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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950–1955, The Intelligence Community, 1950–1955

Douglas Keane
Michael Warner
General Editor:
Edward C. Keefer

United States Government Printing Office

Department of State
Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs


This volume is organized along chronological lines in one large chapter covering 1950–1955, and a second chapter that includes the key National Security Council Intelligence Directives of the period. The volume documents the institutional growth of the intelligence community during the first half of the 1950s. When Lt. General Walter Bedell Smith took over as Director of Central Intelligence in October 1950, he inherited an agency that was widely believed to have been unable to establish itself as the central institution of the U.S. intelligence community. Utilizing his great prestige, and a national security directive from President Truman, Smith established the multiple directorate structure within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that has continued to this day, brought the clandestine service into the CIA, and worked to effect greater inter-agency coordination through a strengthened process to produce National Intelligence Estimates. The exponential growth of the national security establishment and of the intelligence community was due to the impact of two factors: NSC 68 (a clarion call for more active containment of the Soviet Union) and the Korean War. The Central Intelligence Agency was called upon to expand the clandestine service, and the intelligence community was required to provide better and more definitive intelligence on the Soviet bloc and China. When Allen Dulles took over as Director of Central Intelligence in February 1953, these pressures continued. By 1955, the general consensus of two commissions appointed by President Eisenhower to review the intelligence effort was that the clandestine service had grown too rapidly and was plagued by poor management. In general, the commission implied that the clandestine service’s growth had come at the expense of the agency’s intelligence analysts.