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297. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Pedersen) to Secretary of State Rogers 1

We have laid on a staff meeting for you in your conference room at 9:30 this morning. It will include the ranking offers in ACDA, USIA and the Peace Corps and all officials in the Department and AID through Assistant Secretary level.2

I have not asked them to make reports around the room as has usually been the case in this meeting, on the assumption that you would want to raise a few points yourself this time.

I would suggest that you might cover the following matters:

1. Organization of the Department

Explain a) that Mr. Richardson will be your alter ego and exercise the major responsibility of the Department for the direction, coordination and supervision of interdepartmental activities abroad;

b) that Mr. Johnson will have primary responsibility for coordination and supervision of day-to-day operations of the functional and geographical bureaus;

c) that a Deputy Under Secretary will be appointed for Economic Affairs who will have primary responsibility for the coordination of economic assistance and the economic functions of the Department;

d) that I will be an adviser to you on major foreign policy problems and give general guidance to the Executive Secretariat; and

e) that you intend to rely heavily on your Assistant Secretaries and will look to them to exercise extensive authority within their respective jurisdictions.

2. NSC Machinery

Attached is the memorandum from you that we have now started to use on preparation of NSC materials.3 You might want to elaborate on the NSC a little, as some of them (and certainly their staffs) may still be concerned. I would recommend that you emphasize there are two different processes. First, their roles in the NSC channel of stating [Page 670]as clearly and honestly as possible to the President the alternative courses of action he could follow on a given problem that would be consistent with U.S. interests. Second, the preparation by them as a State Department matter of a recommendation to you as to the policy position you should take among these alternatives in the NSC, stating the judgments for and against this and other alternatives as clearly as possible.4

3. General Relations with the White House

There are numerous requests coming from various members of the NSC staff to the Department for information and studies. While we should be as cooperative as possible we also want to keep the system under control. You might tell the Assistant Secretaries that we do want to be cooperative but (a) that Mr. Kissinger has made clear to us that nothing is a formal request unless it has been conveyed by him to the Secretary, Under Secretaries or Ambassador Pedersen, and (b) a request that all information to be transmitted to Mr. Kissinger should be sent out through S/S. If the Assistant Secretaries feel they are being overloaded they should let you know.

4. Broad Prospective of Foreign Policy

You might note that in your first message to the Department5 you called special attention to the agencies of the Department (AID and the Peace Corps) and to those closely associated with us (ACDA and USIA). You might observe that as modern foreign policy is composed not just of government to government diplomacy but of a vast web of relationships—military, economic, scientific, cultural and informational you feel that all of them must be fully integrated into our foreign policy. Accordingly, you intend to include personnel and ideas from all of these agencies fully within your own deliberations, and you encourage them to participate with the rest of the Department.

5. Young People

In a similar vein you might point out that you are very much interested in improving the reputation and reality of the Department’s [Page 671]relationships with young people, both inside and outside the building. Your comment about new ideas in your first statement to the Department was therefore a real one and you look to them as Assistant Secretaries to encourage young people to express their views. You will rely on the Assistant Secretaries to sit down and evaluate such views but you believe the young, the impatient and even rebellious should be assured they can have their views considered and evaluated on their merits. Whenever a young person feels that his views should be transmitted to the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary should permit this to be done. You will also be taking further institutional steps in this area, on which you are not yet fully decided.

6. Country Directors

Partly as a general policy and partly also to encourage the younger people, you want the Assistant Secretaries to feel free to bring with them to appointments with you their Country Directors or other responsible officers as they choose. As the counterparts of the Ambassadors overseas, you expect to look to the Country Directors for much advice and you hope to have a chance to meet them as rapidly as possible as the occasions permit.

Richard F. Pedersen 6
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Pedersen Files: Lot 75 D 229, Chron File. No classification marking.
  2. According to Rogers’ Appointment Book, the staff meeting began shortly after 9:30 a.m.; his next appointment was not until 10:15 a.m. (Personal Papers of William P. Rogers Appointment Books)
  3. Not attached.
  4. In talking points Pedersen first prepared for the staff meeting on January 22, the day on which it was originally scheduled, he devoted half his memorandum to “NSC Machinery.” He stated that the Department of State was being given “the key role” in the NSC policymaking process “in particular through being asked to chair NSC interdepartmental committees charged with presenting such policy alternatives to the President.” He also emphasized that “the President has reaffirmed the responsibility of the Secretary of State for the overall direction, coordination, and supervision of interdepartmental activities overseas, and for the supervision and direction of economic assistance, military assistance and sales programs.” (National Archives, RG 59, Executive Secretariat, Office Files of William P. Rogers: Lot 73D443, Miscellaneous Hold)
  5. For text of the message, January 22, see Department of State Bulletin, February 10, 1969, pp. 125–126.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.