24. Memorandum From the President’s Military Assistant (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Organization of National Security Council Staff and White House Office of the
  • Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

In coordination with Mr. Eagleburger, I have completed an analysis of the organizational structure of the National Security Council staff and of your White House office and am submitting herewith our recommendations for the reorganization of both.

The plan provides recommendations in three broad areas:

Section I—The organization of your White House office.
Section II—The organization of the National Security Staff Secretariat and,
Section III—The organization of the National Security Council Staff.

[Page 54]

Within each of these three areas, functional responsibilities are delineated and the interface between all three are outlined.

Section I—Organization of the Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Executive Assistant


The Executive Assistant (Larry Eagleburger) would continue to provide full range of personal staff assistance to you. He would maintain complete cognizance of your daily activities and serve as your focal point for the transmission of instructions to and from the Office of the President through the designated Assistants to the President and intergovernmentally at the Special Assistant level and above, and to the NSC staff through the Military Assistant. Normally, the Executive Assistant will delegate to the Military Assistant liaison at the Special Assistant/Military Assistant level with the Department of Defense, Director, OEP, and Central Intelligence Agency. It is emphasized that contacts with the NSC staff would be effected through the Military Assistant or in coordination with him with the view toward relieving the Executive Assistant of time consuming coordination with the NSC staff so that he can be totally responsive to the rapid pace of your daily activities, plan ahead to preclude short deadlines in your schedule and foresee potential trouble spots.

In processing the flow of business related to the NSC, the Executive Assistant will, after clearance of NSC substantive papers by the Military Assistant, present them to you with staff assistance as required and in sufficient time to insure assimilation and/or modification prior to consideration by the National Security Council and/or the Review Group.

The Executive Assistant would be located in the office adjacent to yours, with the desk against the window so that both of you would have easy access to each other through the interconnecting door, thus avoiding the risks associated with the reception room conduct of business. Entry to your office through the front door would be limited to scheduled visitors as controlled by your private secretary in coordination with you and the Executive Assistant.




[Page 55]

Military Assistant


The Military Assistant, Colonel Haig, will maintain cognizance of the full range of activities handled by the Executive Assistant and will be specifically charged with coordination of and liaison with National Security Council staff through the Staff Secretary or designated senior geographic substantive officers and the designated senior representatives of the Planning and Programming Sections as described in Section III.

The Military Assistant will insure that NSC and Review Group papers were available to you on a timely basis and are consistent with substantive guidance which you have provided. In effect, the Military Assistant would serve as the de facto Chief of Staff for substantive NSC affairs and be the single point of contact to insure final review of NSC papers prior to presentation through the Executive Assistant to you.

Military Assistant will be responsible for setting up thru the NSC Secretary or the substantive officer concerned, staff briefings, special briefings and meetings as may be required in the conduct of NSC business.

Military Assistant would exercise monitorship of the Daily Intelligence Briefing for the President by conducting a daily coordinating meeting with the substantive geographic officers and Mr. McCafferty and an assistant to be designated as outlined below.

Military Assistant will monitor 303 Committee agendas and activities working in close coordination with Mr. Frank Chapin and insure you are briefed on this material in a timely manner and that follow-up action is accomplished in timely fashion.

Military Assistant will be located with the Executive Assistant and be the point of contact with the NSC staff and will be able, as required, to fill in for the Executive Assistant in his absence.




Administrative Assistant


The Administrative Assistant, Bob Houdek, will be the point of receipt for all material forwarded to you from the NSC Staff Secretariat [Page 56] to be relocated in EOB and described in Section III. He will sort this material into categories such as “Information,” “Action” and “Signature.” He will also receive, for initial screening, material received from the Office of the President or other members of the White House staff and all out-of-house foreign affairs related material of a non-NSC operational nature for your or Presidential action. He will insure that it is properly logged and suspensed by the existing small White House office Administrative Section, dispatch it to the Staff Secretary if appropriate, or refer it to the Executive/Military Assistants. The Executive/Military Assistants will insure that priorities for your attention are established and that the paper work is substantively responsive and coordinated prior to delivery through the Executive Assistant to your desk.

Mr. Houdek would continue to participate in daily press briefings and provide liaison with the office of the Press Secretary.

The Administrative Assistant will continue to be located in the small office to the left of the guard desk in the West Basement.




