182. Memorandum From the Chief of the Interdepartmental Coordinating and Planning Staff, Central Intelligence Group (Edgar) to the Assistant Director for Reports and Estimates (Huddle)0


  • Program for ORE

As you know, I consider ORE as the heart of CIG and believe that our reputation with the President and the agencies will depend more on the intelligence produced by ORE than on any other activity.

1. Current Intelligence. I have therefore been somewhat concerned with the findings of the adequacy survey conducted by OCD.1 Although there are several parts of the OCD report that I know you will heed in your continuing effort to improve the ORE output, I invite special attention to the comment attributed to the Aide to Admiral Leahy:

“It appears that the concept of the summaries has changed somewhat since their beginning. Originally they were intended primarily to keep the President informed and secondarily for the information of the Secretaries of State, War and Navy. Now, in view of the dissemination given to the summaries, it seems they are designed as much for the information of planners as for the President.”

I see in this some small feeling of pique which we must overcome promptly.

2. I believe that you, while making plans to correct this situation, should also review your whole allocation of production responsibility. This request is based on past performance and on those future requirements which I foresee as a result of my conversation with NIA and IAB members, both in regular meetings and in personal talks.

3. I therefore request your prompt consideration of and comment on the following proposals:

A. that you designate certain members of your staff as current intelligence officers who will have as their sole or principal responsibility the production of current intelligence.

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4. Although the work of the current intelligence officers must be closely integrated with the work of the strategic intelligence researchers, I think you will agree that two distinct types of personality and abilities are required for the two types of work.

5. I am not yet sure in my own mind whether these current intelligence officers should be centralized in a special unit where they will, with the assistance of an editor, produce the current intelligence daily digest; or whether they should be decentralized in the several branches with the editor centralized close to the Assistant Director.

6. With this specialization, the CIG should be able to concentrate on meeting the complaints recorded in the adequacy survey.

7. My reading of that survey leads me to believe that in trying to meet the needs of several levels requiring foreign intelligence with one series of reports, all of which are receiving almost identical distribution, we are not fully meeting the requirements of any. We appear to be overwriting for some and underwriting for others.

8. I propose that we prepare a special daily for the President, so written that it should reach the President regularly, in its original form, and without the need for any preliminary annotations by aides. This will require very special selection and writing.

9. I propose that we supplement this for NIA members with additional items which although not worthy currently of Presidential notice should be brought to the attention of the NIA members.

10. Current Intelligence Summaries. The recent NIA allocation of collection responsibilities places on CIG the job of meeting the several agencies’ requirements for intelligence secondary to their own but necessary to the development of their staff intelligence. I believe this can be met if CIG revises its weekly in such a way that it will become a Current Intelligence Summary of the preceding period. Well done, these should go far toward meeting the G–2, A–2, and ONI requirements at the working level for foreign intelligence outside their specialized fields.

11. Strategic Intelligence. CIG has received much praise for its ORE No. 1.2

B. that ORE issue situation reports on the several strategic areas of the world.

12. Since the area branches are divided according to such areas, each branch should produce a Strategic Intelligence Estimate on a monthly basis. Each new issue should supersede the previous issue, the latter being recalled for destruction. Strategic Intelligence Estimates should also be prepared by the Functional Branches for their several subjects. If well done and kept currently up to date, these estimates should come to [Page 482] be regarded as forming a handbook for the reference purposes of policy officers and intelligence chiefs. To my knowledge no such handbook now exists.

13. Special Estimates. The above publications should be supplemented from time to time by special estimates as and when special developments so warrant. In most cases special estimates should be written for special recipients.

14. Nothing is more indicative of poor planning and lack of appreciation of recipients’ needs than the indiscriminate distribution of intelligence reports. Overwriting places a burden on aides to interpolate explanations; underwriting demands the marking up of reports to indicate “must reading” and “skip reading”. I desire that CIG do this editorial work at the time of initial preparation in so far as it may be possible.

15. Basic Intelligence.

C. that you create a working group in ORE, drawn from present personnel of the several branches to prepare an outline for the development of National Intelligence Digests. If possible this group should be balanced among geographic areas, functional subjects, and IAB agencies.

16. Discussions in the IAB indicate that some form of responsibility in this field will fall to CIG in the near future. The Defense Project3 group is revising its outline as a proposed outline for all areas. I desire that CIG give sufficient advance study to this matter so that when I require a CIG recommendation it will be forthcoming promptly. The group should consider all obtainable outlines, whether prepared by IAB or other U.S. Government or private agencies or by foreign governments or private enterprises.

17. In collecting and integrating these outlines, collection should be made of the related handbooks so that when once approved the outline can be fleshed out in part and initially at least with this material.

18. I believe that if the above program is adopted by ORE, I should receive fewer queries from the agencies as to when CIG is going to produce intelligence. In proposing this program I do not want you to believe that I am placing overemphasis on publication. Much of the work of ORE must continue to be laying that groundwork which prepares for emergencies. And I believe that ORE will be called upon more and more to do oral briefings. But I do consider that the above program is a minimum essential to our reputation.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Historical Files, HS/HC–804, Item 29. Confidential. The source text is a copy transcribed for the CIA Historian on July 16, 1952. This copy gives no indication of the sender but the document appears to be identical to one described in Darling, The Central Intelligence Agency, p. 141. This memorandum is referred to as a draft in a memorandum from Montague to the Assistant Director for Reports and Estimates, January 29. (Central Intelligence Agency Historical Files, HS/HC–450) See the Supplement.
  2. Memorandum from Olsen to DCI, December 9, 1946. (Central Intelligence Agency Records, Job 80–01731R, Box 43, Folder 1) Edgar also commented on this OCD survey in a memorandum to the Executive to the DCI, January 2. (Ibid., Folder 5)
  3. See footnote 4, Document 174.
  4. An early effort to produce a digest of basic intelligence on the Soviet Union and a forerunner of later efforts to produce basic intelligence “encyclopedias.” For the early history of the Defense Project, see Darling, The Central Intelligence Agency, pp. 84–86.