256. Department of State Briefing Memorandum0


I. Discussion

The NSC Staff has revised SANACC 304/11 (the psychological warfare paper) and prepared two separate reports, one which plans the coordination [Page 647] of foreign information measures in overt operations (NSC 4), and the other initiating steps working toward covert psychological operations (NSC 4-A).

NSC 4 (Tab A),1 which has the approval of the Department as indicated in Mr. Sargeant’s memorandum (Tab B)proposes:

The Secretary of State should be charged with formulating and coordinating the implementation of all information measures designed to influence attitudes in foreign countries in a direction favorable to the attainment of US objectives and to counteract effects of anti-US propaganda. It is assumed that these functions will be exercised by the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, who should consult with an informal group composed of representatives of other appropriate departments and agencies.
Appropriate departments and agencies should be instructed to insure the most effective coordination and utilization of their appropriate facilities, and
The Assistant Secretary should be assisted by a staff including qualified full-time personnel detailed from each appropriate agency.

NSC 4–A (Tab C)2 entitled Psychological Operations provides that covert psychological operations shall be conducted by the CIA and a draft directive to the Director of CIA is enclosed with the report. This directive authorizes CIA to initiate and conduct covert psychological operations designed to counteract Soviet-inspired activity provided that the approval of all policy directives and major plans are obtained from a panel to be designated by the Council. This panel will probably consist of representatives of State, Army, Navy, Air and perhaps the JCS.

In the memorandum, (Tab D),3 Mr. Kennan indicates that whereas it is desirable to establish the authority for the proposed operations, the Council should be frankly informed that before giving our consent to any such activities we would wish to consider most carefully the need therefor. Furthermore, we would want to examine the situation in all its aspects in case of any suggested operation, and to judge each case strictly on its merits.

II. Recommendations

It is recommended:

That you approve NSC 4 Coordination of Foreign Information Measures, and
Approve NSC 4–A Psychological Operations with the understanding that we are only approving the establishment of the authority for the proposed operations.
That you indicate to the Council our views on such activities as indicated above.

Tab B4

Memorandum From the Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs (Sargeant) to Acting Secretary of State Lovett


  • Report to National Security Council on Coordination of Foreign Information Measures
The attached report5 is a revision of SANACC 304/11 drafted by the NSC staff in the light of comment at the second meeting of the National Security Council.
It is recommended that the report be approved by the Department.
Significant changes in the original SANACC paper have been made as follows:
All reference to “psychological measures” has been eliminated;
Paragraph 6 provides for “the immediate strengthening and coordination of all foreign information measures of the U.S. Government….”
Paragraph 8a assumes that the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, acting for the Secretary of State, will “consult with” rather than “be advised by” an informal group composed of representatives of other appropriate departments and agencies in formulating information policies and coordinating the implementation of all information measures.
“Other appropriate departments and agencies” are not specified in the report, but it is understood that they shall include, initially, the Departments of Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The report contains no recommendation regarding implementation of Paragraph 3b, which provides that “appropriate departments and agencies should be directed to insure the most effective coordination and utilization of their facilities . . . .” Presumably, such a directive would be issued by the Committee of Two. This point should be clarified, however, as the Secretary of State would not be in a position to carry out his responsibilities without a clear directive to the participating departments and agencies.6
I understand Mr. Kennan has briefed you on another aspect of this problem which will be discussed at the National Security Council meeting. If possible, I should like to discuss briefly with you the relationship between these two aspects.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Records of the Executive Secretariat, NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 4. Top Secret. The date is handwritten on the source text. The memorandum has neither an addressee nor a sender, but presumably it was intended for Under Secretary Lovett, who was Acting Secretary at the time. The document is a briefing paper for the NSC meeting held December 17.
  2. Document 252.
  3. Document 253.
  4. Not found.
  5. Secret.
  6. Not attached. Reference is to a draft of NSC 4, possibly Document 252.
  7. In the margin next to this paragraph is the following handwritten note: “Secretary of State would have authority to issue these directives under President’s approval of the paper. S/S–H.W. Moseley.”