144. Memorandum From the Assistant to the President (Ash) to Secretary of State Rogers1 2



At the President’s request, I am reviewing Federal drug control management.

The international program is an essential component of the overall anti-drug effort.

Given personnel changes and the President’s desire to move program management out of the White House wherever possible, my feeling is that the State Department should undertake expanded responsibility for overseeing international narcotics control, including its interagency aspects. The Department would thus assume many of the responsibilities now performed by Domestic Council staff.

These views are reflected in the proposal at Tab “A.”

To assist in upgrading and expanding the State Department’s drug role, I would hope to be able to make available an executive level position from the White House pool for this purpose.

I would be pleased to discuss this subject with you at your convenience. My Administrative Assistant, Jim Edwards, is coordinating this project at the staff level.

Roy L. Ash
Assistant to the President
[Page 2]

Tab A



The United States launched an intensive worldwide offensive against the international drug traffic with the President’s June 17, 1971, special drug message to Congress.

A substantial beginning has now been made toward getting our own bureaucracy concerned about international narcotics control and in conveying to other governments the seriousness with which we view the problem.

Continuous diplomatic pressure—as well as the alarming spread of drug abuse abroad—has resulted in all fifty-nine target governments paying at least some attention to narcotics control.

Despite a good start, for which the State Department is in large part responsible, much more must be done—especially in more effectively managing the program.

Under the aegis of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control (CCINC), Domestic Council staff have been heavily involved in most major operating decisions.

The present decision-making mechanism has been hobbled by a lack of clear lines of authority, the absence of independent funding or budget coordination, the need to secure agreement (or at least reluctant acquiescence) from each of the seven organizations involved for even minor program decisions, and the absence of any real management information system or program evaluation capability.

With the turnover of most of the program’s key personnel and a sharply reduced Domestic Council staff, a new international drug management apparatus must be created and institutionalized.

Although it is not feasible to combine functions as disparate as covert action, training of foreign narcotics officers, control of GI drug smuggling, negotiation of overseas treatment programs, and foreign agricultural research into any one department, these activities must be carefully integrated into one overall program in each Mission and in Washington.

[Page 3]

The ambassador is the key to success or failure of our drug program in each country overseas. Given the neatly stratified and status conscious nature of our diplomatic establishment, the man in charge of the program in Washington must be at a sufficiently high level to be able to deal effectively with ambassadors. He must, in addition, have an appropriate interagency title to be able to oversee the international drug activities of the other departments and agencies contributing to the program.


That the State Department name an executive level Deputy Under Secretary of State for Narcotics, who would also be Executive Director of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control (CCINC).

The Deputy should report directly to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs to emphasize the importance placed by the President on drug control as a key foreign policy objective of the United States and the “diplomatic” rather than “assistance” nature of the effort.

The new Deputy Under Secretary’s responsibilities should include:

Coordinating international narcotics control Government-wide.
Overseeing the operation of the CCINC interagency committee structure.
Acting as the principal point of contact and advisor on international narcotics control matters for OMB, the NSC, and the Domestic Council.
Ensuring implementation of White House policy guidance.
Providing drug control direction to United States ambassadors and narcotics control coordinators in our fifty-nine target countries.
Communicating, as appropriate, with foreign governments on drug control matters.
Representing the United States at the annual United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting and like international drug conferences.
Directly supervising expenditure of the drug control funds now appropriated to the President and administered by AID.
Advising OMB on the international narcotics control budget submissions of other departments and agencies.
Serving as the principal customer and action officer for international narcotics control management information and program evaluation conclusions generated at OMB’s behest.

The Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Narcotics Matters (S/NM) has been somewhat less effective than it might have been because of inadequate staff size and the absence of anyone with real expertise in the budget and programming and in the law enforcement areas. Both are critical to the successful implementation of our fifty-nine Narcotics Control Action Plans. If S/NM is to assume the greatly expanded responsibilities envisioned by this proposal, it is essential that it be upgraded and strengthened in these respects.

S/NM should be headed by the new Deputy Under Secretary for Narcotics. The staff of the office should include: (1) a deputy; (2) an administrative, budget, and programming expert; (3) an intelligence, law enforcement, and training expert; and (4) three regional specialists. Someone should also have special expertise in dealing with international organizations.


Places the Executive Director of the Cabinet Committee in the same department as the Committee’s chairman.
Provides the top Washington man on international narcotics control with an appropriate forum from which to give direction to ambassadors and to obtain a fair hearing on his ideas within our diplomatic establishment.
Establishes a sufficiently strong institutional link to the White House to permit the new international drug boss to command the attention of the other departments and agencies whose coordinated participation are essential to success of the program.
Permits a program of key importance to the President which is irrevocably interagency in nature to be centrally coordinated and directed from a position organizationally removed from the Executive Office and without the need for any Executive Office staff personnel.
Makes it possible for those on the President’s staff to have a single point of contact on international narcotics control.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 11–5. Administratively Confidential. Copies were sent to Ehrlichman and Cole. Rogers replied to Ash on February 13 that he would consider the proposals.
  2. As part of a review of federal drug control organization, Ash proposed that the Department of State assume more responsibility for overseeing international drug control efforts.