123. Memorandum From the Director’s Assistant (Tamm) to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Hoover)0

Pursuant to your instructions, I talked to the Attorney General this morning at his request with reference to the SIS situation. He stated that he had been to the White House yesterday and that he spent almost two hours talking to the President about this situation. Prior to the time that he talked to the President, Admiral Leahy had talked to the Attorney General1 and had indicated to him that it was desired that the Department of Justice through the Bureau render every possible assistance to the CIG in taking over the SIS work in South America. Admiral Leahy indicated that the CIG would not be able to move into any of the countries as rapidly as the Bureau desired to withdraw from them but that the State Department desired to insure a continuity of coverage and that, consequently, the Bureau should only withdraw upon the basis of a harmonious schedule with CIG moving in to take over the various countries.

The Attorney General stated he talked to the President about this situation and the President indicated some doubt that the CIG would work but the President stated he had to at least try it out in view of the recommendations made to him by his Cabinet members. The Attorney General advised him that Ambassador Pawley, Spruille Braden and various other State Department representatives were very much opposed to FBI withdrawing but the President thought the FBI should coordinate its program in such a way that CIG could move in on an orderly basis and take over the operations. The Attorney General desired, therefore, that the Bureau arrange through appropriate conference with CIG so as to insure that our withdrawal would be upon the basis of CIG’s ability to move in and take over the operations in various countries.

I advised the Attorney General that while you had not so stated in your recent memorandum,2 you had instructed me to advise him orally that the CIG was definitely stalling in this situation. I pointed out to him that it was rather inconsistent that Bureau Agents were not good enough to carry on the SIS operations in the Latin Americas but at the same time their services are so indispensable that they cannot now be withdrawn or replaced. I told the Attorney General that the CIG had a bright group of alleged intelligence representatives, including a number of men who had deserted from the service of the FBI during the war, who appeared, [Page 297] according to CIG estimates, at least capable of carrying on the SIS operations. I stated that as a matter of fact General Vandenberg had the effrontery to designate as his representatives to confer with the Bureau on the change-over of operations ex–FBI Agents who had deserted from the Bureau service while on foreign assignment and who were definitely persona non grata to you and to the Bureau.

The Attorney General was advised that you had instructed that we be entirely reasonable in attempting to work out a schedule for the transfer of SIS duties but that from the schedule submitted by CIG, it was very obvious that CIG was stalling and the dates set by them were unreasonable. I told him that you had, upon the basis of my previous conversation with him in which he expressed the desire to support the President in getting this plan set up and in operation, instructed that we make reasonable concessions to the CIG in an effort to bring about a reasonable schedule for the transfer of duties. I pointed out to the Attorney General that the withdrawal of individual personnel, such as the withdrawal of the Legal Attaché in Brazil, did not indicate that the office was being closed but that this was an administrative transfer of an individual Agent predicated upon a reduction program which you had outlined subsequent to the termination of the war. I told the Attorney General that there were some 25 or 30 men currently under transfer back to the United States but that these transfers had nothing to do with the change-over of the SIS coverage to CIG, but rather were routine transfers which would have been effected even though the Bureau remained in SIS. I told the Attorney General you desired him to have this information in the event any question were raised about the recall to the United States of any individual Agent.

The Attorney General stated that he desired to make reasonable concessions to CIG in permitting them to take over the intelligence coverage and stated he desired me to talk to Admiral Leahy and outline to him the Bureau’s problem and its position with reference to these problems. I suggested to the Attorney General that, in the light of the information which I had furnished to him, he might desire himself to talk to Admiral Leahy and indicate that we would go along in anything that was reasonable in the light of all the circumstances, but the Attorney General stated he believed it would be better if a Bureau representative conferred direct with Admiral Leahy. He stated he would call Admiral Leahy and arrange an appointment and asked that I let him know how we made out with Leahy.

The Attorney General indicated that he told the President that it was anticipated that CIG would try to proselyte the Bureau’s personnel and the President said that of course he would not tolerate anything of that kind and if it became necessary, he would issue an order to CIG prohibiting them from hiring FBI people.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 263, Records of the Central Intelligence Agency, Troy Papers, FBI Documents. No classification marking.
  2. No record of these conversations with Clark has been found.
  3. Presumably Document 121.