139. Minutes of the 184th Meeting of the Secretary of State’s Staff Committee0


Present: Absent:
The Secretary (presiding) The Counselor
The Under Secretary Mr. Hackworth
Mr. Benton Mr. Pasvolsky
Mr. Braden
Mr. Clayton
Mr. McCormack
Mr. Russell
Mr. Henderson } (for Mr. Dunn)
Mr. Matthews (for Mr. Dunn)
Mr. Vincent (for Mr. Dunn)
Mr. Culbertson (WE)
Mr. Jamison
Mr. Lewis

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to intelligence.]

National Intelligence Authority

Mr. McCormack reviewed for the Committee the drafts of two directives which it was proposed that the newly created National Intelligence Authority would issue to the Director of Central Intelligence.1 He explained that these were prepared by Admiral Souers who had been appointed Director of Central Intelligence under the plan issued by the President. Mr. McCormack said that the final order for the National Intelligence Authority differed in two respects from that proposed by the Department of State2 because of amendments which had been suggested by Admiral Leahy at a meeting in which the State Department was not represented. These changes had involved taking the coordinating [Page 324] authority away from the Department of State, placing it in the hands of a Director appointed by the President, and adding Admiral Leahy as the Personal Representative of the President on the Authority.

Mr. McCormack outlined the two draft directives, indicating that they prescribed the functions of the National Intelligence Authority, specified certain details of the dissemination and distribution of intelligence, and outlined personnel requirements. He said that the directives would require each of the three Departments to provide for the Director of Central Intelligence with competent people for a survey of materials which might be available. He referred particularly to Section 7 of the first directive, under which the Director would be authorized to obtain all necessary facilities, intelligence and information in the possession of the respective Departments, including necessary information as to policies, plans, actions, capabilities and intentions of the United States with reference to foreign countries. He said that this provision would open to inspection all available material in the Department. Mr. McCormack pointed out that the second directive described the two main missions of the Intelligence Authority as (1) the preparation of a daily and weekly summary of all important intelligence, to be made available to the President, to members of the Authority and to certain others, and (2) to conduct a survey of existing facilities for collecting foreign intelligence information with a view to making recommendations as to how they may be better coordinated and improved. The second directive also outlined a table of organization to be established by June 30, 1946, including a statement of the facilities to be contributed by each of the Departments. Under this the State Department would be called upon to furnish, by the end of the year or before, 43 people to the Central Intelligence Group. Mr. McCormack explained that this would necessarily be contingent upon obtaining the people and the necessary appropriation.

The Secretary asked Mr. McCormack for details on that section of the directives outlining materials to be made available, and Mr. McCormack repeated Section 7 of the first Directive as given above. The Secretary pointed out that the determination of what was “necessary” under that section carried with it much responsibility. He said that a great deal would depend upon the individual who performed this function.

Mr. Russell inquired whether the danger of misinterpretation of the Department’s position might not arise as a result of the coordination of intelligence by the Director. Mr. McCormack remarked that the term “intelligence” apparently would be interpreted quite broadly so that it would include steps taken in the adoption of policies and in their implementation. The Secretary expressed the view that the practical question concerned the method by which the reporting would be done. Mr. Russell stated his view that there would be considerable danger in reports on State Department policy being presented to the President from sources [Page 325] other than the Department, since these would be no less binding upon the Department. It was his view that statements of policy in any form should be made by the person responsible for their formulation and implementation. Mr. McCormack emphasized the important influence which might be exerted if there were any inclination to short circuit the Department on matters of policy. Mr. Acheson said that danger was inherent in the decision which had been made to take the primary responsibility for coordination out of the Department of State.

Mr. Henderson asked whether it would not still be possible for the Department of State to approach the President directly with its own report of intelligence. Mr. Russell said that this would probably be ex post facto, and the Secretary agreed that that would be the likely result. The Secretary said that, since the information for the President would come from the Intelligence Authority and not from the Department of State, someone else would do the reporting. There would be coordination without full explanation and the way would be left open for misinterpretation. The Secretary again expressed the view that much would depend upon the person doing the job.

