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The Subcommittee on National Security Staffing and Operations has been making a nonpartisan and professional study of the administration of national security at home and in the field. This is the second in a series of staff reports being issued by the subcommittee.

In the American system of government, the Secretary of State occupies a position of central importance. He is the President's principal adviser on foreign affairs; he often serves as Presidential agent in dealing with other governments; he speaks with authority in declaring and explaining American foreign policy at home and abroad; he has heavy responsibility for coordinating the many elements of policy; and he directs the worldwide activities of the Department of State. As Congress fully appreciates, there is no substitute for a Secretary who is willing and able to exercise leadership in all our major policies toward other nations. The role of the Secretary of State, and the support given him by his Department, have therefore been at the heart of the subcommittee's inquiry.

In approaching its task the subcommittee has built on the work of its predecessor, the Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery.

The present subcommittee has released testimony on the State Department by Secretary of State Rusk, Under Secretary of State Harriman, Deputy Under Secretary of State Crockett, and a number of eminent retired and active ambassadors who have combined work abroad with service in top State Department posts. In addition, it has secured the views of other distinguished present and former Government officials and students of the State Department and the policy process. An initial staff report on the basic issues of the inquiry has been published, together with several background studies.

This staff report, drawing upon the experience of recent years, makes certain suggestions about the role of the Secretary of State and his Department in the administration of the Nation's foreign affairs.

Chairman, Subcommittee on
National Security Staffing

and Operations. JANUARY 20, 1964.


I. Introduction

It is not surprising that the departments often find a President's way of doing business unsettling—or that Presidents sometimes view the departments almost as adversaries.

A continuing dilemma, demanding a subtle appreciation on all sides of the needs of a President and the departments, is how to manage the Government so that Presidential business is transacted to his satisfaction, and so that the normal run of business, also vital to the national interest, can be transacted in a fashion suited to the needs of large scale organization.

Initial staff report, Basic Issues, Subcommittee on National Security
Staffing and Operations, January 18, 1963

The administration of national security is a vast and complex undertaking, full of enduring dilemmas which manifest themselves differently in every administration, depending on the operating style of the President and his key associates. The predecessor Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery concentrated on the problems at the end of the Eisenhower Administration when its patterns of staffing and operations had given rise to certain characteristic difficulties. The Kennedy Administration tried to avoid highly institutionalized procedures, preferring a flexible, informal approach that fitted President Kennedy's way of working. Like all administrations it took some time for its mode of operation to become set. Now the Nation has entered a new transition period with the Johnson Administration. The tragedy of November 22, 1963, emphasized the importance of continuity. #. new President made clear that he would carry on the broad lines of national policy inherited from his predecessor. He showed that he would rely heavily on the staffs already brought together. The Government carried on well. ut when a new President takes charge, many things have to change. We cannot expect the Johnson Administration to continue meeting substantive problems in exactly the same fashion as the Kennedy Administration, or to handle emerging administrative problems in the way the Kennedy Administration might have done, or to maintain the same officials indefinitely in their places. President Johnson was right and needed to emphasize ..". especially in policy—during the early days of the transition. But the President—and his Secretary of State—should be free to adopt their own work methods and to select their own subordinates in order to meet their own needs and their own styles of decision and action. Inevitably, they will want to employ some new assistants and some new methods. This is as it should be.

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