27. Memorandum From Secretary of the Navy Forrestal to Secretary of State Byrnes0
Washington, October 13, 1945.
I am enclosing memoranda as follows:
- Captain Souers, Assistant
Chief of Naval Intelligence, to Mr. Eberstadt, who dealt with the question of central
intelligence in his report to me on the proposed unification of the
- A memorandum from me to Admiral King;2
- A response from Admiral King.3
I wish you would regard this as an informal transmission and return these
papers after reading. Subsequently, I would like to suggest4 that you put on the agenda of one of the
meetings with Bob Patterson and myself,5 this
question, which it seems to me is one of the most important, considering the
state of the world, that we have before us as a government.
Washington, September 27, 1945.
Memorandum From the Assistant Chief of Naval
Intelligence (Souers) to
- As your program7 envisages the creation of a strong central
intelligence agency, I would like to invite your attention to
certain developments which may possibly facilitate the program but
if prompt and adequate action is not taken may make it difficult if
not impossible of accomplishment in a form satisfactory to the
- The President on 20 September 1945 directed the Secretary of State
to take the lead in developing a comprehensive and coordinated
foreign intelligence program for all federal agencies concerned with
that type of activity and suggested it be done through the creation
of an interdepartmental group heading up under the State
- This morning it was announced in the press that Colonel Alfred C. McCormack, Director of
the Intelligence Group of MIS, has
been selected by the State Department to head up the unit of OSS transferred to State and presumably
to develop the program for the Secretary of State in line with
- That part of OSS not awarded to
State has been transferred to the War Department. The Navy was
ignored in the disposition of the functions and assets of OSS.
- To adequately protect the interests of the Navy during this
crucial period, it would appear that aggressive action is required
and the following recommendations are respectfully submitted:
- The Secretary of the Navy attempt to arrange with the
Secretary of State for the early creation of a committee or
group which would include representatives of the Secretaries
of War and Navy. This would make available at the working
level the requirements of the services for the guidance of
the Secretary of State.
- The Naval officer selected should be thoroughly familiar
with the intelligence requirements of the Navy, should be
thoroughly trained in intelligence and understand the
detailed operations of ONI
and should understand the manner in which the departmental
intelligence agencies operate and overlap.
Washington, October 12, 1945.
Memorandum From the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet
(King) to Secretary of the Navy Forrestal
- Replying to your memorandum of 4 October,9 it is my thought that the Navy has four main
objectives in the field of Intelligence.
- Maintenance of an adequate and efficient Naval
Intelligence Service with control by the Navy of collection,
processing and dissemination of operational communication
intelligence and other functions necessary to the exercise
of naval command.
- Elimination of all unnecessary duplication in ONI of those intelligence
functions which properly belong to the State or War
- Unification of intelligence activities of common concern
to the State, War and Navy Departments in order to
synthesize Departmental intelligence on the strategic and
national policy level.
- Improve facilities for the acquisition of secret foreign
intelligence for the use of the U.S. Government.
- With the reorganization of the Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations all intelligence functions in the Navy will be
consolidated under the Chief of Naval Intelligence.
- In November 1942, General
Marshall and I directed our intelligence services to
explore ways and means of merging their activities in order to
eliminate duplication, reduce overlaps and make headway toward a
unified intelligence agency. Thereafter, a number of joint
activities were established; also each of the services undertook the
performance of certain intelligence functions in behalf of both.
These activities have been successful. It is my desire that those
having peacetime application be continued and that additional joint
projects be established.
- Complete merger of the intelligence services of the State, War and
Navy Departments is not considered feasible or desirable since each
of these departments requires operating intelligence which is of no
value or interest to the others and in the acquisition and
processing of which peculiar abilities and background knowledge are
- I recommend establishment of a central intelligence agency, along
the lines of the proposal recently approved by the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, to coordinate and as far as practicable unify all foreign
intelligence activities, and to synthesize all the intelligence
concerning military, political, [Page 63] economic and technological developments abroad
for the benefit of those responsible for the determination and
execution of governmental policy pertaining to national
- If a central intelligence agency is created along sound lines,
with the Navy adequately represented on both the policy making and
working levels so that a flow of intelligence required for naval
planning will be assured, many functions now performed by ONI can be transferred to that
- It has come to my attention that in a letter bearing the same date
as the Executive Order abolishing OSS the President directed the Secretary of State to
take the lead in developing a comprehensive and coordinated foreign
intelligence program for all federal agencies concerned with that
type of activity and suggested it be done through the creation of an
interdepartmental group heading up under the State
- It is recommended that the Secretary of State be urged to expedite
the establishment of an interdepartmental group for this purpose
which will include representatives of the Secretaries of War and
Navy who know the intelligence requirements of the services and who
are thoroughly familiar with the organization and operating
procedures of the departmental intelligence agencies.
Fleet Admiral, U.S. Navy