145. Memorandum From Robert P. Joyce of the Policy Planning Staff to the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Matthews)1

There is forwarded to you herewith two memoranda, both dated yesterday, on the general subject of the secret intelligence activities and the covert operations abroad of the CIA. The first memorandum, signed by me, is designed to provide background material and to set in the proper framework the second memorandum, which is signed by Outerbridge Horsey and prepared by all of us in this Office (Horsey, Berry, Strong, McFadden and myself).2

[Page 400]

The basic purpose of these memoranda is to raise fundamental problems with regard to the CIA operation abroad and the guidance and control of these activities to insure that they shall be closely geared in with our overall strategy and political objectives. The memorandum signed by Horsey has been shown to Messrs. Armstrong and Howe, who have indicated to us that they are in general agreement with the analysis plus the conclusions and recommendations which flow therefrom. Armstrong’s office, of course, has a large interest in the subject of the relations between this Department and the CIA, and I am sure you will want to bring Armstrong and Howe into any discussions based on this material.

The memorandum signed by me I have drafted in a manner and with the idea in mind that it might be read and discussed in due course by General Smith and Mr. Allen W. Dulles.3 I am sure you will have your own ideas as to the timing and manner in which this might be accomplished if you agree with me that it should be. It would also be my suggestion that these two memoranda, together with the material referred to in them, might very well be placed before the William H. Jackson Committee,4 which will study the psychological warfare effect of the government.

Robert P. Joyce

Annex 1

Memorandum From Robert P. Joyce of the Policy Planning Staff to the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Matthews)6


  • The Department of State and the CIA
[Page 401]

There is forwarded to you herewith a memorandum dated January 26, 19537 which has been prepared in this office by Messrs. Horsey, Berry, Strong, McFadden and myself. In this connection, I refer to my memorandum addressed to you on December 17, 1952 with particular reference to the so-called Kaji case in Tokyo as well as to my memorandum addressed to you on December 31, 1952 entitled “CIA Activities Directed Against Poland”.8 In the former memorandum I suggested that before my departure I should write a memorandum for you embodying certain conclusions I have reached as a result of four years close working relationship with OPC of CIA. The memorandum forwarded to you today endeavors to pose important problems which have recently arisen as a result of CIA covert activities in the field which have caused, are still causing, and will probably continue to cause serious embarrassment to the conduct of U.S. foreign relations. In the memorandum referred to in the previous sentence, my colleagues and I have endeavored to pose the basic questions with regard to Department of State and CIA relationships which we believe the new administration will desire to deal with in the immediate future as they relate to the presumed new policy of more “dynamism” with regard to the conduct of the cold war.

The kernel of the problem, as I see it, is that the operations abroad, in the field of secret intelligence as well as secret operations, have increasingly tended to be less and less geared into what I understand to be the present overall strategy of the United States in the management of its foreign relations. Perhaps a better way of stating it would be to say that CIA covert activities lack sufficient policy guidance and control, the inevitable result being that such activities, on occasion, are not in the national interest nor do they support our overall policy objectives. The memorandum of January 26, 1953 endeavors to meet this problem head on in the hope that CIA activities abroad may be restudied on the National Security Council level and perhaps a new look be taken by President Eisenhower himself.

I set forth below certain thoughts and conclusions I have arrived at which might be helpful in providing information of a background and historical nature relating to the organization, growth and present operations of the Central Intelligence Agency. These observations relate primarily to OPC of CIA.

[Page 402]

I. Political Background—1949 and 1950

In the autumn of 1949, OPC of CIA was a relatively small and compact unit within the framework of but somewhat independently situated in the CIA organization. It was busily preparing to set up mechanisms through which it could engage in so-called psychological and political warfare by covert means as defined in NSC 10/2.9 In September, 1949, the Russians produced their first atomic explosion several years ahead of what I understand to be the best calculated estimates. Soviet political warfare on a world-wide scale was constantly being stepped up to subvert, divide, weaken and eventually control large and important areas of the free world in which the U.S. had a vital stake. On June 25, 1950 the North Korean Communists, under Russian control, crossed one of the frontiers of the free world by military force. The Communist guerrilla attacks against the French and the Vietnamese were assuming the proportions of a major war; Soviet pressure against Iran was increasing; Communist guerrilla warfare in Malaya was being stepped up; the Chinese Communists were taking over Tibet; the Communists were succeeding in Guatemala, etc., etc. Tito’s Yugoslavia was under constant menace of a military attack by the Soviet satellites of Eastern Europe.

