Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945–1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment
393. Letter From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Research and Intelligence (Armstrong) to Director of Central Intelligence Hillenkoetter 0
Dear Admiral Hillenkoetter : In accordance with the statement I made in connection with consideration of NSC–50 at the last IAC meeting, July 22, I enclose four papers on aspects on NSC–50 which the Department believes should be implemented at the earliest feasible time. If you agree these papers could be placed on the IAC Agenda.
COORDINATION OF INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES
Problem: To Implement NSC 50 with Respect to they Coordination of Intelligence Activities.
- NSC 50 states that the responsibility of CIA with respect to the coordination of intelligence activities has not been fully discharged (para. 2a(1)). It also calls for ICAPS to be reconstituted as a staff responsible only to the DCI, with the task of developing plans for the coordination of intelligence activities; to perform the present task of the Office of Collection and Dissemination with respect to the coordination of collection requirements and requests, and the dissemination of intelligence (para. 6a(5)).
- ICAPS in the past has suffered from the somewhat ambiguous nature of assignment of officers to it; that is, whether they “represent” [Page 995] their agency in ICAPS activities, or are responsible only to the DCI. The Staff of the National Security Council serves as an example for an ICAPS staff under the direction of the DCI to study and plan for the coordination of intelligence activities. Officers should be assigned from an agency or service to the staff, not in a “representative” capacity, but rather to bring the knowledge and interest of the several agencies together in a joint effort.
- In a similar fashion, the Standing Committee can serve as a staff committee, with identical representation to IAC, acting in the same fashion as the Consultants do to the NSC.
- Coordination of the intelligence activities among the several agencies and under the leadership of the CIA has not been fully effective, particularly with respect to the coordination in the research effort, owing in part to the fact that CIA has not made itself a center of information on intelligence to which the other agencies can turn, has been passive rather than aggressive in liaison, i.e., has relied upon receiving liaison officers from the other agencies, and has not fully accepted its proper role of passing on requests for research service to the agency best equipped to handle it. CIA effort has gone too much to miscellaneous research and reporting which, in the words of the Dulles Committee, “by no stretch of the imagination” could be considered national intelligence.
- That ICAPS serve as a joint staff under the direction of, and responsible to, the DCI, be composed of members contributed by the several agencies on a fulltime basis, but not “representing” the agency, and be headed by a chief who will also be the Executive Secretary of the IAC.
- That matters of coordination be referred to ICAPS for study and recommendation by the DCI, or through the DCI by the IAC, but that ICAPS itself may submit to the DCI, or through the DCI to the IAC, recommendations which it considers appropriate for consideration.
- That the representation on the Standing Committee be the same as that of the IAC, and that the Standing Committee serve as a subordinate or staff committee to the IAC to consider on an interagency basis, problems referred to it by the IAC.
- That CIA fulfill its coordinating responsibility on research
programs primarily through the Estimates Division, whose primary
function should be such coordination, in accordance with the
- CIA will constitute itself the center of information on all U.S. foreign intelligence activities, including current research intelligence projects;
- CIA will have free access to the plans and programs of the several intelligence agencies, subject to overall departmental regulation;
- CIA will recognize that it should have active liaison responsibility to other agencies as well as receiving liaison from those agencies;
- CIA will effect coordination as much by positive action in stimulating appropriate intelligence effort as by negative action in preventing undesirable duplications;
- CIA will recognize that requests for intelligence other than national intelligence, as defined, shall be forwarded for action to the agencies in accordance with established allocations and existing programs;
- CIA will recognize that coordination also implies assistance to the agencies in meeting their responsibilities, including in some cases the temporary assignments of personnel to the agencies.
PRODUCTION OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Problem: To Implement NSC 50 with Respect to the Production of National Intelligence.
- NSC 50 calls for a small Estimates Division to draw upon and review the specialized intelligence production of the departmental agencies in order to prepare coordinated national intelligence estimates (para. 5a). It also calls upon the IAC to discuss and approve national intelligence estimates with provision for dissenting opinions (para. 2a). Finally, it calls for special provisions to be made for prompt coordinated national intelligence estimates in crisis situations (para. 4a(3)).
