130. Memorandum From Robert P. Joyce of the Policy Planning Staff to the Director of the Bureau of German Affairs (Riddleberger)1


  • Liaison Relationships between OPC of CIA and the Department of State2

As you are aware, under NSC Directives the Department of State has certain responsibilities for providing political guidance to the organization within the CIA which engages in certain activities which might be generally referred to as within the field of political warfare. Primary responsibility for providing this counsel, advice, guidance and control is vested in Mr. H. Freeman Matthews, and I have responsibility as his subordinate for the day to day operation of this function. In the performance of these duties, members of this office and I on occasion consult with you when important policy matters are under consideration. The ordinary relationship is, however, with the various Deputy Assistant Secretaries and the office Directors and their [Page 339] Deputies. On occasion, when a particular situation in a particular country demands and is receiving close attention by the CIA, officers in charge are brought in.

My colleagues (Kenneth C. Krentz, Lampton Berry, William McFadden) and I arrange personal meetings where the appropriate official of the CIA is able to consult directly with the appropriate official of the Department of State. I have found it desirable to attend these meetings or to see to it that one of my colleagues is present. On occasion, when the CIA is engaging in important operations in a particular country in a rapidly developing situation, my office has authorized a continuing and sometimes daily direct relationship between the CIA official concerned and the appropriate officer of the Department. In all these contacts, however, my office is kept advised as to the nature of the business and the decisions, if any, which were taken. This liaison control has proved to be necessary in order that I may be in a position to be continuously aware of the political advice being supplied to OPC of CIA and in order that matters of importance may be brought to the attention of Mr. Matthews for final decision.

OPC of CIA has expanded very rapidly indeed during the past four years. From a small group of about [number not declassified] persons in 1948, I believe the organization now has on its rolls some [number not declassified] persons. The activities of this section of CIA have expanded enormously in scope and magnitude on a world wide basis. This situation has meant (up until recently, for reasons which need not be gone into here) that requests for political guidance and consequently the need for increasing direct contact between CIA officials and officers of the Department of State has greatly increased. The job of channelizing and controlling these contacts has been difficult but, in my opinion, necessary both in the interests of security and efficiency in seeing to it that OPC obtains the most carefully considered advice from the most competent and responsible officers in the Department.

A great number of officers of OPC of CIA are on terms of personal friendship with many political officers of this Department, and there has been a continuing tendency for informal contacts between such persons on both sides of the house. It is very difficult, and sometimes undesirable, to endeavor to control too stringently these relationships which are occasionally fruitful. On the other hand, these personal relationships sometimes work against important security considerations, and on occasion the CIA man talks operations with his Department of State friend who may talk policy. There have been occasions when contacts of this nature result in the CIA man considering that he has obtained a policy view or even on occasion a green light from his Departmental contact. In addition to these informal contacts, there is a constant disposition on the part of some CIA officials to deal directly [Page 340] with his “opposite number” in the Department of State at times without clearance within the CIA or with my office. I believe it will be understood that although certain “opposite number” contacts are on occasion desirable, they should nevertheless be controlled. There have been instances in the past when CIA officials have considered and reported that they have received policy decisions or “no objection” responses from certain Departmental officers following direct and uncoordinated contacts.

This situation has been discussed on many occasions with Mr. Frank Wisner, who has had his own difficulties within the CIA in controlling and channeling relationships between OPC and the Department of State. Recently Ambassador Lewis Clark, who is presently with the CIA, has been placed in control of liaison between OPC of CIA and this Department. He is preparing an inventory of all contacts between OPC officials and political officers of this Department. He is discovering that there have developed relationships such as described in the preceding paragraph and that these contacts sometimes caused confusion and duplication. Mr. Clark is tightening up this liaison relationship within OPC, and his office will be the clearing house for all meetings between OPC officers and the political officers of the Department of State. He has requested, and I have agreed, that a renewed endeavor be made within this Department to insure that all meetings involving policy guidance shall be arranged for or passed upon by my office.

The purpose of this memorandum is to request that you bring this matter to the attention of your Deputy and your office Directors. It might be suggested to them that they should have no further direct dealings with CIA officials on policy matters without clearance with my office. Only in exceptional cases, should contact be below the Deputy office director level. Exceptions should be cleared by my office and the office director concerned. I am sure that you will understand that there is no desire on my part to interpose myself or to choke off useful and desirable contacts between officials of the CIA and appropriate political officers of the Department. I believe that you will agree that this degree of control is necessary in order to 1) prevent misunderstandings of the Department’s position from developing within the CIA; 2) insure that political advice and guidance proffered by one Departmental official is coordinated with other areas of the Department; 3) maintain a necessary degree of security with regard to the operations of the CIA and the relationship between OPC and the Department of State under NSC Directives, and 4) insure that all substantive and important policy guidance decisions are placed before Deputy Under Secretary Matthews.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–54, 103.11/10–1052. Top Secret; Security Information. Copies were sent to EURPerkins, FEAllison, NEA–Byroade, and ARA–Miller. Riddleberger’s handwritten note on the first page reads: “Discussed with Joyce. No answer required. JWR, 10/16/52.”
  2. On August 1, OPC merged with the CIA’s Office of Special Operations to form the Directorate of Plans, under Deputy Director for Plans Frank G. Wisner. The acronym OPC was not used in CIA after that date.