All of these facts produced within the United States Government and among the American people a sense of urgency to prepare for the possibility of additional Communist attacks against the free world which might lead to an all out military conflict, including an attack against the United States. We started our military build-up on a vast scale during the last part of 1950. During this period, both within the government as well as outside, there suddenly developed an intense interest in so-called psychological or political warfare. This caused considerable pressure to be exerted against OPC of CIA immediately to engage in psychological and political warfare activities by covert means. At the same time, exceedingly strong pressure was exerted upon OPC of CIA by the Defense Establishment to accomplish in the shortest possible time those responsibilities set forth in NSC 10/2 relating to preparing for resistance activities and guerrilla warfare behind the enemy lines in case of war. You will recall that during the last part of 1950 powerful elements within the Military Establishment considered that perhaps the Russians in 1954 or 1955 would attain a degree of military preparation and atomic capability which might lead the leaders in the Kremlin either to endeavor to obtain their objectives by the use of overt military force on a grand scale, or the Kremlin would exert the threat of force and subversion to obtain control of strategic portions of [Page 403] the non-Communist world. This would necessarily lead to such reactions upon our part that the danger of an all out conflict would indeed be very great. Underlying these considerations, was the over-riding fact that China was added to the Communist world and Chinese Communist military forces threatened Southeast Asia.

II. Expansion of OPC

The objective world situation late in 1950 and early in 1951 (or at least the subjective reaction thereto on the part of the Government and the people of the United States) and the pressures referred to above led to a vast expansion of OPC of CIA. The emphasis understandably given by the Military to prepare for war and the pressures to organize behind-the-lines resistance, led to constantly increasing emphasis within the OPC on preparations for a hot war. (In this connection, I refer to my memorandum of December 31, 1952 with regard to [less than 1 line not declassified] activities in Poland.) OPC tended to become more and more of a military and para-military planning agency. At the same time, OPC was endeavoring to meet the demands and pressures for increased activity in the field of covert political action. I believe that the end result of this situation was that OPC tried to do too much in too little time with inadequate personnel. I believe that Mr. Frank G. Wisner would agree with this estimate. I may say that qualified personnel in this country for OPC planning and operations is extraordinarily difficult to come by and difficult to train.

Some unhappy results of this haste inevitably followed:

[7 paragraphs (74 lines) not declassified]

III. Learning the Hard Way

For the reasons stated above, it is my conclusion that these failures of the CIA are not exclusively CIA failures, but are rather American failures attributable, to sum up, to the following factors:

The American characteristic of impatience and “wanting to get the job done”. The American belief that if enough money, personnel and effort are applied, everything is possible and can be accomplished either instanter or certainly within a year or two.
The CIA approach during the past three years has been far too heavily influenced by the thinking within and without the Government that we had very little time. It is my personal view that NSC 6810 gave expression to and reflected much of this thinking.
The role of covert operations in the conduct of foreign policy has been exaggerated. Quietly, securely, and expertly handled political [Page 404] and intelligence operations can undoubtedly make a valuable and, on rare occasions, a crucial contribution to the national security, but only if such activities are of a highly professional character. They can never “win the cold war”, but only make a modest but significant contribution.

