J.C.S. Files

Memorandum by the Representatives of the British Chiefs of Staff1

most secret
C.C.S. 196/2

O.S.S. Organization in India: Intelligence and Quasi Intelligence Activities in India

You will remember that at the end of the Trident Conference attention was drawn to the necessity for co-ordination of U.S. and British Intelligence activities in or from India. The British proposals which had been in effect designed to secure an integration of U.S.-British Intelligence activities in every field in or from India did not meet the case from the U.S. point of view and an alternative proposal was put forward that a Combined Liaison Committee should be established. The American proposal was that this Committee should be established with the following purposes:—
To facilitate combat intelligence, both air and ground, being exchanged between G.H.Q. and Rear Echelon in New Delhi.
To enable co-operation to be facilitated between the American Joint Intelligence Collection Agency now being organized in the theater, and the British Joint Intelligence Committee.
To have referred to it as an additional function, and to go into, problems arising with respect to U.S. and British quasi military and civil organizations (Office of Strategic Services, Board of Economic Warfare, Federal Communications Commission, Office of War Information, etc.) and also to suggest to commanders on the ground solutions to these problems.
To constitute a central point through which the exchange of information from all these groups can be channelized, co-ordination arranged, and points of divergence ironed out.
The idea was that this Combined Liaison Committee, with British and American representation, should meet in New Delhi; that, [Page 425] in addition to Intelligence representatives, both air and ground, the U.S. representatives should include a “Rear Echelon” officer conversant with the American quasi military and civilian agencies (Board of Economic Warfare, Office of Strategic Services, Office of War Information, Federal Communications Commission, etc.).
This American proposal has been referred to India where it has been considered carefully by both the Viceroy and the Commander in Chief, India. They agree that the proposal forms a basis for reasonable compromise provided that in the future there will be a greater degree of frankness in respect of quasi military activities than has previously been shown by the U.S. Authorities concerned. They make two reservations which we hope that you will find acceptable.
They request that instructions should be issued that before any quasi military activities are undertaken by the U.S. Authorities in or from India, there must be full and frank discussion in the Combined Liaison Committee and that before such plans are put into operation the concurrence of the Government of India and/or the Commander in Chief, India, must be obtained. The U.S. would, of course, be fully informed of British plans and activities and would be entitled to discuss them.
This reservation has been made because in the past the practice has been for the local U.S. Authorities concerned with quasi military activities to present the British with a fait accompli whenever possible or, alternatively, to approach several local civil or military authorities for assistance without ever disclosing full intentions or the scope of the proposed activities to any of them.
The second reservation is in connection with the combining of resources in regard to combat intelligence. The present co-operation regarding the exchange of combat intelligence is relatively much more satisfactory and some slight progress has been made in the direction of combining resources. A specific request is now made, however, that where two parallel and independent U.S. and British sections already exist, British and U.S. personnel should be exchanged; that where parallel and independent sections do not exist inter-Allied sections should be formed by posting Americans to existing British sections and vice versa, these sections being regarded as working under the Combined Liaison Committee.
It is believed that if the instructions to General Stilwell could be extended to cover the points referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 above the American proposal will be both acceptable and workable.
In conclusion, we would like to assure all concerned that there is every desire on the part of the British to be completely co-operative [Page 426] in the sphere for which they are responsible. It is realized that arrangements regarding U.S.-British Intelligence activities will have to be co-ordinated with the needs of the new South-East Asian Command when it comes into being.
We should be glad to know whether the two reservations made by the Viceroy and the Commander in Chief, India, are acceptable to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. We feel that this Combined Liaison Committee has great possibilities and may well provide a really workable solution to the many difficulties that have been met in the past.
  1. For the action taken on this paper at the 117th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, September 3, 1943, see post, p. 1204.