Mr. Braden pointed out that the situation which had existed during the war period, with the War and Navy Departments doing considerable reporting on political affairs, had been confusing, however necessary, in the emergency. The Secretary agreed that War and Navy were continuing to do political reporting. He indicated that the only method under the new plan by which the Department could be sure that its policies and actions might not be misinterpreted would be to submit a report of its own directly to the President before the coordinated report from the Director of Central Intelligence had been sent in.

In answer to a question by Mr. Vincent as to whether the Department of State would have the authority to see the coordinated reports of the Director of Central Intelligence before they were presented to the President, Mr. McCormack said that under the proposed directives a copy would be sent to the Department after presentation to the President. Mr. Braden emphasized the importance of State Department controlling the reporting of its activities and policies but Mr. McCormack again indicated that struggle had been lost in the order establishing the National Intelligence Authority.

(The Under Secretary left the meeting at this point.)

Mr. Braden inquired as to what would be done about the FBI program in this hemisphere since ARA had found this to be highly valuable if not essential. Mr. McCormack said that Admiral Souers was apparently seeking to avoid placing large numbers of OSS personnel in the Departments of War and State, and did not wish to replace such useful functions as those of the FBI in the other American republics. The Secretary said that he had come to have a much higher regard than formerly [Page 326] for the work of the FBI in such activities, and he added that there was additional practical value in the fact that the FBI was highly successful in obtaining appropriations from Congress.

Mr. Henderson, referring to the 43 people who would be assigned from State Department to the National Intelligence Authority, asked whether they would continue to be responsible to the Department. Mr. McCormack said that they would be entirely under control of the Director of Central Intelligence. Mr. Henderson said that in his view the Department should maintain control over them.

Mr. Clayton stated that it was his view that the only department or agency of the Government competent to express foreign policy was the Department of State through its responsible officers. Plan as outlined in these directives, he felt, would only bring continued and interminable trouble. The Secretary said that this meant that the Department must coordinate its reports and present them to the President each day, that this must be done in the most attractive and impressive manner by competent officers.

In stating again his view that the Secretary should proceed very cautiously on the program as set forth, Mr. Russell indicated that an alternative method might be for the Department of State to prepare a report for the President within the Department, a copy of which would be sent to the Director of Central Intelligence for the purpose of coordinating it with intelligence from other sources. Mr. McCormack suggested that another possible solution was to confine the daily report to intelligence, under a narrow definition, from the War, Navy and State Departments, but the Secretary expressed his fear that this would not prove practicable. The consensus was that in his meeting with the other members of the National Intelligence Authority the Secretary should present fully the Department’s position on the coordination and reporting of policies to the President.

The meeting adjourned at 10:00 a.m.

Annex I3

There was considerable discussion of the degree to which Admiral Leahy was maintaining control of the intelligence function. The Secretary said that although the President felt that by closing the Map Room in [Page 327] the White House Admiral Leahy’s influence would be reduced, actually under this setup his control would be very much greater. He said that the Admiral would now be able to spend all of his time with the National Intelligence Authority. Mr. Russell said that the President would be put in a position of seeing only that material which had been screened through Admiral Leahy and that reporting on policies or actions would be done without State Department approval. Mr. McCormack reported that Admiral Leahy had apparently facetiously noted in his comments on the proposed directives that the requirement that the State Department furnish reports on its policies should be left out, since the State Department had no policies. Mr. Russell said that however facetiously suggested this proposal should be seized upon, and that the requirement in the directives that statements on policies be submitted should be taken out.

  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. Secret. Drafted by E.A. Jamison. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office.
  2. Drafts of NIA 1, attached to Souers’ February 4 memorandum to the NIA (ibid., RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Records of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research: Lot 58 D 776), and NIA 2, February 5 (ibid., RG 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Leahy Papers, No. 130), are in the Supplement. NIA 1 and NIA 2 are printed as Documents 141 and 142.
  3. See document SC–172. Mr. McCormack mentioned, however, that the three Secretaries did not send to the President the plan proposed by the Department but a compromise plan prepared by the Navy Department. [Footnote in the source text; SC–172 is printed as Document 46.]
  4. Secret—Not for Circulation to Anyone Without Express Approval of Executive Secretary. This addendum is designated as “Annex I” although it is the only annex found with this set of minutes.