The CIA, as General Smith himself has stated repeatedly, has tried to take on too much in too little time. CIA has obtained the services of a great number of highly talented, loyal and high caliber Americans. Many of them, however, have the characteristics mentioned in paragraph No. 1 above. In the medium levels of CIA there are many persons who consider the Department of State to be negative and timid. These persons over-estimate the role of special operations by clandestine methods and under-rate the difficulties and pitfalls in our dealings with both our allies and our opponents. The Congressional Record, issue of January 14, 1953, No. 6, page A–157, contains the following statement from a study of “psychological strategy” prepared by former Congressman O.K. Armstrong:

“High success in the performances of its [the CIA’s]11 important tasks, has been due in largest measure to the leadership and direction of Bedell Smith and Allen Dulles. Major handicap, according to a summary of interviews by key personnel is due to lack of coordination, or more accurately cooperation, by some echelons of the State Department in following recommendations made by CIA for the security of the nation.” (Italics supplied)

IV. Observations and Suggestions

[11 paragraphs (59 lines) not declassified]

V. Conclusions

The foregoing, I fear, may sound perhaps captiously critical and negative insofar as the CIA is concerned. I hope that it is not taken in this sense. There is a great deal of light in the picture.

My own feeling is that the CIA has made remarkable progress during the past five years in perhaps the most tricky, sensitive and delicate of all governmental operations demanding the highest degree of sophistication and experience. It takes many, many years to build up what we may term a covert apparatus. The Russians have had thirty-five years experience. We have had five. The only way to learn the intelligence business is to engage in it. The CIA has been actively engaging in this business under the enormous pressures referred to in previous sections of this memorandum. Glaring mistakes have been made, but solid accomplishments have already been achieved. It is my belief that the senior officials of the CIA are entirely aware of the deficiencies [Page 405] of the organization in its field activities, and remedial action is being taken to tighten up and increase security. The training and indoctrination process has been vastly improved and men who have shown no talent for the intelligence business have been released.

The CIA organization has made progress in recruiting, training and seasoning a group of highly talented men who are coming to consider American Intelligence their life career. Amateurism is giving place to an increasing degree of professionalism. It is being realized that an intelligence bull is misplaced in the world china shop of 1953 and that a cat and later a soft-treading leopard is a more suitable and effective animal. I believe that a greater degree of discipline has been established and that there is a real understanding growing up within the secret intelligence activities and special operations fields that intelligence is not a policy-creating function within the Government and can never be. Although there are still some officers within the CIA who have a feeling that intelligence operations abroad are an end in themselves and should be conducted independently of and without interference from policy-making and implementing American officials. I believe this must and will be corrected with time and a greater degree of discipline in government. The U.S. responsibility is such that amateurism, free-wheeling and heavy-handedness cannot be permitted in 1953. Our friends and allies must have confidence not only in the goodness of our intentions and objectives but also in our judgment, discretion and methods. Our dangerous adversaries turn our mistakes against us with telling effect, and this does not make for the confidence in our leadership which we must have to exercise it effectively in the crucial years to come.

One more observation: If we comport ourselves in the international arena as though we are urgently preparing for a perhaps inevitable conflict with the Soviet world, we add fuel to fears and inspire counteraction which increase the danger of just such a conflict. This is a most difficult problem—to prepare for war to prevent it—but we must somehow solve it in the next few years to come.

Robert P. Joyce12
[Page 406]

Annex 2

Memorandum From Outerbridge Horsey of the Policy Planning Staff to the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Matthews)13


  • The Department of State and CIA Operations Abroad


To review CIA–State relationships, in secret intelligence and in covert operations, with the double objective (a) of insuring that all CIA field activities are of optimum value in the prosecution of United States foreign policy objectives and (b) of diminishing the risk of results harmful to those objectives.


Recent integration within CIA, at headquarters and in the field, of the two main fields, “secret intelligence” and “covert operations,” emphasizes their interdependence. Even in the previous state of more or less water-tight separation of the two activities, either might have affected, and indeed did affect, the conduct of foreign policy.

