102. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Meeting with USAF Representatives Regarding USAF Photo Reconnaissance Requirements
[name not declassified] and 1st Lt. C. W. Matt 2 attended a meeting with representatives of USAF to discuss and explore the requirement for a pre-D-Day reconnaissance of the USSR. Air Force representatives included officers from Requirements, Plans, Operations, Intelligence, Development and the AF State Department representative. Brig. Gen. Garland was the senior officer present.
In opening the discussions, the Chairman stated that it was necessary to develop a firm requirement in order to sell State Department in the need for relaxing the diplomatic side enough to permit violations of sovereignty. It will be necessary to impress on State the degree to which our offensive will rely on pre-D-Day reconnaissance in order to carry out our post-D-Day strikes. Secondly, Air Force must point out the large vacuum existing in intelligence regarding the USSR. The Chairman stated that SAC had been asked to participate in developing a requirement. SAC, however, declined, stating that in their view the requirement should be based on the need for intelligence. SAC did not want to raise the implication that their offensive would be delayed by waiting for reconnaissance!!!
The representative from Development outlined what was on hand or would be available in the future. He stated that it was necessary to obtain guidance on which item or items to push. In other words, where will they put their money? He discussed balloons, drones, a recon version of the Snark3 and piloted aircraft. The recon Snark should be available in 1954 and will have speed of Mach .95 and altitude of 52,000. Drones can now be controlled up to 50 miles and this can probably be raised to 200 miles. Gopher balloons will be available in the fall of 1952.
Requirements representative stated that recon was needed on (1) new industrial complexes and air facilities for which there is no [Page 240] intelligence or for which we need new intelligence, (2) area from Urals to FE on which there is no photo coverage and (3) general recon to uncover new targets developed since WW II. It was also pointed out that warning requirement was also of prime importance.
Air Force State representative reported that State had formerly taken a dim view of violations such as photo recon would involve. However, he believed that now that international affairs had gotten to present condition, State might not take as serious objections as before. They might agree that the planes, etc., might get shot down the indicent would not start a war. [sic] He stated balloons might cause misgivings in State because of their lack of directional control and possible aimless wanderings. Representative seemed to think State might go along with Snark, drones, etc., if requirement strongly presented.
CIA representative was asked how CIA might contribute. It was pointed out that only a very limited capability existed at present. A CIA capability might be developed but will require a large amount of support from Air Force. At best, and for some time in the future, CIA capability will be largely peripheral.
It was decided that Intelligence Section of USAF would develop the draft requirement from the intelligence viewpoint. Other sections would assist as required. Presumably, CIA will be specifically asked for any future information if Air Force so desires.
[name not declassified]4
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, History Staff, Job 83–00036R, Box 11. Secret; Security Information. Drafted by [name not declassified], Air Maritime Division, Office of Policy Coordination, Central Intelligence Agency.
  2. Both of CIA’s Air Maritime Division.
  3. Snark was a proposed Air Force strategic cruise missile.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.