158. Memorandum for the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Research and Intelligence (Langer)0


General. a. The Department has been a consistent and enthusiastic supporter of the concept of centralized intelligence. It is anxious to contribute [Page 385] in every way possible to the successful and efficient operation of CIG. It believes, however, that a great deal of constructive accomplishment remains to be undertaken within the framework of the present functions and duties of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).
b. The Department believes that the President’s letter of January 22, 1946 expressed the mutually agreed upon conception of centralized intelligence and that the basic theory there established is that the NIA, the DCI and CIG should be at the managerial, not the operational, level, except with respect to “services of common concern” performed “for the benefit of said intelligence agencies” [i.e., State, War and Navy].3 The provisions of CIG 10 would radically affect the original concept.
Paragraph 2 of CIG 10. The powers and duties conferred upon the DCI by this paragraph extend his functions and responsibilities into operational intelligence activities. The language of paragraph 2 permits a number of differing interpretations of its intent and the phraseology lacks clarity with respect to the functions and the powers granted the DCI. Numerous questions arise, some of which are:
The DCI is authorized to undertake “basic research and analysis” supplemental to that of the State, War and Navy Departments when “in his opinion and that of the appropriate member of the IAB it is required by the national security.” Should it devolve upon the DCI in the first instance to determine “the appropriate member” of the IAB and the “fields of primary interest” for each of the Departments?
What are “fields of primary interest”? Is “political” intelligence the only field of primary interest for State? Can political intelligence be separated from economic, geographic, biographic or sociological intelligence, or, for that matter, from order-of-battle or maritime intelligence at certain times and under certain circumstances?
The DCI is authorized to perform research and analysis activities in the fields of “common but secondary interest to more than one of those Departments,” provided centralization increases efficiency or effectiveness. What is a “secondary interest” to the State Department? Here again the DCI is charged with determining which of the members of the IAB are “the appropriate members” with respect to the activities of common but secondary interest.
It has been rumored that the DCI may take over some of the branches of MIS, such as the Pol-Ec Branch, the Who’s Who Branch and the Scientific Branch. How, specifically, would the provisions of paragraph 2 cover the determination by the DCI of his right or duty to conduct the activities now performed by those branches of MIS?
It is possible that the exercise of the duties and functions of the DCI under paragraph 2 may come into direct conflict with certain provisions of the President’s letter (to which the redefinitions are subject) and thus prove abortive. For example, paragraph 6 of the President’s letter makes it obligatory for State, War and Navy to continue “to collect, evaluate, correlate and disseminate departmental intelligence.” Do not questions arise as to what constitutes “departmental intelligence” and whether the departments can turn over even secondary activities if they are “departmental”?
Is not the effect of paragraph 2 to diminish the authority and function of the IAB to a marked degree?
Legality. a. Entirely apart from the substantive questions involved in the redefinition of the functions of the DCI, there is some doubt whether the NIA, under the provisions of the President’s letter of January 22, has the authority to redefine the functions of the DCI so as to empower him to undertake activities not specifically delineated in the President’s letter. Paragraph 3–d of the President’s letter directs the DCI to perform “such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the President and the National Intelligence Authority may from time to time direct.” It is not clear from the language whether the requirement is imposed that both the President and the NIA are to direct the DCI to perform other functions, but the more logical, and possibly the legal, interpretation would be that such a requirement was established. In that case, the NIA would have no authority to direct the DCI to perform functions other than those enumerated in the President’s letter unless and until the President so directs.
b. The foregoing does not, apparently, apply to the assumption by the DCI of the duties specified in paragraph 4 of CIG 10, for it would seem likely that those activities fall within the provisions of paragraph 3–c of the President’s letter which directs the DCI to “perform, for the benefit of said intelligence agencies, such services of common concern as the National Intelligence Authority determines can be more efficiently performed centrally.”
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Decimal File 1945–49, 101.5/6–2846. Top Secret. Drafted by W. Park Armstrong of Langer’s staff. Attached to this document was a 7-page chronology dated January 1946 and entitled “History of the National Intelligence Authority.” See the Supplement.
  2. The designator or routing symbol for the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence.
  3. Document 156.
  4. Brackets in the source text.