153. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Research and Intelligence (Langer) to the Secretary of State’s Staff Committee 0
ARMY AND NAVY DESIRE TO ESTABLISH INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES AT U.S. CONSULATES
The War and Navy Departments have requested the State Department to undertake negotiations for permission to assign military and naval personnel for intelligence activities at a number of U.S. consulates throughout the world. The State Department has drawn the attention of the Army and Navy to the unprecedented character of the requests in peace-time and to the inevitability of reciprocity having to be accorded the foreign nations involved.[Page 356]
On April 29 the Department forwarded memoranda to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G–2, and the Chief of Naval Intelligence, requesting that their Departments provide (a) details of the total program which each contemplated, (b) statements of the privileges and immunities desired for the personnel attached to the consulates and their archives and (c) a statement of the extent to which they are prepared to have reciprocal privileges granted to the countries concerned.1
On May 23 the War Department furnished the requested information. Its program contemplates the establishment of intelligence activities at nine locations, involving a total of 53 persons on a permanent basis. The War Department desires that its personnel and their archives have the same privileges, exemptions and immunities as the personnel of the State Department at consular offices, and it has no objection to according reciprocal privileges to the countries concerned. Up to this time no reply to the April 29 memorandum has been received from the Navy Department.
1. That the Department formulate an overall policy with respect to the establishment of Army and Navy intelligence personnel and activities at U.S. consulates which will provide for the disposition of the requests of the War and Navy Departments.
Since November 1945, in the case of the War Department, and since May 1945, in the case of the Navy Department, the State Department has received requests from time to time to initiate negotiations with certain foreign governments for permission to assign military or naval personnel to designated U.S. consulates for intelligence purposes. A meeting of representatives of the Offices and Divisions of the Department whose areas were affected by the requests was held on March 13, 1946, to consider the fundamental problems raised by those requests. The matter was referred to LE for an opinion on the feasibility of concluding such arrangements. While recognizing the lack of precedent for agreements of that nature, LE found nothing to estop arrangements being negotiated with the foreign countries concerned, pointing out, however, that the privileges and immunities to be accorded the assigned military or naval personnel and their archives should be specified clearly in any agreement concluded.
After further discussion of the question among the affected Offices and Divisions of the Department, on April 29 substantially identical memoranda were dispatched to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G–2, and the [Page 357] Chief of Naval Intelligence (Annex I).2 It was pointed out that the Department felt it necessary to be apprised of the complete programs contemplated by the Army and the Navy before approaching other governments in the matter, and it was requested that information to that end be provided, together with statements of the privileges, exemptions and immunities desired for the assigned military and naval personnel. A statement was also requested of the extent to which the War and Navy Departments were prepared to grant reciprocal privileges to each country concerned. It was pointed out that the granting of such privileges to one power would probably cause others to request like privileges, whether or not the U.S. desired to establish intelligence personnel within their territory.
The War Department replied on May 23 and furnished the information requested in the memorandum of April 29 (Annex II). The program of the War Department contemplates a total of nine locations; three would involve the consent of France, three of Great Britain and one each of Holland, Belgium and Portugal. The program provides for the assignment of 18 officers, 10 warrant officers, and 25 clerical assistants, or a total of 53 persons (Annex III). The War Department states that the arrangements would be of a permanent nature in each case. It desires that the proposed assigned personnel have the same diplomatic privileges, exemptions and immunities as personnel of the State Department at consular offices. It states that it has no objection to according reciprocal privileges to the countries concerned but it does not indicate its attitude with respect to other countries.
No reply to the April 29 memorandum to the Chief of Naval Intelligence has as yet been received. The individual requests made to the State Department by the Navy Department from time to time indicate, however, that the Navy desired arrangements which would involve the consent of Great Britain, Holland and Norway.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 353, Records of Interdepartmental and Intradepartmental Committees—State Department, Lot File No. 122, Box 94. Restricted. Transmitted by a covering note stating that the Advisory Committee on Intelligence had considered the problem and decided that it required a decision at the level of the Secretary’s Staff Committee. (Memorandum from Langer to John Gange, June 7; ibid.) See the Supplement. The action by the Advisory Committee on Intelligence is in the minutes of its first meeting, June 4. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 353, Records of Interdepartmental and Intradepartmental Committees—State Department, Lot File No. 122, Box 94) See the Supplement.↩
- None of the documents referred to in this memorandum has been found.↩
- None of the annexes has been found.↩