169. Minutes of the Seventh Meeting of the National Intelligence Authority0


  • Members Present
  • Acting Secretary of State William L. Clayton, in the Chair
  • Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson
  • Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal
  • Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Personal Representative of the President
  • Lieut. General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Director of Central Intelligence
  • Also Present
  • Under Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan
  • Mr. William A. Eddy, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence
  • Assistant Secretary of War Howard C. Petersen
  • Mr. John D. Hickerson, Department of State
  • Captain Robert L. Dennison, USN
  • Secretariat
  • Mr. James S. Lay, Jr., Secretary, N.I.A.

1. Report by the Director of Central Intelligence

General Vandenberg, using a series of charts, presented a report on the activities of the Central Intelligence Group.

General Vandenberg first noted the objectives of the C.I.G. as expressed in the President’s letter of 22 January 1946 and N.I.A. Directives Nos. 1 and 5.1 He then presented a definition of “intelligence related to the national security” as interpreted by the C.I.G. He enumerated the following steps as essential to the production of such intelligence:

Anticipating needs.
Determining most effective means.
Ensuring collection.
Receiving all available intelligence information.
Checking each item against all others.
Correlating political, military, economic and other implications.
Reporting in useful form to appropriate officials.

General Vandenberg showed the initial organization of the C.I.G. which was designed primarily for planning, except for a small staff preparing the daily factual summary of incoming cables and dispatches. He noted that the question of central intelligence services was left for subsequent decision.

General Vandenberg submitted a list of 31 projects which had been referred to C.I.G for study by one or more intelligence agencies. In the light of the study of these projects and the experience gained up to that time, C.I.G. was reorganized on 22 July along lines explained by General Vandenberg. He noted that the need for such a reorganization was noted in Admiral Souers’ final report2 to the National Intelligence Authority. General Vandenberg analyzed the personnel allocations for this organization at the present time and as estimated for 31 December 1946.

General Vandenberg then listed over 20 accomplishments of the C.I.G. to date, stressing the fact that while many of these were incomplete [Page 414] and continuing projects, an agreement as to the proper line of action in each case had already been reached.

Secretary Forrestal stated that he was dubious about the destruction of the F.B.I operation in Latin America. He considered these peripheral areas, such as Mexico, Cuba, etc., to be extremely important to our national security, and thought that the F.B.I had conducted a very effective intelligence activity there. He asked General Vandenberg whether he was satisfied with the present arrangement.

General Vandenberg agreed that the F.B.I had conducted a very effective intelligence operation. He explained, however, that the F.B.I had agreed to turn over to C.I.G. the contacts it had developed in Latin America. This turnover, of course, would take time to accomplish, but if it is carried out as agreed at present, there should not be any serious interruption in the operation.

In answer to a question by Mr. Hickerson, Admiral Leahy stated that, at the insistence of Mr. Hoover, the C.I.G. was precluded from hiring former F.B.I men in Latin America.

General Vandenberg said that he was recruiting personnel for this activity by personal contact. He also stated that C.I.G. was now prepared to utilize, to the extent security permits, all American business concerns with connections abroad as valuable sources of foreign intelligence.

General Vandenberg then listed 19 problems in the coordination of intelligence activities that are in process in C.I.G. for which solutions have not yet been devised.

Admiral Leahy commented that the problems enumerated were very far-reaching, and it was not hard to understand why solutions had not yet been found.

General Vandenberg explained certain general plans for C.I.G. intelligence operations overseas and for the F.B.I.S. activity.

General Vandenberg then presented some of the difficulties faced by C.I.G. of which he felt the N.I.A. should be apprised. First of all, he stressed the fact that C.I.G. could not produce national intelligence without all the intelligence information available to the Government. In this regard he felt strongly that only trained C.I.G. personnel could determine whether a given piece of information contained important intelligence implications. He noted that to the best of his knowledge the State and Navy Departments were furnishing complete coverage of their information. Some of the main sources of information to which C.I.G. did not have access were the President’s messages, General Marshall’s messages, and War Department OPD “eyes only” messages. He felt that the best solution was to have a trained C.I.G. officer who was acceptable to each department stationed in the message center of each department [Page 415] where he could review the messages and transmit to C.I.G. subject to any necessary restrictions, those messages having intelligence value.

Secretary Patterson expressed the belief that such an arrangement could be made.

General Vandenberg then noted the difficult problem of the relationship between C.I.G. and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.3 He pointed out that the Joint Intelligence Committee duplicates the work of C.I.G. Also, J.I.C. intelligence coordination activities may conflict with similar C.I.G. activities. He said that J.I.C. studies generally receive priority in the War and Navy intelligence agencies since the J.C.S. were the immediate superiors of the heads of those agencies. The possibility of combining C.I.G. and the Joint Intelligence Staff (JIS) had been considered, but raised difficulties since C.I.G. might then be serving two masters. He said that the solution was a difficult one, but that it was being carefully studied.

Secretary Patterson said that he did not see why the J.I.S. should not be disbanded.

Admiral Leahy agreed that this appeared to be the proper solution, and said that he had so stated to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He observed that this was not an easy problem to solve, but he thought that a workable solution would be found.

General Vandenberg noted that a third difficulty which was under active consideration was the relationship of C.I.G. to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee.

A fourth and most serious difficulty enumerated by General Vandenberg was the relationship of N.I.A. to the Atomic Energy Commission. He pointed out that the Atomic Energy Act created an independent agency which had the authority to engage in extremely important intelligence activities without coordination by the N.I.A. Furthermore, it was rumored that the Commission would conduct a foreign intelligence operation which would involve a grave danger of conflict with similar C.I.G. operations.

Admiral Leahy stated that he thought the President would do the best he can to turn atomic energy intelligence activities over to the N.I.A. The President, however, does not want to act until the Atomic Energy Commission is appointed. Admiral Leahy thinks that this matter will be arranged, but cannot say definitely at this time.

General Vandenberg stated that a fifth difficulty was the procurement of key Army and Naval personnel for C.I.G. He said that the present C.I.G. ceiling for Naval officers was 13, and that a request for an increase to 65 was under consideration in the Navy Department but had [Page 416] not been confirmed. He stated that any assistance in this matter which Secretary Forrestal might render would be extremely helpful.

Secretary Forrestal agreed to look into the present status of this request.

General Vandenberg then explained that Army and Naval officers assigned to C.I.G. were fearful that they might lose their normal opportunities for promotion. He felt that a few key promotions in C.I.G. at this time would be of the greatest value in improving morale. He therefore requested that the Secretaries of War and the Navy press for the promotion of certain C.I.G. personnel.

General Vandenberg then presented a chart showing the time required for processing a typical C.I.G. field officer to be from four to six months. He explained that this was intended to indicate one of the reasons for what might seem to be delay in establishing field operations such as in Latin America. He assured the N.I.A. that every attempt was being made to reduce the length of time involved in this processing.

Secretary Forrestal stated that he would prefer to see this work done carefully rather than too hurriedly.

The National Intelligence Authority:

Noted the report of C.I.G. activities by General Vandenberg.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Leahy Papers, No. 132. Secret; Limited Distribution. The meeting was held at the Department of State.
  2. Documents 71, 141, and 142.
  3. Document 154.
  4. Reference is to CIG 15, September 18, 1946. (Central Intelligence Agency Historical Files, HS/HC–276) See the Supplement.