272. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Hillenkoetter to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Souers)0

Reference is made to the attached draft copy of a proposed NSC Directive1 to be discussed by your Staff on 7 May 1948. We have advised our representative to present our views on the subject paper, as follows:

We feel the appointment of a Director of Special Studies for purposes other than war-time planning is a dangerous duplication of existing assigned functions.
We desire to call attention to the fact that this Agency, acting underNSC 4–A, has made considerable strides in the subject field, has obligated itself to a considerable expenditure of funds for equipment, transportation, and experienced personnel, and has made firm commitments for clandestine psychological operations outside the United States for a long period of time. Interference with this activity infers a disruption of current activities and the possibility of serious breaks in security.
We feel that paragraph 3 of the proposed directive, if issued, should be changed to read as follows:

“3. For the purpose of planning for war-time or emergency covert psychological operations, in the interest of national security, it shall be the duty of the Director, under the direction of the National Security Council:

  • “a. To arrange for the preparation, by his own staff or other agencies as appropriate, of plans for war-time or emergency covert psychological operations.
  • “b. To be prepared to recommend area and material priorities in the field of psychological warfare in the event of emergency or state of war.
  • “c. To develop a program for the organization, training, equipment, and logistical support for war-time or emergency covert psychological operations.”

We must call attention to the fact that paragraph 4 of the proposed directive is an exact duplication of this Agency’s directive underNSC 4–A.
We must call attention to the fact that paragraph 5 of the proposed directive is an exact duplication of our present arrangement under NSC 4–A.
We feel that paragraph 6 of the proposed directive should either be eliminated as being out-dated by events or that the word “psychological” be added after the word “covert” in the first line of that paragraph and the words “and overt information emanating from a legitimate source” be deleted.
We feel that the proposed directive infers the necessity for a rescission of NSC 4–A and the reestablishment of covert psychological functions under an Agency other than CIA. It is a step toward placing secret intelligence and Special Operations (in the accepted international sense) under separate agencies. We respectfully invite attention to our own experience and the experience of other nations in this regard. There is no question but that war-time operations require a division between combat (or tactical) psychological warfare and strategic psychological warfare. From the standpoint of national security, we strongly urge a realistic understanding of our current needs as balanced against our needs in the event of war.
In view of the above, we again urgently recommend that the present operations under NSC 4–A be not jeopardized and that war-time planning be placed in the hands of the facility conducting current activities in the subject field.

RH Hillenkoetter

Rear Admiral, USN
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, NSC 10/2. Top Secret.
  2. Most likely a reference to Document 270.