“Secret intelligence” is used herein to describe what NSCID–514 defines as “all organized federal espionage operations outside the United States … for the collection of foreign intelligence information … in connection with the national security …” (Counter-espionage is excluded from this discussion) Secret intelligence activities are conducted by the Director of Central Intelligence. Moreover, he has responsibility for coordinating covert and overt intelligence activities. The senior U.S. representative in each country has the responsibility for coordinating overt intelligence collection activities, but there is no recognition in theory or in practice of the fact that secret intelligence activities can affect the conduct of foreign policy. By law the Director of Central Intelligence is responsible for the protection of intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure. In general this has in practice resulted in the withholding of detailed information on secret [Page 407] intelligence activities in both the planning and execution stages. The Department and Chiefs of Mission in the field are briefed from time to time on the broad lines of secret intelligence activities in a particular country. The positive intelligence information developed by CIA is furnished, in some measure and with varying degrees of promptness to Chiefs of Mission in the field, and in greater measure and considerably more delay to the Department in Washington. Occasionally, CIA will seek policy guidance before or while a particular operation is being conducted, but it does not necessarily follow the advice given; nor is it obliged to do so. In general, information on intelligence collection operations themselves is not sufficiently specific or timely to permit effective policy guidance, even if the Department were required to provide such guidance, which it is not.

NSC 5015 calls for “closer liaison” between CIA and State and for strengthening the “guidance” received by CIA from intelligence consumers, but the context of these references makes it clear that they relate to the nature of the intelligence to be collected and not to the policy implications of the conduct of intelligence collection activities. Any operations in a foreign country, however, are bound to have implications for the overt conduct of relations with the country concerned. Indeed they can have very serious results, leading to the undermining of the stability of a friendly government, the loss of public confidence in the U.S. or giving substance to Soviet anti-U.S. charges. The judgment as to whether and in what manner a covert proceeding of any kind is likely to affect overall objectives in the country concerned is one which in the final analysis can be made only by the agency responsible for the conduct of overall policy.

The British meet the problem of political guidance on secret intelligence activities, as well as the larger problem of coordinating all other foreign intelligence activities, by giving an inter-agency committee, of which the Foreign Office representative is automatically Chairman, close policy control over the entire foreign intelligence effort of the U.K. The MI–6 man in the field, although he belongs to an independent organization whose chief reports directly to the Prime Minister, is given the specific responsibility of clearing with the Ambassador when his activities are likely to affect the conduct of overt relations. The MI–6 man is able to discern the likelihood of political consequences because he is part of a small highly-trained professional corps, and because awareness of political factors is an essential qualification. A serious failure to do so costs him his job.

[Page 408]

The immense range of CIA’s secret intelligence activities, the paucity of trained personnel with good political judgment, the extent of our involvement in many foreign countries and the serious results of mistakes, would seem to require that the authority of the Secretary of State and of the principal U.S. representatives in each foreign country be extended in some measure into the “secret intelligence” field. This is all the more necessary because of the recent merging of the “secret intelligence” and “covert operations” functions within CIA. Since the necessity of continuous political guidance in the second category is unquestioned, such extension of the Department’s authority would seem to be the logical corollary of that merging.

The exclusion of the Department and its representatives in the field from any right to full knowledge of what is going on in the intelligence field, and of giving policy guidance thereon, has been applied in practice not only to the subject matter of NSCID–5 but also to the preliminary or fact-finding stages of “covert operations.” (The latter are defined for the present purpose as activities authorized by NSC 10/2 and NSC 10/5.)16 These fact-finding operations can, however, have just as serious political consequences, for good or for ill, as the actual operations themselves. Moreover, it is hard to draw the dividing line in a given case between the “intelligence” phase and the “operations” phase when a “project” is submitted through the joint machinery for clearance under paragraph 3(d)(1) of NSC 10/2. And CIA is the agency which under the present system draws the dividing line.

As to “covert operations” themselves, NSC 10/2 of course recognized their intimate relationship to the overt conduct of policy. This relationship was emphasized by providing that the Secretary of State should nominate the man initially in charge of these operations. NSC 10/2 said further that covert operations should be “planned and conducted in a manner consistent with U.S. foreign and military policies and with covert activities” but it left with the Director of Central Intelligence the responsibility for insuring that they were so conducted. Committee machinery for inter-departmental clearance was established, with the right of appeal to the NSC itself in case of serious differences.