Information and Intelligence Operations

Mr. Art McCafferty and one qualified designated Assistant will prepare, based on all source reports (including submissions by the substantive staff) and the daily draft intelligence summary for the President. It will be available by 1730 hours each day in time for the coordinating meeting between you, the Military Assistant and appropriate members of the NSC staff. The meeting will be held in the Situation Room and should include, as necessary, participation by the CIA briefer, Mr. [name not declassified].

(This meeting will enable NSC staff members to insure that items presented to the President in the morning brief are accurate, have been subjected to their analysis where required and contain the latest factual data available. Participation by Mr. [name not declassified] in this meeting would also permit proper coordination of material contained in the CIA Daily Brief with the basic memoranda prepared for the President. It will also go far toward improving the responsiveness of the CIA Daily Brief by highlighting special items of Presidential interest. Notwithstanding, there will be occasions when the CIA representative will be excused.)

[Page 57]

If you are not available for this meeting, it should be conducted by the Military Assistant to insure that the coordination is effected on a timely basis and that a final coordinated draft will be available for your subsequent review prior to your meeting with the President the following morning. The morning update will be conducted for you by the Military Assistant.




Organization of the White House Office Secretarial Staff

It is essential that the reception room be maintained as an orderly, non-substantive administrative area which is occupied solely by required secretarial support. The following secretarial organization is proposed:

Joan McCarthy—Personal secretary, responsible for the maintenance of your daily calendar, in coordination with the Executive Assistant (a separate analysis of your personal schedule has been prepared by Mr. Eagleburger as attached at Tab F).

Mildred Zayac—Mrs. McCarthy’s Deputy, responsive to your personal requirements, with the full capability of filling in for Mrs. McCarthy so that acceptable working hours can be established for both.

Sally Dahler—Perform confidential secretarial duties for you and also fill in as required in general front office clerical work.

Secretary to be designated for the Executive Assistant.

Muriel Hartley—Secretary for the Military Assistant.

It is anticipated that the above secretarial staff would provide the full time competence required to support you, your Executive Assistant and your Military Assistant (each is capable of filling in for the other). Additional late hour assistance can be provided by Mrs. Lora Simkus to insure that the secretarial staff is not subjected to the excessive workloads of recent weeks.




[Page 58]

Section II—System for the Processing of Papers Related to National Security

As soon as practicable, the point of receipt of all paper work related to the National Security Council affairs should be designated as the NSC Staff Secretariat which will be set up under the supervision of the NSC Staff Secretary, Mr. Moose, in the Executive Office Building (Mr. Bromley Smith should serve as his adviser and be located with him). It will be the function of this Staff Secretariat to receive, log and establish suspenses for all NSC related paper work. Decision will be made by the Secretariat as to the processing of this paper. Normally, it will entail immediate dispatch to the responsible substantive officer, or to the Planning or Programming Section and also provide for mandatory coordination between all affected staff members. Logging and suspenses will also be established for all correspondence referred to the NSC for action from your White House office.




When an issue is urgent and demands your immediate attention, it will be sent simultaneously to your office and to the substantive officer or officers most concerned to minimize delay. Specifically, the Secretariat itself should be organized under Mr. Moose to provide the following:

