12. Memorandum From the Secretary of the Navy’s Special Assistant (Correa) to Secretary of the Navy Forrestal0

Annexed hereto JCS Papers 1181/1, 1181/4 and 1181/5.1 These all relate to the problem of a single central intelligence agency. You have asked me to give you my views on this. I am not in a position to do that as yet as I wish to give the matter further consideration and particularly to obtain the views of people with experience in this field such as J. Edgar Hoover.

To the extent I have gone in my thinking, however, it seems to me that the draft directive (red tab) which is a part of JCS 1181/5 most nearly approximates what I would regard as the optimum organization.

In my own approach of the problem the following propositions seem to me basic:

There is definite need for centralization of intelligence gathered by all of the various departments and agencies of this Government and for coordination of the activities of those engaged in gathering this information.
Any central authority or agency set up should have the primary function of coordination rather than operation in the intelligence field.
It should be recognized that while in time of war action to be taken upon intelligence obtained by this government is the primary responsibility of the armed forces, in time of peace the taking of appropriate action is the primary responsibility of the State Department and subject to the State Department’s direction on national policy of other civilian arms of the Government, having in mind particularly those departments and agencies which are charged with responsibility for economic dealings with other nations.

These thoughts are by no means complete nor do they represent as exhaustive an analysis of the problem as I should like to present.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 80, General Records of the Department of the Navy, Records of Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal 1940–1947, General Correspondence 1944–1947, 80–1–19, Box 129. No classification marking.
  2. These JCS papers are not attached. The first two papers, 1181/1 and 1181/4, have not been found. For text of 1181/5, see the appendix to Document 13.