399. Memorandum From the Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence (Machle) to Director of Central Intelligence Hillenkoetter0


  • Inability of OSI to Accomplish Its Mission

1. Both the Dulles and Eberstadt Committees expressed particular concern with respect to the inadequacies of scientific and technical intelligence and stressed the likelihood of their over-riding importance. As stated by the Eberstadt Committee:1

“Failure properly to appraise the extent of scientific development in enemy countries may have more immediate and catastrophic consequences than failure in any other field of intelligence.”

2. Little has been accomplished toward correcting these inadequacies. They are high lighted by the almost total failure of conventional intelligence in estimating Soviet development of an atomic bomb. Important current inadequacies are summarized below and are discussed in more detail in Enclosure I:2

a. Atomic Warfare (Tab I-A)

The USSR completed an atomic bomb in half the estimated time required.
The rate of Soviet production of atomic bombs must be determined accurately. On the basis of present knowledge this is impossible. Therefore, estimates of potential bomb stockpiles have been attempted on the basis of estimates of total uranium ore available to the USSR. The probability of error in estimates of domestic USSR supply of uranium ore is large because they are predicated almost entirely on geologic reasoning. Similar reasoning has been proved to be in error by a factor of five in the case of estimates of Satellite uranium mining operations.

b. Biological Warfare (Tab I-B)

The only defense against BW is timely and accurate intelligence on:

Specific agents to be employed.
The means for dissemination.
Location and capacity of research and production installations.

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With respect to these considerations, nothing is known about the BW agents under investigation in the USSR; only allusions as to means of dissemination can be cited; and there is no positive information on research and production installations.

c. Chemical Warfare (Tab I-C)

Almost no information is available on Soviet development of new CW agents, particularly nerve gases; nor is reliable information available with respect to CW preparations in general. Crude estimates are based almost entirely upon German intelligence from World War II.

d. Electronics (Tab I-D)

Electronic systems, which include radar and communication equipment, are the means of integrating operations of modern military organizations. Our knowledge of Soviet developments in communications, navigation, interception, fire control, and other electronic systems is extremely limited or non-existent. Most estimates are based upon extrapolations of knowledge of equipment obtained by the USSR through Lend-Lease or capture from the Germans.

e. Aircraft (Tab I-E)

In general, knowledge of Soviet aircraft development is limited to information available with respect to their exploitation of German equipment. The one exception is the limited intelligence obtainable from observation of new aircraft displayed at the May Day and Air Force shows. In particular, information is lacking on night fighter aircraft, rocket-propelled intercepters, long-range heavy bombers, supersonic research aircraft, and jet and rocket engines.

f. Guided Missiles (Tab I-F)

Very limited information indicates that the Soviets are continuing the German developments in guided missiles. However, there is no information as to the extent of the effort or the progress being made.

g. Medical Intelligence

Medical Intelligence is vital in operations involving AM, BW, CW, RW and, in fact, in any preparations for military operations. The Eber-stadt Committee stated that “medical intelligence is virtually non-exist-ent.” There has been no significant improvement since this statement was made.

h. Basic Scientific Research

In addition to the specific inadequacies of intelligence outlined in the preceding paragraphs, there is a vast area of ignorance of basic scientific research in USSR and Satellite countries. Knowledge of scientific progress is essential to foresee the development of new weapons.

3. The inadequacies in present national scientific intelligence exist because of conditions both inside and outside CIA.

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Conditions Outside CIA

4. The conditions outside CIA which are preventing OSI from accomplishing its mission are:

Refusal of the Departments to recognize CIA as the central coordinating agency in the national intelligence structure. This refusal is evidenced by active non-cooperation which is summarized and documented in Enclosure II.
Lack of authority to effect coordination of intelligence activities through emasculation of the authority of the National Security Act by the NSCID’s. This subject is covered admirably in the memorandum from General Counsel to Executive, subject: “Legal Responsibilities of the Central Intelligence Agency,” dated 27 September 1949.3
Domination of CIA by the departmental intelligence agencies through the mechanism of the IAC.

5. These conditions can be corrected only if the Departments are forced to recognize the intent of the National Security Act and the authority granted CIA thereunder. This can be accomplished only through clear-cut implementation of the National Security Act. Therefore, it is recommended that the National Security Council be requested to:

Reinstate the authority granted the Director of Central Intelligence in the directive approved by the National Intelligence Authority at its 9th meeting on 12 February 1947.4 This directive provided that the Director of Central Intelligence “shall operate … as an agent of the Secretaries of State, War and the Navy … so that his decisions, orders and directives shall be considered as emanating from them.…”
Readopt the definition of “strategic and national policy intelligence” approved by the National Intelligence Authority at its 9th meeting, but amended to include “scientific” intelligence. (See Tab D, Enclosure III.)
Revise the NSCID’s in conformity with the foregoing which should include the elimination of IAC as the “Board of Directors” of CIA.

Attached hereto as Enclosure III is a suggested memorandum to the National Security Council incorporating the above recommendations.

Conditions Inside CIA

6. The underlying condition within CIA which is preventing OSI from accomplishing its mission is the failure of the collecting offices to [Page 1015] recognize that they exist only to provide services for the producing offices and agencies. As a result, collection, dissemination and library functions have become ends unto themselves. This is evidenced by the statement of the AD/OSO that:

“[OSO]5 must weigh the demands of all customers and determine priorities for all operations in the field.” (See Tab N, Enclosure IV.)

7. Because of this situation, OSO has failed completely to discharge its responsibility for covert collection of scientific and technical intelligence. The effect of this failure on specific fields of scientific intelligence is illustrated by references to OSO in Tabs A, B, G and N of Enclosure I. A compilation of specific cases and an analysis of organizational and operational deficiencies of OSO are contained in Enclosure IV. These deficiencies may be summarized as follows:

There is no effective planning of scientific and technical intelligence operations in OSO nor any mechanism for relating such planning to the needs for national scientific intelligence.
The position of the scientific staff of OSO as a purely advisory group makes impossible effective implementation of plans for scientific and technical intelligence operations.
A fallacious concept of operational security dangerously limits the dissemination of useful intelligence to OSI and prohibits technical guidance of operations by informed and competent analysts.

8. In order to provide the positive covert support required by OSI from OSO, it is recommended that:

OSO be directed to collect scientific and technical information in conformity with the importance of that information to the national security and to conduct its operations in accordance with integrated priorities determined jointly by OSI and ORN.
In order to provide day to day guidance by OSI in the collection of scientific and technical information, controlled direct liaison be established between OSI and the Foreign Branches of OSO.
The qualified staff members and the functions of TGS/OSO be transferred to OSI, in so far as these functions relate to planning and coordinating technical and scientific operations, processing requirements for technical and scientific intelligence information, procuring technical advice for OSO, and editing scientific and technical intelligence for dissemination outside CIA.
OSO be directed to obtain approval by AD/OSI, or his specifically designated representative, of the technical and scientific objectives of any covert operation prior to its initiation.

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9. With respect to OO and OCD, it is recommended that the policies and functions of these offices be reviewed in order that their operations may reflect more adequately the guidance of the producing offices and agencies.

Willard Machle 6
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Records, Job 84-T00286R, Box 5, Folder 1. Top Secret.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid.)
  3. None of the enclosures is printed.
  4. Not found.
  5. See Document 185. The language quoted was not embodied in an NIA Directive as such but was an “authority” or “delegation” approved by the NIA at the meeting and formally entered in the minutes. The NIA rescinded the authority at its 10th meeting on June 26, 1947; see Document 319.
  6. Brackets in the source text.
  7. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.