217. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Transition to Carter Administration

Mr. Anthony Lake, the head of the Carter Liaison Office for the State Department, met at 3 o’clock today in the Deputy Secretary’s Office with Deputy Secretary Robinson, Under Secretary Habib, Deputy Under Secretary Eagleburger, Executive Secretary Borg, Mr. Bartholomew of S/P, Mr. McManaway of M/MO, Mr. Boswell of M, and the undersigned. The Deputy Secretary greeted Mr. Lake and said the Department had organized a team headed by Larry Eagleburger which intended to help and cooperate fully with the Carter Team, and which was moving forward to meet the requirements which had been levied to date.

Mr. Lake said that he had met this morning with the liaison team for the State Department,2 which planned to move into the offices in New State on the afternoon of November 18 or the morning of November 19. Besides himself, the team would be comprised of Richard Moose, Dan Spiegel, Don McHenry (recently at the Carnegie Endowment and an ex-FSO who had worked on the 1968 transition), Bill Maines (also of Carnegie) and Paula Stern (who had worked for Senator Nelson3 and was interested in arms control and détente). McHenry and Maines would be working with the team half-time. There would also be three consultants, Joseph Nye (professor at Harvard), Eddie Williams (former head of the Department’s EEO office, who would advise on personnel matters), and Richard Holbrooke. Mr. Lake said that the Carter press people were not sure yet when these names would be published; he agreed with Mr. Eagleburger that it would be best to release them before they started work here.

In response to a question Mr. Lake said that the consultants would be directly involved in the team’s work and would need security clearances. Mr. Eagleburger noted the need for the team to apply for security clearances here in the Department.

[Page 721]

Mr. Lake said that he had emphasized to his team that they would be guests in the Department and should maintain a low profile. They would be acting as advance staff for the new Secretary yet to be designated (Mr. Lake said he did not know when the Secretary would be named), and they would have the job of assuring that the new Secretary would get the information he would need. They would be working on issues and collecting information, including possible policy choices. The team itself did not intend to make any policy choices, but would present options to the new Secretary. Mr. Lake said that he, along with David Aaron, the NSC liaison official, would take care of any decisions which had to be presented to Governor Carter now. He explained that Aaron was handling such day-to-day business in the foreign affairs field as Secretary Kissinger’s forthcoming meeting with Governor Carter on November 20.4 Mr. Lake added that his team would be handling liaison for both the Department and related agencies including AID, ACDA, OPIC, USIA and Peace Corps. Mr. Lake said that the Defense Department liaison team would be headed by Richard Stedman, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense who had worked on East Asian Affairs in ISA; along with Stedman would be Messrs. Walt Slocum,5 Woolsey, Odine and Lynn Davis, the last-named a Columbia Professor. The consultants would include Messrs. Robert Persilee, Cove and McFadden, as well as, Lake hoped, Graham Allison.

CIA liaison would be handled by David Aaron along with Richard Enderfurth. Fred Bergston would be in charge of liaison on international economic problems. Lake, Aaron, Stedman and Bergsten planned to meet each morning to coordinate their activities. Mr. Lake said that his team would be meeting later today to decide just how to divide their work. In response to a question from Mr. Borg, he said that he would not have a deputy on his team. He hoped that there would be no problem in relationships with people in the Department, but if any should develop, he would like to be notified before the situation became serious. Mr. Lake added that he understood that the Department would like to have Mr. Borg coordinate meetings between the team and people in the Department. He indicated that that was perfectly satisfactory, and said that he would of course be in touch every day.

Mr. Habib said he thought that it was important for Mr. Lake to identify at an early point the issues that he felt would require any considerable amount of work, so that we might avoid a hurried job. He noted that the papers that were being prepared in response to Mr. [Page 722] Watson’s initial request were not options papers.6 Mr. Lake said that he and his team members had already been working with outside experts on the key issues the Administration would face in its first six months or so. He had done a checklist which he would discuss with his team.

Mr. Habib noted that our initial papers had been done by the individual bureaus. Mr. Eagleburger said that we would give the team what we had done, and we could revise these or do new papers as required. The Department was not going to try to tell the team how to suck eggs but would give them what we considered the range of rational alternatives. Mr. Lake commented that the Carter team had solicited about 150 options papers from outsiders. He sensed a continuation of the same phenomenon he had known from the Foreign Service, i.e., the tendency toward a presentation in which Option B was always the one to choose.

Mr. Habib mentioned the new White House memo7 following up on Watson’s initial request for papers, which indicated that there was a rush to get the papers done. Mr. Lake indicated that he did not believe the papers should be rushed, and suggested that this question be discussed further with him.

Mr. Eagleburger noted that Mr. Lake had mentioned yesterday a wish to meet individually with Department officers. Mr. Habib said that he hoped the team would not give the Department any make-work projects; we had tried to avoid those. Mr. Lake indicated that they had no intention of doing so; and repeated that they intended to keep a low profile.

The meeting ended with Mr. Eagleburger indicating that he would start Mr. Lake on his way to security clearances.

Peter S. Bridges
Deputy Executive Secretary
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transition Records of the Executive Secretariat, 1959–1977, Entry 5338, Box 1, Transition/Admin. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Bridges. Robinson initialed the memorandum.
  2. According to BridgBridgeses’ November 16 memorandum for the record, the meeting actually took place the previous day. (Ibid.)
  3. Senator Gaylord A. Nelson (D–Wisconsin).
  4. See Document 219.
  5. See footnote 6, Document 218.
  6. Jack Watson, former Chairman of the Georgia Human Resources Board, served as the coordinator of Carter’s transition team. (Carter, Keeping Faith, p. 45) Carter’s November 3 letter to Ford notifying him of Watson’s appointment is in the Ford Library, President’s Handwriting File, Box 95, 11/1–5/76. Watson’s request, referenced here, has not been further identified.
  7. Not found.
  8. Bridges initialed “PSB” above this typed signature.