55. Minutes of Meeting0


  • State Department: James F. Byrnes, Secretary of State
  • War Department: Robert P. Patterson, Secretary of War, Brigadier General George A. Brownell, Colonel Charles W. McCarthy
  • Navy Department: James V. Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, Major Mathias F. Correa


  • John Hickerson

[Here follows a brief discussion unrelated to intelligence.]

Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Patterson said that he felt it would be desirable to carry forward the discussions on the Central Intelligence Agency. He asked General Brownell to review the present status of the matter. General Brownell referred to the discussions which had been taking place in the Committee [Page 140] representing the three Departments.1 At this point, Mr. Byrnes sent word to Colonel McCormack to join the meeting and he did so. General Brownell said that the War Department favored a draft worked out in that Department based on an earlier draft prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Navy Department, he went on to say, is in substantial agreement with the War Department draft. The State Department is not in agreement with the War Department draft but has proposed an alternative draft which Secretary Brynes sent to the War and Navy Departments some days ago. The Committee representing the three Departments has discussed this matter at considerable length but is still not in agreement. General Brownell compared the two drafts briefly. He said that there is agreement on the part of all three Departments on two highly important points:

That there should be a Central Intelligence Agency.
That there should be an Intelligence Authority at the top controlling the work of the Agency, consisting of the Secretaries of State, War and Navy and perhaps others.

Beyond that, General Brownell went on to say, there are differences in opinion on organization.

There was a general discussion of the two plans. Colonel McCormack described briefly the proposed State Department plan and General Brownell reviewed the points of difference between the War Department plan and that of the State Department. There was an extended discussion between the three Secretaries as to whether the Director should be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the three Secretaries or whether he should be appointed by the Secretary of State with the approval of the Secretaries of War and the Navy. After an extensive discussion, there appeared to be agreement among the three Secretaries that the Director should not be appointed by the President but his appointment should be a matter of agreement between the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy.

The next question which was considered was whether the Director should be an official of the Department of State as proposed in the State Department plan or outside all three Departments as proposed in the War Department plan. This matter was discussed at some length, but no decision on the point was reached. There was also discussion of the Advisory Board as visualized in the two plans. Mr. Patterson stated that the War Department wishes to have the top official from G–2 personally [Page 141] sitting on the Advisory Board, whereas the State Department plan envisages that a representative of the head of G–2 will devote his full time to sitting on the Board. Mr. Forrestal expressed similar views on behalf of the Navy Department. Colonel McCormack set forth his view in favor of the advantages of the State Department proposal in this regard.

After considerable discussion, the three Secretaries agreed that it would be desirable for the Committee representing the three Departments to endeavor to resolve the differences between the three Departments over this whole question while Mr. Byrnes is out of town on his trip to Moscow. It was agreed that the three Secretaries would consider this matter further upon Mr. Byrnes’ return.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to intelligence.]

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Diplomatic Branch Reference File, Minutes of the Meetings of the Committee of Three, 1944–47. No classification marking. A copy ibid., Decimal File 1945–49, 101.61/12–1145, indicates that the minutes were classified Top Secret.
  2. The “Committee representing the three Departments” was appointed by the Secretaries at their meeting on November 14. See Document 45. The only records of this group’s meetings that have been found are those for November 19 and December 27. The latter is printed as Document 63. A record of the November 19 meeting is in National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Diplomatic Branch Reference File, Minutes of the Meetings of the Committee of Three, 1944–47.