264. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs (Allen) to Acting Secretary of State Lovett0


  • Coordination of Foreign Information Measures

At the National Security Council meeting on Friday1 you may be pressed to agree to a proposal by the Armed Services to set up immediately [Page 662] a psychological warfare organization. The more enthusiastic representatives of the Armed Services would apparently like to begin actual psychological warfare operations at the earliest possible moment. I suggest that you go slow on any positive commitments along this line until we can go into the matter further.

It is important to remember that psychological warfare is in its essence a political activity and in Russia and Great Britain among other places is and has been traditionally an instrument of the Foreign Office. Under a National Security Council Directive of December 9, 1947 (NSC-4), it is clearly recognized that the State Department has jurisdiction in the matter and this point should be maintained. Claims which may be advanced by the War Department that the State Department has been lax in taking any action under NSC-4 are exaggerated to say the least. We have taken a good deal of action under this directive already as the attached will indicate.

Following approval of NSC-4 by the President on December 18th, 1947, letters were sent out on January 2nd, 1948, by Mr. Lovett to the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, requesting them to designate representatives to consult with Mr. Allen, in order to carry out the NSC-4 Directive.

The Central Intelligence Agency named its representative on January 5th, the Air Force on February 4th, the Army on February 5th, and the Navy not until March 9th.

On March 10th the first meeting of this informal Inter-departmental Consultative Group was set for March 15th. Mr. Allen chaired this meeting, and called upon representatives of the other Departments to prepare written memoranda on the overseas activities of their Departments falling within the scope of NSC-4, and to name representatives to the full-time Working Staff called for by NSC-4, the duties of which were (1) to coordinate all federal foreign information facilities, and (2) to initiate and develop for the approval of the Assistant Secretary specific plans and programs in the foreign information field.

Further meetings of the Consultative Group were held on March 18th and March 29th with Mr. Allen in the Chair each time. At these meetings there was informal discussion of the functions of the Consultative Group and of the full-time Working Staff, with a view to carrying out NSC-4 as early as possible. April 12th was agreed upon as the earliest target date by which the Working Staff members would be designated by the other Departments and commence activities. Appropriate office space and working facilities have been held ready by the Assistant Secretary since March 15th. A member of Mr. Allen’s staff has also been ready since the inception of the Consultative Group to serve as Executive Secretary of the full-time Working Staff.

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A list of proposed projects on which the Working Staff shall commence its duties has been prepared; these are to be integrated with the projects of the OIE, so as to avoid duplication or overlapping.

  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, Box 4205. Top Secret.
  2. April 2.