331. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Research and Intelligence (Armstrong) to Acting Secretary of State Lovett0

The attached memorandum from the Director of Central Intelligence, dated November 10, 1947, on the subject of new NSC Intelligence Directives, drafts of which were enclosed,1 has been given careful study in the light of the changes required by the enactment of the National Security Act and the passage of time. Our analysis of the proposed new Directives leads us to the tentative conclusions that (a) in a number of important respects they fail to include certain basic principles, embraced in the NIA Directives, which are of continuing validity, and (b) in other respects they are at variance with certain of those principles and with the intent of the National Security Act.

Since the establishment of the Central Intelligence Group under authority contained in the President’s letter of January 22, 1946, there has been continued effort to establish a practical system by which the Director of Central Intelligence can meet his responsibilities toward over-all coordination of the intelligence activities of the several intelligence agencies of the Government, and, at the same time, those agencies can fulfill their departmental and interdepartmental responsibilities. As a result of this effort the NIA Directives, including the proposed Directive advanced in IAB 1/2, were progressively evolved. Although those Directives are not considered perfect or complete, I believe that, with certain modifications, they could be used as a satisfactory basis from which to proceed toward accomplishing the desired coordination. I further believe that the omissions from the proposed new NSC Directives, coupled with the parts at variance with the old Directives, not only nullify much of the progress already made toward the solution of the problem, but raise the issue of establishing complete control of all intelligence activity of the Government in a single authority under the NSC. I believe that it was not the intent of the Congress, as expressed in the National Security Act, to establish a single head for all Federal intelligence agencies.

In addition to the proposed new Directives going, in my opinion, beyond the intent of the Congress, I submit further that to establish a [Page 809] single head for all Governmental intelligence agencies would not be a desirable method for coordinating the intelligence activities of the Government, so long as departmental intelligence activities are to continue, because (a) it would necessarily impede the direct and immediate response of departmental intelligence organizations to the operational requirements of their department heads; (b) it would place the chiefs of departmental intelligence organizations in the impractical situation of facing two lines of authority, and (c) it identifies the principle of coordination with command and control functions rather than with those functions of initiative, clarification, and cooperative action among equals which form the true meaning of the term.

I cannot, therefore, concur in the proposed NSC Directives presented with the memorandum from the Director of Central Intelligence. Specific objections, which call attention to the omissions and variations between the principles contained in the NIA Directives (including the proposed Directive contained in IAB 1/2), and the proposed NSC Directives, are set forth in the attached Tab A.

In lieu of the proposed NSC Directives forwarded with the memorandum of November 10, 1947, we submit herewith, as Tab B through H, recommended draft proposals for NSC Directives to establish policies for the coordination of Governmental intelligence activities and the production of national intelligence.

W. Park Armstrong, Jr. 2
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Records of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research: Lot 58 D 776, Drafts of NSC Directives to Replace NIA Directives. Top Secret.
  2. All attachments are in the Supplement except the draft directives submitted with Hillenkoetter’s memorandum, which were not found.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.