257. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Souers) to Director of Central Intelligence Hillenkoetter0


  • Psychological Operations


  • NSC 4–A
[Page 650]

At its fourth meeting the National Security Council amended and approved the draft directive to the Director of Central Intelligence contained inNSC 4–A.1

This directive, as approved by the National Security Council, is transmitted herewith for appropriate action.

Sidney W. Souers 2


National Security Council Directive to Director of Central Intelligence Hillenkoetter

The National Security Council, taking cognizance of the vicious psychological efforts of the USSR, its satellite countries and Communist groups to discredit and defeat the aims and activities of the United States and other Western powers, has determined that, in the interests of world peace and U.S. national security, the foreign information activities of the U.S. Government must be supplemented by covert psychological operations.
The similarity of operational methods involved in covert psychological and intelligence activities and the need to ensure their secrecy andobviate costly duplication renders the Central Intelligence Agency the logical agency to conduct such operations. Hence, under authority of Section 102(d)(5) of the National Security Act of 1947, the National Security Council directs the Director of Central Intelligence to initiate and conduct, within the limit of available funds, covert psychological operations designed to counteract Soviet and Soviet-inspired activities which [Page 651] constitute a threat to world peace and security or are designed to discredit and defeat the United States in its endeavors to promote world peace and security.
The Director of Central Intelligence is charged with ensuring that such psychological operations are consistent with U.S. foreign policy and overt foreign information activities, and that appropriate agencies of the U.S. Government, both at home and abroad (including diplomatic and military representatives in each area), are kept informed of such operations which will directly affect them.
Nothing contained herein shall be construed to require the Central Intelligence Agency to disclose operational details concerning its secret techniques, sources or contacts.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, NSC Minutes, 4th Meeting. Top Secret. Central Intelligence Agency records contain a typescript copy that apparently was made from a signed copy; it is identical to the source text. (Central Intelligence Agency Historical Files, HS/CSG–773, Job 83–00036, Box 5, Folder 8) Also reproduced in CIA Cold War Records: The CIA under Harry Truman, pp.173–175.
  2. The NSC minutes for the Council’s 4th meeting on December 17 refer only to NSC 4, noting simply that it was adopted without change and subsequently submitted to the President for approval. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, NSC Minutes, 4th Meeting) There is no mention of NSC 4-A in the minutes. The amendment referred to in the undated directive to Hillenkoetter involved paragraph 3, where the proposal for an advisory panel was eliminated. See the enclosure to Document 253. Souers submitted NSC 4 to the President for approval under a memorandum of December 17. Truman approved NSC 4 on December 18. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, NSC Minutes, 4th Meeting) The file contains no mention of the President’s approval of NSC 4-A.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  4. Top Secret.