143. Action Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Secretary of the Treasury Connally to President Nixon 1


  • Reappointment of Robert S. McNamara as President of the World Bank

The Board of the World Bank has recently voted informally to reappoint Robert S. McNamara as its President.2 His term is scheduled to terminate in April, 1973 with the new term running for five years from that date. Mr. McNamara will not accept reappointment unless he is confident that his acceptance would meet with your complete endorsement.

It would be most desirable if you would meet briefly with Mr. McNamara and urge him to accept the reappointment.3 As President of the Bank, Mr. McNamara has been of invaluable assistance to the Administration. He has meticulously followed our advice even on occasions when that advice did not necessarily parallel his own personal convictions as is the case with our assistance efforts associated with the East Pakistan situation. As a former member of the Democratic Administration, he has remained absolutely steady and supportive of your policies on Vietnam although he has undoubtedly been under a great deal of pressure to bolt. Perhaps more importantly, Mr. McNamara has been a most efficient and capable President of the Bank whose reputation and competence has added a great deal to the effectiveness and prestige of that organization.

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That you endorse the reappointment of Robert S. McNamara for an additional term as President of the World Bank and that you meet with him briefly to assure him that you look with favor on his accepting reappointment.4

  • Henry A. Kissinger
  • John B. Connally
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 306, IBRD/IMF. Confidential.
  2. As early as July 14, Samuels sent Secretary Rogers an information memorandum advising him that McNamara’s term expired in 1973. Noting that a decision would be required no later than the Annual Meeting in September 1972, Samuels commented that Canada had already begun to line up support for McNamara’s reappointment and that the Bank would soon be requesting the views of the Executive Directors. Samuels noted that, due to retirements among the Bank’s senior officials, whoever served as President would have considerable influence on the Bank’s future management. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AID (IBRD) 9)
  3. In a September 15 memorandum to Kissinger regarding a meeting with McNamara scheduled for the next day, Staff Secretary Davis included McNamara’s tenure as IBRD President as an item for discussion. Davis commented that McNamara might raise the rumor that the President wanted him removed when his term expired in 1973. She suggested that Kissinger indicate he had no evidence to that effect. She added, parenthetically, that if the rumor were true, it might be Connally’s doing, and suggested that Kissinger pursue the matter with him. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 306, IBRD/IMF)
  4. The President underscored “you meet with him briefly to assure him” and initialed the “Approve” option. At the top of the memorandum, Kissinger wrote: “Set up appointment soonest. I need to attend.” On October 14 Kissinger sent the President a briefing memorandum for his October 15 meeting with McNamara. One of the suggested talking points read: “You would personally consider it a benefit and a service to the United States and to the international community if McNamara were to accept a second term as President of the World Bank.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 306, IBRD/IMF) The President met with McNamara from 10:08 to 10:37 a.m. on October 15; Connally and Kissinger also attended the meeting. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) No record of the discussion was found. McNamara was elected to a second term in 1973.