1. Memorandum From Matt Schaffer and Tony Lake to Jack Watson1


  • Organizational Relationships within the Executive Department and Foreign Policy—Some Issues and Questions

Organizational reform should best occur in the context of policy goals and not purely in terms of efficiency. When the objectives have been set, the structure can then be adjusted accordingly. What do you think of this premise?

Procedural Goals

1. Diversity of views. How can the government (the executive in particular) be structured so that the President is hearing advocates of different points of view. How can such a system favoring internal debate be institutionalized without causing confusion and divisiveness? Will the president want to avoid the Nixon scheme of having one or two persons define objectives, that would be agreed to and confirmed by the National Security Council?

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2. Openness, and yet security. Can relationships between the White House Staff and the press or public be structured in such a fashion as to promote meaningful communication?

3. Presidential-Congressional relationships. Should the existing relationship with the executive be restructured in the field of foreign policy communication, consultation and decision-making?

a. What will be the relative strengths of the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor? Will special roles be assigned in regard to Congress?

b. Will under-secretaries formally or informally consult with Congress before decisions are made?

4. Presidential control. Clear lines of authority are needed for implementing decisions, while diverse advocacy is needed from below.


1. Serious attention must be paid to the following architectural problem. How can the ongoing considerations of international monetary policy, trade, food, development, the law of the sea and other issues receive regular presidential attention? Can a structure be designed to prevent these issues from being pre-empted in the eyes of the president by more immediate crises?

2. How can we organize to increase multilateral diplomacy? Should summit consultations—as distinguished from negotiation or treaty signing—be conducted on a regular basis?

3. How will defense and foreign policy be coordinated?

4. How shall the budgetary issues of foreign policy be dealt with? Is the OMB the correct place for this?

5. How will the foreign policy be integrated with the domestic?

6. Within the National Security Council system, how can intelligence be coordinated effectively, so that the president receives the necessary information and yet maintains control over the information gathering apparatus?

7. Examine the National Security Council system, evaluating the committees that coordinate defense issues and budget, economic policy, food, law of the sea, etc.

a. How will the NSC relate to the White House Staff?

b. How many committees will there be on the NSC, and to whom will they report?

8. Ultimately, what will be the relationship among the president, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense and the national security advisor?


1. Finally, whom would you include on a list of persons to be consulted on these questions?

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Box 113, [Organization], 8/76. No classification marking. Matt Schaffer and Anthony Lake served as foreign policy advisers to Carter during Carter’s candidacy. Lake headed the transition office in the Department of State and became Director of the Policy Planning Staff after Carter’s inauguration. Jack Watson served as director of Carter’s transition team.