286. Memorandum From the Director of the Policy Planning Staff(Kennan) to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)0

The Staff of the National Security Council has under discussion the attached paper1 relating to secret operations. It is our understanding that the paper represents the results of discussions which took place at a full Council meeting on June 3.

This is a project which I believe emanates largely from the initiative of the Policy Planning Staff, which has been trying for several months to help devise some means by which this Government could conduct political warfare as an integral part of its foreign policy.

The proposal embodied in the attached paper does not appear to us to meet this need, and we feel that the arrangements which it envisages might easily operate to cause embarrassment to this Government.

It is our view that these things, if they are to be done at all, must be done under the intimate direction and control of this Department. If this cannot be arranged (and I understand the difficulties which stand in the way), I think it would be better to withdraw this paper entirely and to give up at this time the idea of attempting to conduct political warfare.

This is a heavy decision to take, because our policy in Europe, in particular, will remain severely hampered in application unless it is supplemented [Page 703] in this way. But two of the most important elements of our European policy: namely, the administration of the ERP, and the control of policy with respect to Germany, have already passed largely out of the hands of this Department; and rather than have a third major factor of European policy handled elsewhere in the Government, I think it would be better not to have it handled at all.

I therefore ask permission to inform Mr. Souers that the State Department wishes to withdraw this paper.2

I further recommend that this Department request the cancellation of NSC 4, which is not operating satisfactorily.

Should you not wish the enclosed paper to be withdrawn from the agenda of the NSC, I would appreciate it if you would let me know whether there are any modifications of it you would wish to have made before it comes before the Council for final approval.

George F. Kennan
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Policy Planning Staff Files 1947–53: Lot 64 D 563, Box 719, Pol & Psych Warfare. Top Secret. The source text contains the handwritten annotation, “Contents presented orally 6/8/48.”
  2. This memorandum has two attachments, Documents 284 and 285.
  3. There is no indication in the source text whether the recommendations were approved or disapproved.