277. Memorandum for the President of Discussion at the 11th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follows discussion of agenda item 1, U.S. position on support for Western Union and other related free countries.]

2. Director of Special Studies (NSC 10)1

Mr. Lovett said that the subject report is intended to provide for an expansion of our covert activities. He said that he had not had time to match up the subject report with the comments of the Dulles survey group. He would, therefore, like further time to study this matter.

Secretary Royall said that he was opposed to creating new organizations. He asked why CIA could not direct these activities instead of setting up a Director of Special Studies.

Mr. Lovett said that from the beginning of the National Intelligence Authority it was the general feeling that CIA should have no police duties for fear that it would become a Gestapo. He was afraid that if CIA undertook to conduct these covert operations, the Congress might be afraid that it was becoming a gestapo.

Secretary Royall felt that setting up another organization would merely result in duplication of what CIA is doing.

Secretary Forrestal noted that one important consideration is that, if intelligence activities are to be effective, they must be secret.

Mr. Souers noted that comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had not yet been received.

Mr. Lovett said that although the JCS comments would be interesting, it must be remembered that we are not talking about wartime activities but rather about activities to be conducted at the present time. He noted, however, that the covert operations were of a type which the State Department could not conduct.

Secretary Forrestal said that these operations must not be conducted on an ad hoc personal basis as in the past.

Mr. Lovett said that he had talked with Senator Bridges2 who had at one time offered to appropriate $50,000,000 for this type of operation.

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Admiral Hillenkoetter noted that the Director of Special Studies could not properly conduct sabotage and counter-sabotage. He felt that current operation should be done as at present by CIA but should be taken over by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in wartime.

Mr. Lay explained the background of this report. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had proposed the creation of a nucleus psychological warfare operation immediately. SANACC concurred in this proposal and submitted it to the NSC for consideration. The Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State had proposed an organization to conduct political warfare. The NSC Staff considered both of these proposals and prepared the subject report which envisaged a Director of Special Studies under the NSC who would control, but not conduct, all covert operations. The Dulles survey group on the other hand proposed that both covert operations and secret intelligence activities be performed by a single Agency, either under CIA or directly under the NSC.

The National Security Council:3

Deferred action on this report until the next meeting of the Council.

[Here follows discussion of agenda items 3–8, protection of intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosures, scheduling of NSC meetings, documents resulting from conversations with the British regarding the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, U.S. policy on atomic warfare, review of the world situation as it relates to the security of the United States, and NSC status of projects.]

  1. Source: Truman Library, Papers of Harry S. Truman, President’s Secretary’s Files, Subject File. Top Secret. Prepared on May 21. According to the minutes of the 11th meeting, the following persons were present: Secretary of State Marshall; Secretary of Defense Forrestal; Secretary of the Army Royall; Secretary of the Navy Sullivan; Secretary of the Air Force Symington; NSRB Chairman Hill; Under Secretary of State Lovett; DCI Hillenkoetter; NSC Executive Secretary Souers; and Assistant Executive Secretary Lay. (Ibid.)
  2. For the draft of NSC 10, see Document 274.
  3. Senator Styles Bridges, Republican-New Hampshire.
  4. The following paragraph constitutes NSC Action No. 47. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, Record of Actions, Box 55)