Washington, July 18, 1962.
NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 173
TO: The Secretary of State The Secretary of Defense The Attorney General The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff The Director of Central Intelligence The Administrator, Agency for International Development The Director, United States Information Agency The Chairman, Special Group (Counterinsurgency) SUBJECT: Interdepartmental Field VisitsI feel that there is a need for accelerating our programs for underdeveloped countries and for effecting a closer tie between the County Team planning in these areas and the Washington departments which participate in these programs. It would seem to me that the technique of interdepartmental team visits used last fall in South Viet-Nam and early this year in certain Latin American countries could be broadened and applied to this requirement.
To this end, I would like to have organized a program of field visits by senior interdepartmental teams, under State Department chairmanship, to a number of selected countries, with particular attention to Latin America. These teams would consult with the Ambassador, his staff and local officials, would review the Country Team plans, and would form a judgment as to their adequacy, their consistency with United States objectives, and the reliability of the intelligence upon which they are based. Upon return to Washington, the teams would submit appropriate recommendations to me, through the Secretary of State, for strengthening United States activities in the countries visited which, when approved, would receive the same kind of intensive implementation as that being accorded the current South Viet-Nam program.
I would like the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Special Group (Counterinsurgency) to initiate as a matter of urgency a program of visits of the kind outlined above.
John F. Kennedy