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Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Monday, February 10, 1969,
Vol. 5, No. 6]
WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE STRUCTURE, ROLE, AND STAFF OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, FEBRUARY 7, 1969
During the past 2 weeks the President has set in motion a vigorous program for studying new approaches to pressing national security issues. These studies will be conducted in the framework of the revitalized National Security Council system which was urged by the President during the Presidential election campaign.
Since January 20 the President has moved to restore the National Security Council to the role set for it in the National Security Act of 1947:
“... to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security so as to enable the military services and other departments and agencies of the Government to cooperate more effectively in matters involving the national security.'
The steps which have already been taken to reinvigorate the Council include the following:
-The President has indicated that the Council will henceforth be the principal forum for the consideration of policy issues on which he is required to make decisions.
—The President has directed that the National Security Council meet regularly (five meetings have been held in the first 2 weeks and one meeting will be held each week for the next few months).
-At the President's direction, a series of supporting NSC committees and groups have been organized to prepare forward planning for the Council as well as to facilitate the handling of more immediate operational problems within the context of the NSC system.
– The President has assigned to the supporting NSC bodies a comprehensive series of studies covering the principal national security issues now confronting the Nation or which are expected to be of importance in the months ahead. Several of these studies have already come before the Council, including ones dealing with Vietnam, the Nonproliferation Treaty, and the Middle East.
As important as the regularity and strengthened structure of the Council and its projected policy studies is the approach prescribed by the President for the examination of issues. The guidance to NSC study groups seeks to assure that all pertinent facts are established, and all options presented-complete with pros, cons, and costs-so
*NOTE.-Under these new arrangements NSAM-341 (March 4, 1966) is rescinded.
that decisions can be made with a clear understanding of their ramifications. The purpose of this procedure is to bring the full range of choices to the President and his principal advisers-not to bury them.
An explicit aspect of the above arrangements was the President's designation of the Secretary of State as his principal foreign policy adviser. As such, the Secretary of State has been delegated by the President clear authority, to the full extent permitted by law, in interdepartmental operations of the U.S. Government overseas.
In order to provide the President and the Council with the strongest possible support, the President has directed the reorganization and strengthening of the NSC staff.
The substantive components of the new staff and the personnel now or soon to be on board are as follows:
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL STAFF
Viron P. Vaky
Donald R. Lesh
Richard L. Sneider
James P. McBaine
Assistants for Programs