extremely sensitive subjects with an ease and maturity I have seldom seen, including supervision of much of the work my staff does for the National Security Council.” Kissinger concluded, “In short, I could not operate without him. He is the finest officer I have known.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 1, Chronological File)↩