Office of the Historian Press Release

Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, Volume XXV, Organization of Foreign Policy; Information Policy; United Nations; Scientific Matters

Released by the Office of the Historian

The challenges faced by the incoming Kennedy administration in organizing and managing a complex foreign policy and national security organization and its policies toward a number of international and scientific issues are the focus of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XXV, Organization of Foreign Policy; Information Policy; United Nations; Scientific Matters, released on March 7, 2002, by the Department of State. The volume, which is part of the ongoing official record of American foreign policy, is the last of the 25 print volumes and 5 microfiche supplements published in the Foreign Relations series that documented the foreign policies of the administration of President John F. Kennedy.

Following the 1960 election, President-elect John F. Kennedy and his transition advisers focused on various proposals for modifying and streamlining the foreign policy structure. McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, took a prominent role in the organization of foreign policy organs within the executive branch. Bundy criticized the organization of the National Security Council under Eisenhower and urged the new President to adopt his own style and agenda for running the NSC. One of the major changes was the abolition of the Operations Coordinating Board less than one month after the new administration took office.

Efforts to organize and reorganize the foreign policy establishment focused on improving interdepartmental coordination between the State Department and other executive branch agencies, enhancing the role of the ambassadors and the Foreign Service, and responding better to crisis situations. The Kennedy administration established several new foreign affairs departments and agencies, including the Peace Corps, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Agency for International Development. Documentation is also included on the reorganization of the U.S. intelligence community, especially the implementation of the recommendations of the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities, clarifying the role of the Director of Central Intelligence, and the establishment of the National Reconnaissance Program.

A compilation on U.S. information policy documents how the U.S. Information Agency strove to work in closer cooperation with the State Department and other U.S. agencies in order to present U.S. foreign policy objectives to the world in a positive manner. A collection of documents on the United Nations describe U.S. policies toward the Chinese representation issue, the election of U Thant as Secretary-General after the death of Dag Hammarskjold, and the ongoing issue of financing the United Nations in view of Soviet unwillingness to pay for peacekeeping operations.

Other international issues covered in the volume are:

Human rights and Refugees. These sections include reports of the U.S. representative to the UN Commission on Human Rights, Marietta Tree, and extracts from the reports of the U.S. delegation to meetings of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Program for Refugees.

General International Scientific Issues. This section describes the organization of science-related activities in the State Department, U.S. policies on population growth, and U.S. participation in international science programs.

Outer Space. Several compilations present documents on Department of State involvement in the U.S. space program, U.S.-Soviet cooperation after an exchange of letters between President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev, and the peaceful uses of outer space.

Communications satellites. This section documents State Department involvement in U.S. policy toward the developing global communications system and in planning for a federal emergency communications system.

Antarctica and Law of the Sea. Two compilations present documents on the State Department’s role in policy guidance and coordination of U.S. activities in Antarctica and implementation of the Antarctic Treaty, and on inter-agency debate on the size of the territorial sea and contiguous fishing zones.

The Office of the Historian has prepared a summary of the volume. For further information, contact David S. Patterson, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, at (202) 663-1127; fax: (202) 663-1289; e-mail: The texts of the volume, the summary, and this press release will soon be available on the Office’s Web site: <>. Copies of volume XXV can be purchased from the Government Printing Office. Please use the form below or go to