73. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) and the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Aaron) to Vice President Mondale1


  • Meeting with the President on the Executive Order for the Intelligence Community

At TAB A2 is a copy of the redrafted Executive Order for you to present to the President. Also included is a draft proposed public statement (TAB B)3 that doubles as well as a summary and answers to questions the President posed on the last draft (TAB C).4

Some points worth making to the President include:

—This new draft is a good faith effort to meet the President’s full requirements on style, clarity, and brevity without sacrificing content. All of his points, comments, and suggestions have been addressed. The restrictions section has been entirely rewritten and the rest of the text severely edited and to a degree, restructured. The new text is 15 pages less (or about 30 percent shorter) than the draft the President reviewed over the Christmas holidays.

—A draft public statement has also been written which doubles as well as a layman’s summary. This is intended to be the President’s brief, non-legalistic explanation to the American people.

—The present draft should be acceptable to most members of the Congressional oversight committees. All will recognize it as an important step forward from President Ford’s E.O. 11905. It is detailed enough to form the Administration’s basic position on statutory charters but falls short of the far-reaching restrictions that some Select Committee members want and which could cripple our national intelligence effort. Congressional support will help us defend against a certain inevitable amount of criticism from some of the public interest groups (i.e., ACLU, Mort Halperin,5 et al).

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—The present draft is defendable in public. It is a reasonable and responsible approach to the problem which builds on past experience and looks forward to further steps in the same direction. Combined with a Presidential summary statement, it is understandable to the uninitiated but interested people and meets the challenge of studious potential critics who are well versed in the legalisms of the intelligence business.

—All involved—Zbig, Stan, Harold, Griffin and Bob6—agree that the President should endorse this improved draft in principle subject to a final interagency technical review that there have been no inadvertent errors in the severe editing process.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 30, Intelligence Reorganization 1/78. Unclassified. Sent for information. Printed from a copy that only Aaron initialed.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Not found attached.
  4. Not found attached. For the President’s questions, see Document 71.
  5. Halperin was Director of the Center for National Security Studies.
  6. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Stansfield Turner, Harold Brown, Griffin Bell, and Robert Lipshutz.