Prompt servicing and central control of all NSC action papers or papers referred to the NSC staff by the White House office.
A system for guaranteeing coordination between individual members and staff sections of the NSC staff.
The provision of administrative support to the NSC Staff to include clerical assistance, transportation, personnel services, messenger service and space control.
Maintenance of the budgetary, personnel and organization framework of the NSC staff. (Mr. Moose has already recommended that he be authorized to acquire the services of a budget specialist to prepare a revised NSC budget. We recommend approval of this action so that budgetary estimates can be promptly prepared.)
Maintenance of the NSC staff communications system which will provide for the rapid distribution of cables, intelligence publications, and reports to the NSC staff.
Maintain liaison with the departments and agencies within the national security structure at the Staff Secretariat level. As a rule, a Staff Secretary would not deal with the Assistants to the principals of the Departments and Agencies. This liaison should be effected through the Executive Assistant or the Military Assistant as previously outlined.
The Staff Secretary will work in close coordination with the Chief of the Planning Section and especially the Chief of the NSC Support Group, in the preparation and timely distribution of all NSC agenda related papers. The Staff Secretary will insure that all NSC related papers, including NSSMs, NSDMs, are standardized as to format and style and are properly numbered and distributed among the interested agencies on a timely basis. Based on guidance from the Chief of the Planning Section, the Staff Secretary will maintain suspense files, a master calendar of NSC and Review Group work schedules and related calendar of NSC business. It is essential that the reproduction capability of the Secretariat provide for the rapid reproduction of multiple copies of NSC documents so that timely distribution of material of substantive interest to all staff personnel is promptly furnished these officers for comment as required. The Staff Secretary’s Administrative Assistant must be capable of insuring this action in coordination with the Chief of the Planning section who must be equally conscious of this responsibility.
Establish a messenger service responsive to the requirements of your White House office and the interagency requirements of the NSC staff.
Serve as the single point of contact between your office, for all NSC matters, as well as matters referred by your office to the NSC staff.
Serve as the point of contact for the clearance of cables from State, Defense, CIA or other agencies and departments as required. Normal routine would provide for receipt of the cable initially at the White House office and dispatch to the Secretariat through Mr. Houdek who will log the message. Once staff clearance has been obtained, it will be returned to Mr. Houdek for your clearance after which it will be officially cleared by the Staff Secretary who will also maintain a log and suspense on the messages.8 Some messages which the staff officer considers routine or totally consistent with your views should be cleared by him thru the Secretary without further reference to you. Through this system, a double suspense will insure no cable clearances are missed. This system will also enable us to restrict highly classified or personal traffic to the White House office if so determined by you or your immediate staff.
Serve as the point of contact for the receipt of White House initiated requirements received by your White House office which should be referred to the Staff Secretariat for logging, suspense and assignment of action to the appropriate substantive officer or staff section. As with cables, a double log and suspense system would be used, first in your office and secondly, within the Staff Secretariat to insure a double check and timely receipt of the response. High priority requirements of the President or his White House staff would be brought to the attention of the Military Assistant or the Executive Assistant by Mr. Houdek prior to or simultaneously with processing through the Staff Secretariat so that you are aware of the requirement.

(Mr. Moose has recommended the acquisition of a highly qualified administrative assistant from the Department of State to assist in establishing the Administrative Section within the Staff Secretariat and it is recommended that he be provided with this assistance.)9

Section III—Organization of the National Security Council Staff

There is an urgent need for a prompt and finite delineation of responsibilities within the substantive NSC staff. This delineation of responsibilities will unquestionably generate personal resentment on the part of individuals who had been told or who have assumed that they would play a role which would be greater or perhaps somewhat different from what sound organization dictates.

Recognizing this, we have spoken to several of the principal officers, with the view towards getting a cross section of attitudes on organizational arrangements, especially as they pertain to the interface between the geographic officers and the Planning and the Program sections. Unfortunately, each visualizes a degree of authority and responsibility which could only be achieved at the expense of adjacent staff section or substantive officer. Thus, hard decisions must be made now which are based on the overall efficiency of the NSC staff and more importantly, which provide the kind of balance, expertise and judgment essential at this level.

  • —At Tab A is a proposed Organizational Chart of the NSC Staff.10
  • —At Tab B is a proposed draft mission statement for the Operations Section.
  • —At Tab C is a proposed draft mission statement for the Planning Section.
  • —At Tab D is a proposed draft mission statement for the Programs Section.
  • —At Tab E is a Procedure Outline for the processing of papers for Review Group and NSC Meetings prepared primarily by Mr. Halperin.
  • —At Tab F is a separate analysis of your personal schedule.


That you approve in principle the organizational concept outlined;

That you convene a meeting of the staff and furnish them with copies of the attachments with the provision that functions are in draft only and are subject to refinement in coordination with the Military Assistant;

That, in the interim, the organization be set up as outlined effective February 13, to include execution of all physical moves by the close of business February 13.

(Mr. Dave McManis (NSA) is prepared to serve as Intelligence Assistant and can be here on February 13. He would remain on NSA payroll.)11

  1. 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. No classification marking.
  2. Kissinger checked this option.
  3. Kissinger checked this option.
  4. Kissinger checked this option.
  5. Kissinger checked the “Approve” option and next to the “Other” option, wrote: “except for [name not declassified] presence.”
  6. Kissinger checked this option.
  7. Kissinger checked this option.
  8. In the left margin next to this sentence, Kissinger wrote: “Within 48 hours.”
  9. Beneath this paragraph (the bottom of page 8), Kissinger wrote: “OK HK.”
  10. Tab A is not attached. Tabs B–F are not printed.
  11. At the end of the text, Kissinger wrote (presumably referring to the entire memorandum), “want to discuss minor changes—Role of Halperin etc.”