Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)79

This Division has recently learned that the British are anxious to establish in New Delhi a “joint intelligence board” on which would sit representatives of the United States Army, Navy, OWI, OSS, BEW,80 and any other appropriate American organizations together with their British and Indian counterparts.

In this connection it is understood that a meeting recently took place in the office of General Strong, Chief of the United States Office of Military Intelligence, where General Cawthorn, Chief Intelligence Officer of the Government of India, propounded the scheme to the representatives of the American agencies concerned.

Mr. John Davies, Jr. of this Department was also present and, in a memorandum prepared for General Strong, he has made the following observations:

“In so far as the collection of straight military intelligence is concerned, General Cawthorn’s suggestions would seem to have considerable merit. However, he seemed to be as much concerned, if not more concerned, with psychological (including political) warfare and American reporting on internal Indian conditions as he was with the collection of military intelligence.

In the field of psychological warfare, American and British interests are by no means identical. The British in Asia are fighting primarily for the retention, if not expansion, of their Empire. We are fighting without imperialistic designs solely for the defeat of Japan. To tie our psychological warfare program to that of the British would be to identify ourselves in the eyes of the Burmese and all of the colonial Asiatics with British imperialism. If we do this we may as well abandon psychological warfare in Asia.”

This Division heartily concurs with the opinions expressed by Mr. Davies. It is felt that any action which identifies our activities, other than military operations, with those of the British, seriously lessens American influence in both India and Burma. Hence, while NE81 appreciates the need of close cooperation in the Intelligence field, it disapproves heartily of the creation of any such board as proposed by General Cawthorn. It is understood that Mr. Phillips feels likewise.

Mr. Fischer of BEW has intimated to this Division that the other agencies recognize the dangers involved and that they—and other agencies—will not, in all probability, support General Cawthorn’s recommendations.

Paul H. Alling
  1. Addressed to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle), the Under Secretary of State (Welles), and the Secretary of State.
  2. Office of War Information, Office of Strategic Services, and Board of Economic Warfare, respectively.
  3. Division of Near Eastern Affairs.