309. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Organizational Changes for Latin America

You have stated you want to make significant organizational changes for handling Latin American affairs in the bureaucracy. I believe it would be desirable to announce this intention in your October 31 speech.2

State has so far confined its thinking on reorganization to upgrading the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs to Deputy Under Secretary. They believe they may need to seek legislation for this. They have not considered any steps relating to administration of development assistance, or to the problem of interagency coordination.

You have indicated your desire to up-grade that post to Under Secretary. I agree that this would be preferable to Deputy Under Secretary. This step will probably also require legislation, however, especially to clarify the designation of the No. 3 spot in the top echelon as well as the relationship to other top positions. I believe it would therefore be desirable to inform State now of your decision and instruct them to begin to draw up plans to implement it.

Some additional steps you may wish to consider or have staffed by the agencies to achieve more comprehensive change and greater efficiency, and for possible inclusion in the speech are:

A new or additional title for the new Under Secretary—e.g., Coordinator of Western Hemisphere Affairs—to replace the current title of [Page 691] Coordinator of the Alliance for Progress. This title could probably be granted immediately while legislation is pending to elevate the rank to Under Secretary. You could thus announce on October 31 that you are designating the Assistant Secretary as Coordinator and that you are seeking legislation to elevate his rank to Under Secretary.
Inclusion of the Office of Canadian Affairs in the Under Secretary’s jurisdiction. This could be done administratively.
A new organizational arrangement for administering Western Hemisphere development assistance, separate from AID. This would be a bold step. It would signify your intention to give our programs new directions, new style and new people. It would permit more flexibility in carrying out aid programs for Latin America. There are two basic organizational options:

Option A: Establish a new autonomous agency within State—The Western Hemisphere Development Agency—independent of AID. This could be done quickly by Executive Order. The agency could be headed by a new Administrator for Western Hemisphere Development with Assistant Secretary rank, who would be responsible directly to the Under Secretary for the Western Hemisphere.

(Under this option the organization and lines of authority would be neater; the new Under Secretary would have two senior deputies: an Assistant Secretary, equivalent to the present position, for traditional State functions; and the Administrator, with equivalent rank, for development assistance matters.)

Option B: Establish a new agency or corporation outside of State, with policy guidance from the new Under Secretary. This option would probably require new legislation. (Rockefeller recommends a corporation—the Institute for Western Hemisphere Development—under a new aid agency in the Executive Office of the President.)3

Action to implement the first two steps could be started immediately and announced in your October 31 speech. If you agree, State should be directed to work with the Budget Bureau to prepare the necessary directives.

The third step—a new aid organization for Latin America—is more complex and requires further staffing. However, you do not need to decide on the details of a specific organizational pattern now. The issue for the speech is whether you should announce your intention to establish a new and separate organization for aid to the hemisphere. I suggest that the Budget Bureau, which has responsibility and competence [Page 692] in the area of organizational management, be directed to do a quick study of possible new organizational arrangements for aid to Latin America, taking into account the views of the relevant agencies. You can then decide whether you want to take action on a new arrangement immediately, or direct the Peterson Commission to recommend a new organization for aid to Latin America in its report.


That you sign the memorandum to the Secretary of State at Tab A directing implementing actions to establish a new Under Secretary position and title for Western Hemisphere affairs, and inclusion of Canada in his jurisdiction.4
That you authorize me to initiate a quick staff study on a new organizational arrangement for aid to the Western Hemisphere.



See Me

3. That you authorize reference to these measures in your October 31 speech.



See Me

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 280, Department of State, Vol. IV, 10–1–69. Confidential. Sent for action. Vaky forwarded the memorandum to Kissinger for his signature under cover of an October 21 memorandum in which he stated that he had not discussed any of the measures with State and that no one in State was “doing anything.” Vaky commented further that 1) “State opposes an Under Secretary position, because that complicates their top echelon organization”; 2) State would “most likely oppose the inclusion of Canada in the new area”; and 3) AID would be “very opposed to an organizational change for aid to Latin America.” (Ibid.)
  2. In his remarks on October 31 at the annual meeting of the Inter-American Press Association the President announced that he was “directing a major reorganization and upgrading of the United States Government structure for dealing with Western Hemisphere affairs,” including preparation of a legislative request “raising the rank of the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs to Under Secretary—thus giving the hemisphere special representation.” For text, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1969, pp. 893–901.
  3. The recommendation was included in Nelson Rockefeller’s The Rockefeller Report on the Americas; The Official Report of a United States Presidential Mission for the Western Hemisphere (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969).
  4. Signed by the President and dated October 27. Nixon instructed Rogers to prepare, in coordination with BOB, any necessary directive for his signature and any necessary legislation. (Ibid.) Attached but not printed.
  5. The President checked this option. In an October 27 memorandum to Rogers, Robert Mayo (BOB), and John Hannah (AID), Kissinger indicated that the President wanted BOB, in coordination with State and AID, to prepare by October 29 a staff study “analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a new agency, separate from AID, to administer U.S. development assistance to Western Hemisphere nations.” (Ibid.)
  6. The President checked this option.