- The NSC action, as well as the Dulles Committee Report, reaffirms in definite terms the basis principles of the NSCID’s with respect to the production of national intelligence. National intelligence is by definition interdepartmental, and is distinguished by a substantive overlap between more than one field of departmental interests as allocated. It does not become national intelligence merely because it is of national interest, or because it is in response to a request by an interdepartmental body.
- The NSCID’s prescribe that national intelligence be composed to the maximum extent possible of departmental contributions of finished intelligence. This would require that CIA estimates, to a greater extent then is now the case, be discussed and planned at the earliest stage with appropriate collaborating departments, and, subject to the review responsibility of CIA, in the normal course be composed of texts contributed [Page 997] by the agencies. This would properly result in the discontinuance of duplicative research and report writing by CIA, with presumably economy of staff allocated to this function.
- The effectiveness of participation by IAC in the production of national estimates will depend heavily upon the selection of matters appropriate for consideration. Presumably the authority of the IAC in such participation can be delegated to subordinate groups. Nevertheless, the IAC must stand ready to consult and pass on any questions of substance on which there is not general agreement, or on which any member requests consideration.
- The special procedures required in crisis situations will need to be worked out in some detail for subsequent consideration by the IAC. In any event, these procedures should be based upon the same considerations of departmental responsibility and consultation at all stages as apply to all national intelligence estimates.
- That IAC agree with respect to the
production of national intelligence estimates:
- That national intelligence applies only to intelligence which is interdepartmental in substance;
- That national intelligence should be developed with a maximum use of departmental facilities and minimum duplication of departmental intelligence activities;
- That except in crisis situations no step be taken in the preparation of national estimates before consultation with appropriate agencies.
- That the IAC discuss and approve all national intelligence estimates on which there is substantial disagreement among the agencies or upon the request of a member.
- That ICAPS review and make recommendations for any revision of procedures for the production of coordinated national estimates in crisis situations, such procedures to be, as far as possible, in accordance with the principles outlined in existing NSCID’s, NSC 50, and Recommendation 1 above.
RESEARCH AND REPORTS
Problem: To Implement NSC 50 with Respect to the Responsibility for Research and Reports.
1. The NSC 50 states that in CIA there has been a confusion between national intelligence and miscellaneous research and reporting, and that while NSCID’s on this subject are sound, they have not been effectively carried out (para. 5a). It also states that out of the present ORE there should be created (a) a small Estimates Division which would draw upon and review the specialized intelligence product of the interdepartmental agencies in order to prepare coordinated national intelligence estimates, and (b) a Research and Reports Division to accomplish research in and coordinate production of intelligence in recognized fields of common interest.
- That, aside from national intelligence, CIA will produce intelligence reports only in fields of common concern, as prescribed by the DCI on the advice of the IAC.
- That, on a priority basis, ICAPS prepare for consideration in IAC recommendations on the delineations of fields of common concern.
Problem: To Implement NSC 50 with Respect to Political Summaries.
- NSC 50 states that consideration should be given to a proper allocation of responsibility for political summaries (para. 4a (4)).
- The preparation of political summaries, daily and weekly, presents a difficult problem involving the dissemination of information which is in part intelligence and in part operational. It also involves the [Page 999] responsibilities of each agency to distribute information which pertains to its responsibilities or stems from its sources.
1. That ICAPS study and prepare recommendations for consideration by the IAC on the proper allocation of responsibilities for political summaries, both daily and weekly.
- Source: Central Intelligence Agency Records, Job 86-B00269R, Box 5. Secret. The enclosures were often referred to as the “Four Papers” or the “Four Problems.” On August 5 Hillenkoetter sent them to the members of the IAC with a covering memorandum that noted that Armstrong had decided to drop a fifth problem designated as “Guidance to CIA.” (Memorandum from Hillenkoetter August 5; ibid.) See the Supplement.↩
- Printed from a copy that indicates Armstrong signed the original.↩