The National Security Council System

The NSC system is meant to help us address the fundamental issues, clarify our basic purposes. examine all alternatives and plan intelligent actions. It is meant to promote the thoroughness and deliberation which are essential for an effective American foreign policy

U.S. Foreign Policy for the l970s,
Report to the Congress,
February l8, 1970

Upon my inauguration, I reestablished the National Security Council as the principal forum for consideration of foreign policy issues and created a system of supporting committees to serve it. Chaired by the President and comprising the Vice President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and others at my invitation, the council provides a focus at the highest level of our government for full and frank discussions of national security issues. Of course, I also consult the Secretaries of State and Defense and other senior advisors individually to obtain their views on national security issues.

Too often in the past our foreign policy machinery was the captive of events. Day-to-day tactical considerations occupied our time and determined our actions. Policy emerged from a narrow rather than conceptual perspective. The National Security Council system helps us concentrate on purposes and develop policy in the context of our long-range goals.