176. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Meeting in Office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday, 4 May 1954, with Admiral Radford; Mr. Amory, and General Bull were present with the DCI and Rear Admiral Layton, General Porter, and two other officers were also present
In the meeting which started at 3 P. M., Mr. Dulles explained his purpose by stating that he was hopeful that the Director of Central Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff could by exchanging views come to an agreement on the proposal for proper “Organizational Arrangements for Continental Defense.”
Mr. Dulles noted the divergence of judgments between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others on one side, and CIA and others on the other side as indicated in the two solutions (alternatives A and B of para. 9 to NSC Action 873–d)2 recommended in papers relating to the “Net capabilities of the USSR to inflict damage on the US,” which is now up for resolution by the NSC. He felt that this discussion today could clear up some misapprehension and lead to an agreed view.
Mr. Dulles explained that there was a dual responsibility shared equally by the Director of CIA and the JCS for advising the NSC on the intelligence and operational features respectively of an appraisal of the net capabilities of the USSR to inflict direct injury on the US. He noted that other agencies would have responsibility also but only in limited areas requiring only part time participation to the extent necessary to insure that their responsibilities are fully met but not to the extent requiring a disclosure of war plans, or the extensive use of other highly secret documents. He emphasized also that CIA participation would be on a very limited high level basis, and that the few CIA representatives involved would be professional men who could be trusted to protect all information made available to them. He did not expect that revelation of war plans as such would be found necessary but that operational information would be required. He pointed out that he could not carry out his full responsibility as DCI without such knowledge of our own capabilities.
Admiral Radford replied that he frankly didn’t understand why there was any necessity for this high level organization to make a commanders estimate. He felt that if CIA made its coordinated intelligence estimate, the JCS and the Defense Department were, with this estimate available, competent to do the rest of the evaluation for the NSC and the President, based on their own knowledge of and responsibility for operational matters and war plans. He saw no need for setting up another coordinating agency. He didn’t see this need as recently carried out in the Continental Defense field.
General Bull pointed out that a single intelligence estimate of gross capabilities was not the final word on intelligence—that it was necessary to work by phases in a process of comparing gross intelligence estimates with our operational capabilities. This procedure would result in new intelligence estimates based on a knowledge of our own strengths and dispositions such as the Kremlin is believed to have to guide its decisions. This knowledge is not now available to our own national intelligence agency. Such a procedure for comparing capabilities on both sides, we believe, is essential and is a shared responsibility of DCI and Defense.
Mr. Dulles again emphasized that he did not want to pry into those areas of classified information not essential to carrying out his responsibility and stated that although the NSC planning for developing the net evaluation was stated as urgent he would not press for action at the next NSC meeting pending further consideration by Admiral Radford.
Mr. Amory called Admiral Radford’s attention to the fact that since no defense can be perfect, there will always be a portion of any major attacking force that will get through. This hostile force, representing the remaining net capability of the enemy at that time, retains a capability for attack. It continues to be the Director’s responsibility to evaluate this capability as it was his responsibility before and during the operation.
In response to Admiral Radford’s expressed desire to give it more thought, the Director, in leaving, stated he would be pleased to discuss the problem further and felt sure they could work it out.
H. R. B.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Deputy Director for Intelligence, Job 80–R01440R, Box 3. Secret. Drafted by General Bull on May 27. Amory wrote “Concur” followed by his signature below General Bull’s initials at the end of the memorandum.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 173.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.