53. Memorandum From the Chief of Naval Intelligence (Inglis) to the Chief of Naval Operations (King)0

There is set out below a summary of the developments in connection with the proposed Central Intelligence Agency.
In a letter dated 20 September, the President directed Secretary Byrnes to take the lead in developing a comprehensive and coordinated intelligence program through the creation of an interdepartmental group headed up under the State Department to formulate plans for his approval. This task was delegated by Secretary Byrnes to Mr. McCormack, formerly a Colonel in G–2, War Department.
Up to 18 October the Navy had not been consulted by the State Department and became apprehensive that our interests might not be considered if Mr. McCormack proceeded unilaterally to develop the plan. Secretary Forrestal arranged a meeting on that date between me and Mr. Russell, Asst. SecState, the results of which I reported to you and SecNav.1 Thereafter the Navy continued to press State for action.
At a meeting of the Secretaries of State, War and Navy held 14 November,2 Secretary Forrestal brought up the subject of the proposed [Page 136] Central Intelligence Agency. Secretary Patterson also presented a report prepared by a special board he had appointed in which a Central Intelligence Agency was recommended. Mr. Byrnes stated that he thought all were in favor of a Central Agency and proposed the appointment of a working committee.
The following committee was appointed: Rear Admiral Souers and Major Correa representing SecNav; Mr. Lovett and Brigadier General Brownell representing SecWar; and Mr. Russell and Mr. McCormack representing SecState.
The committee immediately became deadlocked.3 The representatives of the Navy and Army were in agreement that the plan recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff was sound and should be adopted in principle. Mr. McCormack, as spokesman of the State Department, was strongly opposed and maintained that while there should be coordinating committees the State Department should control the Agency. He insisted also that all intelligence estimates should be prepared by the State Department on the theory that SecState was responsible for national policy.
It is understood the President has been pressing Secretary Byrnes to submit his plan. To bring the matter to a conclusion, the President asked the three Secretaries to meet with him Thursday, 29 November, to discuss the subject.
At the regular meeting of the three Secretaries, held Tuesday, 27 November,4 at which they planned to unite on a program to submit to the President, Mr. Byrnes explained that he had not had time to resolve the differences of opinion within the State Department with respect to the several plans under consideration and could not discuss the matter for the present. He stated also that he would have to ask the President to give him a little more time. The meeting with the President was not held on Thursday, 29 November. I have no information as to when it will be held.
Secretary Forrestal is familiar with the Joint Chiefs of Staff plan which he is strongly advocating.

Very respectfully,

Thos. B. Inglis 5

Rear Admiral, USN
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Historical Files, HS/HC–135. Top Secret.
  2. No record of the meeting between Inglis and Russell has been found.
  3. See Document 45.
  4. See Document 47.
  5. See footnote 4, Document 50.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.