The very nature of covert operations, the necessary use of a separate communications system and considerations of security in practice leave the initiative largely in the hands of CIA Headquarters and CIA representatives in the field. Because of lack of knowledge, the policy makers are often precluded from giving the necessary guidance. Because many of the questions involved do not concern two of the members (JCS and Defense) of the Committee of “OPC Consultants,” because [Page 409] a number of personal relationships between CIA and State opposite numbers have grown up, and because it is not always used by CIA, this Committee machinery has not been fully effective. In spite of full cooperation at the top levels of CIA on policy coordination in accordance with the letter and spirit of NSC 10/2 there has been a tendency toward free-wheeling17 at the operating level. There have been a number of failures recently to obtain State Department clearance, sometimes the explanation being given that the matter was not thought to involve a policy question, sometimes that the responsible officers in the State Department could not be reached in time, and at least once with no valid explanation. A number of recent experiences underline the necessity of CIA also recognizing in practice the mandate of NSC 10/2 to clear with State as well as with JCS and Defense the political implications of projects of a para-military nature. On the other hand, there are a number of examples of close and fruitful relations between CIA and the State Department. This type of cooperation, as well as close relationships which have developed at some posts in the field is, however, largely the accidental result of the personalities involved rather than of the system itself. The momentum of a large and organizationally independent government organization inevitably pulls away from cooperation.

If covert operations are to be a really effective arm of foreign policy, the policy officers of the State Department must, through tightly organized machinery, be brought into more intimate relationship with all stages of covert operations and particularly the planning or “intelligence” stages.

In summary, political guidance by the State Department on “covert operations” is increasingly difficult to get across in view of (1) the merging within CIA of responsibility for these operations with that for secret intelligence collection; (2) the difficulty in practice of distinguishing between the two types of operation and CIA freedom from policy guidance on the second; (3) the immense range of both types of activity, particularly in view of the military pressure to develop resistance and stay-behind organizations; (4) the lack of full knowledge on the part of the Department of State of what is going on in both fields until and unless CIA chooses to give such information or something “blows.”


The Secretary of State and the principal U.S. representative in each country, as part of their overall responsibility for the conduct of U.S. [Page 410] foreign relations, should have authority, acting through designated representatives agreeable to CIA in a manner which will not prejudice security or limit effectiveness, to insure that all covert activities abroad, including those defined earlier as “secret intelligence”, are planned and conducted consistently with U.S. foreign policy and with the overt execution of that policy.18

Outerbridge Horsey
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, INR Files: Lot 58 D 776, State–CIA Relations. Top Secret. A handwritten notation on the memorandum reads, “R—Mr. Howe” (Fisher Howe, Deputy Special Assistant for Research and Intelligence).
  2. J. Lampton Berry, Robert C. Strong, and William McFadden.
  3. Allen W. Dulles succeeded Walter Bedell Smith, who resigned as Director of Central Intelligence on February 9 and became Under Secretary of State on the same day. Allen W. Dulles was appointed Director of Central Intelligence the same day, was confirmed by the Senate on February 23, and was sworn in on February 26.
  4. See Document 151 regarding the June 30 Jackson Committee report.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  6. Top Secret; Security Information.
  7. Printed below.
  8. The memorandum on the Kaji case was not found, although documentation on the repercussions of the arrest and detection in Japan of Waturu Kaji, a Japanese national, by U.S. authorities is in National Archives, RG 59, Central Files, 794.0221. For the memorandum on Poland, see Document 142.
  9. For NSC 10/2, see Foreign Relations, 1945–1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, Document 292.
  10. Regarding NSC 68, “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security,” April 14, 1950, see Document 5.
  11. Brackets in the original.
  12. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  13. Top Secret; Security Information. Drafted by Horsey, Joyce, Berry, Strong and McFadden. Ellipsis in the original.
  14. Document 255.
  15. See Foreign Relations, 1945–1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, Document 384.
  16. For NSC 10/2, see ibid., Document 292. For NSC 10/5, see Document 90.
  17. An attached handwritten note reads, “It is interesting and pertinent to note that it is current in CIA to say that the State Dept calls anything ‘free wheeling’ which represents a new idea.”
  18. There is no indication as to what action, if any, was taken in the Department to implement this recommendation.
  19. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.