103. Memorandum by the Director of the Strategic Services Unit, Department of War (Magruder)0


  • Establishment of Clandestine Collection Service for Foreign Intelligence
At the time of the Inter-Departmental agreement on the reorganization of intelligence it was generally understood that the Central Intelligence Group would, as one of its major functions, operate a clandestine service for procurement of intelligence abroad. For reasons of security this function was not specified in the President’s directive. With this in view, the War Department undertook to prepare that part of OSS assigned to it (designated SSU) for future use as the nucleus of this clandestine service.
The War Department considered itself responsible for liquidating the wartime activities and liabilities of the parent organization, while maintaining the SSU as a going concern held available for central intelligence when established. The activities of the Unit not related to strict intelligence purposes have now been liquidated. The remaining assets are now fully operational and available for employment in the central organization.
It will not be possible for SSU much longer to continue effective operations in its present interim status. Lack of specific directive permitting long-range plans and commitments has seriously affected its logical development. Personnel has already begun to melt away. Apart from its scheduled reduction in operational strength from 9138 to 1967, the attrition has been particularly heavy among key personnel. Furthermore, from the budget viewpoint, the War Department cannot continue to justify for any substantial period the maintenance of a provisional intelligence organization separate from its established Military Intelligence Division. Unless early disposition is made of the assets represented by SSU it will undoubtedly become necessary to effect curtailment if not liquidation of its remaining personnel and facilities.
The National Intelligence Authority has now approved a tentative table of organization for the Central Intelligence Group. It would appear inefficient for the three contributing Departments to detail personnel [Page 254] from their own resources against the commitments imposed by this table of organization without first analyzing the extent to which these commitments can be met on behalf of all three departments by making use of the available assets of SSU.
SSU is at present in a position to provide complete administrative services for CIG both immediately and for a considerable time in the future. These services include not only an administrative and executive staff but such essential facilities as communications, reproduction, transportation, security-checked personnel, space and other auxiliary services.
In addition SSU at present provides significant intelligence coverage in many strategic parts of the world. The present assets of SSU in no way constitute a complete or adequate world-wide clandestine intelligence agency, but to the extent that SSU is the sole operating agency not only in many geographical areas but in specialized functions it could profitably be employed by the CIG until replaced by, or incorporated into, a permanent organization.
An immediate decision on the status of SSU is important not only to preserve its assets against disintegration but to permit the War Department and the other departmental intelligence services to undertake urgent planning. It may prove desirable to discontinue certain functions of SSU. However, it would be far preferable that such decisions be made by the authorities who are themselves responsible for continuing operations in the field of clandestine intelligence on the basis of experience, and on the basis of the national rather than departmental requirements.


That the NIA instruct the Director of Central Intelligence to operate a clandestine intelligence service in the foreign field and to organize such service as expeditiously as practicable.
That the NIA agree that the assets, personnel and facilities of the SSU, less those non-essentials being liquidated by the War Department, be placed under the operational control of the Director of Central Intelligence.
That the NIA set a target date by which the Director of Central Intelligence will assume operational control of the assets provided in paragraph 2 above and present a plan for administrative action which will enable the assets to be transferred consistently with the intentions of the Presidential Directive.
John Magruder 1

Brigadier General
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 263, Records of the Central Intelligence Agency, Troy Papers, Box 11, Folder 78. Secret. On the source text the address line is blank. At the top of the source text is handwritten “CIG should take over SSU.”
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.