385. Memorandum for the President of Discussion at the 43d Meeting of the National Security Council0

The following notes contain a summary of the discussion at the 43rd meeting of the National Security Council. Under Secretary Early attended the meeting in the absence of Secretary Johnson. The Attorney General, who had been invited to participate as a member for consideration of the first item, informed the Executive Secretary prior to the meeting that he fully approved NSC 50 and requested the Executive Secretary to state his action at the meeting, since he would not be able to attend.

1. The Central Intelligence Agency and National Organization for Intelligence (NSC 50)1

Secretary Acheson explained the background of the report and praised the able staff work which it represented.

Mr. Souers reported that the Attorney General wished to have his approval of the paper recorded in the minutes.

In response to Secretary Acheson’s request for any queries, Admiral Hillenkoetter stated that there was a dilemma in the recommendation for [Page 985] a separate administration for an operations division, as recommended in paragraph 6 a (1). He remarked that both the Bureau of the Budget and the Congress last year had questioned duplication in the administration of the Central Intelligence Agency. Consequently, last December CIA had changed to a single administration for both operational and administrative affairs. Separate administration for secret operations had not worked well, and he added that OSS had combined them towards the end of its activities. By changing to a single administration, CIA had saved [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] jobs or [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and had stopped considerable fighting for space and personnel.

General McNarney said that, due to the special nature of the operations concerned and the bad effects of any publicity, he felt the Council should approve the recommendation and that the Director should not attempt to explain this in detail to the Congress, but should state that a separate administration was ordered by the NSC in the interests of the security of the special operations. Both the original survey group and the staff team which had prepared the present paper had agreed that this would be the proper course of action.

Secretary Acheson said he did not know enough of the merits of the issue to have a strong view one way or the other, and suggested that the point be deferred for further study.

Mr. Souers inquired if it might not be possible to steer an in-between course, using only certain people within a single administration to handle the special operations.

Secretary Gray remarked that the present language would be too inflexible to permit such a course.

Admiral Hillenkoetter asked for guidance from the Council as to the proper proportion of military personnel in CIA, in the light of the recommendations in paragraphs 9 and 10.

Mr. Souers pointed out that, if the Council approved the paper, it would then be in order for the Director to work out this matter in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Defense. General McNarney agreed and added that a ratio could not be fixed since the proportion of military and other personnel would depend on circumstances.

Secretary Acheson also agreed with Mr. Souer’s interpretation.

The National Security Council:2

Approved the recommendations by the Secretaries of State and Defense in NSC 50, subject to further study and recommendation to the [Page 986] Council by representatives of the Secretaries of State and Defense as to the desirability of a separate administration for the operations division proposed in paragraph 6 a (1) thereof.

Note: The President subsequently informed of the Council’s action on paragraph 10; the Attorney General invited to have the Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation assume membership on the Intelligence Advisory Committee, pursuant to paragraph 3;3 NSCID No. 1, as amended, issued in revised form as of July 7, 1949;4 and the other approved actions transmitted either to the Director of Central Intelligence, or to the Director of Central Intelligence and the Intelligence Advisory Committee, as appropriate.

[Here follows discussion of agenda items 2–4, future course of U.S. action with respect to Austria, possible U.S. courses of action in the event the Soviet Union reimposes the Berlin blockade, and NSC status of projects.]

  1. Source: Truman Library, Papers of Harry S. Truman, President’s Secretary’s Files, Subject Files. Top Secret. Prepared on July 8. According to the minutes of the meeting, the following members were present: Acheson; Edward H. Foley, Jr., Under Secretary of the Treasury; Stephen Early, Under Secretary of Defense; Gordon Gray, Secretary of the Army; Francis P. Matthews, Secretary of the Navy; W. Stuart Symington, Secretary of the Air Force; and John R. Steelman, Acting Chairman of the National Security Resources Board. Also present were Hillenkoetter, Carlisle Humelsine of the Department of State, and General Joseph T. McNarney and John H. Ohly, both of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Three members of the NSC Secretariat attended: Souers, Lay, and Hugh D. Farley. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, NSC Minutes, 43rd Meeting)
  2. Document 384.
  3. The following paragraph and note constitute NSC Action No. 231. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, Record of Actions, Box 55)
  4. Documents 387 and 388.
  5. Document 432.