100. Minutes of the 171st Meeting of the Secretary of State’s Staff Committee0


  • The Secretary (presiding)
  • The Under Secretary
  • The Counselor
  • Mr. Benton
  • Mr. Braden
  • Mr. Hackworth
  • Mr. McCormack
  • Mr. Pasvolsky
  • Mr. Russell
  • Mr. Thorp (for M. Clayton)
  • Mr. Gange
  • Mr. Lewis
  • Mr. Rothwell
  • Absent:
  • Mr. Clayton
  • Mr. Dunn

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to intelligence.]

Continuance of FBI Program in Other American Republics (Annex IV to Document SC-172)

Mr. Braden called the Committee’s attention to Annex IV to document SC–1721 urging that steps be taken to request the continuance of the work of FBI personnel assigned to our missions in the other American republics (for previous discussion, see the Minutes of November 27).2 Mr. Braden pointed out that some of the FBI personnel had been recalled and all would be on their way home by December 15. This would leave the Government without any counter espionage or security intelligence in Latin America by the end of the year, and he said this was gravely impairing our interests. Mr. Braden said he had discussed the matter with the Deputy Director of the Budget Bureau on November 28,3 and the latter had informed him that the only solution would be for the Department to request an allotment from the President’s emergency fund.

The Secretary asked whether there were any deficiency bills bending in Congress to which an appropriation for this purpose might be [Page 249] attached. Mr. Russell said that there were no such bills. The question was raised whether the Department of Justice had any funds to continue the work temporarily. Mr. Russell said the Department of Justice had agreed to a rescission of its appropriation for this work in view of the President’s statement that he did not wish the FBI to operate outside the U.S. In this connection, Mr. Braden said he felt sure the President had not had full information about the importance of this work when he had made this decision.

Mr. McCormack agreed that the importance of the work necessitated some arrangement to permit its continuance. He said Army operations in the other American republics probably could not be converted to this type of work. The FBI organization had the advantage of being a “going concern”. He pointed out that it was very important at the present time to keep a close watch on German and other foreign activity in the other American republics.

The Secretary said there seemed to be no solution but to request an allotment from the President’s emergency fund. He suggested that sufficient funds be requested to permit the continuance of the work until a new central intelligence organization had been set up. Mr. Russell agreed that this should be done but he said it should be recognized that such action would place the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a good position for obtaining a permanent place in the new intelligence organization.

Mr. Russell asked how many employees were involved and how much would be required to continue the work. Mr. Braden said he thought there were about 189 employees. He said no estimate had been made of the funds required, but the opinion was expressed that at least $2,000,000 would be required to continue the work for the next 6 months.

The Committee agreed that it would be desirable to request an allocation from the President’s emergency fund to permit the continuance for at least the next 6 months of the work of the FBI representatives. It was also suggested that, in the meantime, consideration should be given to means of continuing the work for such further time as is necessary, probably by requesting Congress to appropriate funds. The Secretary said he would discuss the matter with the President if Messrs. Braden and Russell would prepare an estimate and draft a letter to the President recommending the allocation.4

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 353, Records of Interdepartmental and Intradepartmental Committees—State Department, Lot File No. 122, Records of the Secretary’s Staff Committee 1944–47. Top Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office.
  2. See footnote 6, Document 50.
  3. Document 50.
  4. No other record of this conversation has been found.
  5. No record has been found of Byrnes’ proposed conversation with the President or of the letter that Braden and Russell were to prepare.