165. Letter From the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Hoover) to the President’s Chief of Staff (Leahy)0

Dear Admiral Leahy: I am sure you will recall your recent conversation with Mr. Tamm of my office, on August 12th,1 last, concerning the Central Intelligence Group. With further reference to the matters discussed at that time I thought I should call to your attention the proposed CIG Directive No. 152 which recently has been referred to me for approval and/or comment.3

Some of the provisions incorporated in this Directive have caused me considerable concern. Briefly, they provide for CIG operations within the United States and its Territories in a fashion which I regard to be an invasion of domestic intelligence coverage which, according to our laws, is the sole responsibility of this Bureau. I am attaching a copy of my letter of reply to General Vandenberg, in which I outlined my objections in detail. This letter should be self-explanatory.

We are sure you will agree that it is imperative that the present arrangement for domestic intelligence coverage should not be tampered with at this critical period. If the proposed Directive should be placed [Page 403] into effect, it is our feeling that it definitely would create considerable difficulty and would inevitably lead to confusion, duplication of effort and intolerable conditions to the detriment of the national well-being.

Sincerely yours,

J. Edgar Hoover


Letter From the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Hoover) to the Director of Central Intelligence (Vandenberg)

Dear General Vandenberg: I refer to your memorandum of August 21, 1946, concerning the exploitation of American business concerns, non-governmental groups, and individuals with connections abroad as sources of foreign intelligence information.5 I must advise that the proposed directive which was attached does not incorporate the changes suggested in my letter of August 6, 1946,6 and I, therefore, cannot approve it. This new directive also includes provisions and statements in which I cannot concur and, in fact, must oppose.

In the discussion attached to this new proposed directive it is stated: “Foreign intelligence information related to the national security, although it may be collected from sources whose headquarters are within the limits of the United States and its possessions, is definitely part of the national intelligence mission, the coordination of which is specifically a function of the National Intelligence Authority under the provisions of the President’s letter of 22 January, 1946.” This statement is not in agreement with Section 9 of the President’s letter of January 22 which states: “Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize the making of investigations inside the continental limits of the United States and its possessions except as provided by law and Presidential Directives.”

I note that in the proposed directive it is stated that field agents of the Central Intelligence Group will establish and maintain liaison with the [Page 404] intelligence officers of local Army and Navy headquarters and Air Force headquarters. If this means that the CIG will establish offices in the United States or will operate field agents within the United States or its possessions, I am of the opinion that this is not within the provisions of the President’s original directive. I did not understand that the President’s original directive contemplated the Central Intelligence Group engaging in any such activities within the United States and its possessions.

In connection with the proposed directive, as previously advised, I will approve a directive providing for the Director of Central Intelligence establishing uniform procedures for securing the cooperation of American business concerns in supplying foreign intelligence information required for the national security. As set forth in my letter of August 6 concerning the original proposed directive, the Federal Bureau of Investigation should be exempt from provisions requiring clearance from the Central Contact Register inasmuch as it is necessary for us to contact such various firms on a daily basis in matters involving the discharge of our domestic responsibilities. I desire also to reiterate my suggestion that the Central Contact Register advise the FBI with reference to each American business firm with which arrangements are made to secure foreign intelligence in order to prevent duplication of effort and possible embarrassment to both the FBI and the CIG.

I shall, of course, be most anxious to promptly transmit to the Central Intelligence Group any information gathered through our domestic operations involving foreign intelligence information relating to the national security.

With best wishes and kind regards,

Sincerely yours,7

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Leahy Papers, No. 132. Personal and Confidential.
  2. See Document 124.
  3. The number 12 has been crossed out, and 15 has been inserted by hand.
  4. Hoover presumably was referring to a paper designated as CIG 12/1, “Exploitation of American Business Concerns, Non-Governmental Groups and Individuals with Connections Abroad as Sources of Foreign Intelligence Information,” which was circulated to the IAB on August 21. (Central Intelligence Agency Historical Files, HS/HC–276) See the Supplement. It replaced an earlier paper on the same subject that carried the designator CIG 12. For the paper as finally approved, see CIG Directive No. 15, Document 171. There is an account of the debate over this paper in Darling, The Central Intelligence Agency, pp. 122–127.
  5. Strictly Confidential; By Special Messenger.
  6. See footnote 3 above.
  7. Not found.
  8. Printed from an unsigned copy.