347. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Intelligence Survey Group (Blum) to the Intelligence Advisory Committee0
Washington, June 10, 1948.
- The IAC created by NSC Intelligence Directive No. 1 is a successor to the former Intelligence Advisory Board which existed during the life of the Central Intelligence Group under the National Intelligence Authority. Some of the present difficulties concerning the IAC can best be understood by reference to its development out of the former IAB.
- The IAB was created by the Presidential letter of 22 January 1946 which set up the Central Intelligence Group. This letter was implemented by NIA Directive No. 1 of 8 February 1946 which provided that CIG “shall be considered, organized and operated as a cooperative interdepartmental activity”. The NIA directive also established the composition of the IAB and provided that “all recommendations, prior to submission to this Authority (i.e. NIA) will be referred to the Board for concurrence or comment”. The general effect of this situation was to give the IAB a position coordinate with that of the Director of the CIG, stemming from the same authority that controlled CIG.
- The National Security Act which created CIA made no reference to an Intelligence Advisory Committee, although it included, among its general provisions, an authorization to the Director of Central Intelligence (as well as to other officials created by the Act) to appoint such advisory committees as he deems necessary. When, last fall, discussions began as to the setting up of an advisory committee to work with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency created by the Act, two divergent points of view were brought out in sharp opposition to each other. On the one hand, the Director of Central Intelligence held that a new IAC should simply be created by him by virtue of the general authority granted him under the Act, and that this Committee would be turned to by him for advice. The departmental agencies, on the other hand, held that a new IAC should act in a sense as a board of the directors to the Director of CI. They refused to accept membership on an advisory committee simply set up by him and agreed to serve only on a Committee created by the National Security Council. The Department of the Army was particularly adamant during this controversy.
- Finally, after several months of discussion, the present IAC was created by NSC Intelligence Directive No. 1, of 12 December 1947. In the [Page 854] words of the Directive, in order “to maintain the relationship essential to coordination between the CIA and the intelligence organizations, an Intelligence Advisory Committee … shall be established to advise the Director of Central Intelligence”. Under the Directive, the Director of Central Intelligence is required to obtain the views of the IAC before making any recommendations to the National Security Council pertaining to the intelligence activities of the various departments and agencies. In the event of non-concurrence by one of the Members of IAC, the problem is to be referred to the National Security Council for decision. The Members of the IAC, sitting under the Chairmanship of the Director of Central Intelligence, consist of the respective intelligence Chiefs from the Departments of State, Army, Navy and Air Force, the Joint Staff, and Atomic Energy Commission.
- It is not clear, even to the people in CIA, whether the IAC has held one or two meetings since its creation; in any case, no more. The one meeting which is clearly established was called on the initiative of the Executive Secretary, NSC, to discuss a specific question pursuant to the wishes of the NSC. (This question was that of how to protect the intelligence agencies from being required to disclose confidential information to Congressional Committees.) The IAC has never met to consider actual foreign intelligence situations and intelligence estimates, although Admiral Hillenkoetter seems to be somewhat confused on this point and has made statements to the contrary. However, the IAC has cleared and submitted to the NSC eight National Security Council Directives, which have been approved by the Council.
- In practice, IAC action has been carried out through the routing of papers for concurrence and by the delegation of responsibility for the preparation of intelligence directives and other interdepartmental intelligence papers to a Standing Committee comprising representatives of each of the IAC agencies, usually from the planning staffs. This Standing Committee has just recently considered the advisability of further delegating its responsibilities to a subcommittee under it.
- The fact is that the IAC machinery has not been effective in promoting interdepartmental coordination, and there seems now to be a feeling, at least in CIA, that it is preferable to avoid meetings which usually give rise to formal statements of position by the various representatives and, instead, to use informal channels for obtaining approval of necessary papers.
- One fact contributing to the failure of the IAC has been the co-existence of similar bodies, comprising somewhat the same membership, with important responsibilities in the intelligence field. The membership of the U.S. Communications Intelligence Board is almost the same as that of the IAC, and the four Members of the Joint Intelligence Committee are, at the same time, four of the seven Members of the IAC.
- The basic weakness reaches back to the unwillingness of the IAC Members to give their full cooperation if they are to be purely advisory and the absence of strong CIA leadership which would be necessary to overcome this unwillingness and make IAC effective.
Robert Blum 1