1. The National Security Council, taking cognizance of the vicious covert
activities of the USSR, its satellite countries and Communist groups to
discredit and defeat the aims and activities of the United States and
other Western powers, has determined that, in the interests of world
peace and US national security, the overt foreign activities of the US
Government must be supplemented by covert operations.
2. The Central Intelligence Agency is charged by the National Security
Council with conducting espionage and counter-espionage operations
abroad. It therefore seems desirable, for operational reasons, not to
create a new agency for covert operations, but in time of peace to place
the responsibility for them within the structure of the Central
Intelligence Agency and correlate them with espionage and
counter-espionage operations under the over-all control of the Director
of Central Intelligence.
3. Therefore, under the authority of Section 102(d)(5) of the National
Security Act of 1947, the National Security Council hereby directs that
in time of peace:
a. A new Office of Special Projects shall be created within the Central
Intelligence Agency to plan and conduct covert operations; and in
coordination with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan and prepare for the
conduct of such operations in wartime.
b. A highly qualified person, nominated by the Secretary of State,
acceptable to the Director of Central Intelligence and approved by the
National Security Council, shall be appointed as Chief of the Office of
c. The Chief of the Office of Special Projects shall report directly to
the Director of Central Intelligence. For purposes of security and of
flexibility of operations, and to the maximum degree consistent with
efficiency, the Office of Special Projects shall operate independently
of other components of Central Intelligence Agency.
d. The Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for:
(2) Ensuring that plans for wartime covert operations are also drawn up
with the assistance of a representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
are accepted by the latter as being consistent with and complementary to
approved plans for wartime military operations.
(3) Informing, through appropriate channels, agencies of the US
Government, both at home and abroad (including diplomatic and military
representatives in each area), of such operations as will affect
e. Covert operations pertaining to economic warfare will be conducted by
the Office of Special Projects under the guidance of the departments and
agencies responsible for the planning of economic warfare.
f. Supplemental funds for the conduct of the proposed operations for
fiscal year 1949 shall be immediately requested. Thereafter operational
funds for these purposes shall be included in normal Central
Intelligence Agency Budget requests.
4. In time of war, or when the President directs, all plans for covert
operations shall be coordinated with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In
active theaters of war where American forces are engaged, covert
operations will be conducted under the direct command of the American
Theater Commander and orders therefor will be transmitted through the
Joint Chiefs of Staff unless otherwise directed by the President.
5. As used in this directive, “covert operations” are understood to be
all activities (except as noted herein) which are conducted or sponsored
by this Government against hostile foreign states or groups or in
support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned
and executed that any US Government responsibility for them is not
evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government
can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them. Specifically, such
operations shall include any covert activities related to: propaganda,
economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage,
anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against
hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance
movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of
indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free
world. Such operations shall not include armed conflict by recognized
military forces, espionage,
counter-espionage, and cover and deception for military operations.
6. This Directive supersedes the directive contained in NSC 4-A, which is hereby cancelled.
*Source: National Archives and
Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security
Council, NSC 10/2. Top Secret.
Although undated, this directive was approved by the National
Security Council at its June 17 meeting and the final text,
incorporating changes made at the meeting, was circulated to members
by the Executive Secretary under a June 18 note. (Ibid.) See the
Supplement. NSC 10/2 and the June 18
note are also reproduced in CIA Cold War Records:
The CIA under Harry
Truman, pp. 213-216.
1According to an August 13
memorandum from Davies to Kennan, Kennan was subsequently appointed as the
representative of the Secretary of State. (National Archives and
Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State,
Policy Planning Staff Files 1947-53: Lot 64 D 563) See the