205. Memorandum From the National Security Council Representative on Internal Security (Coyne) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Cutler) and the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)1


  • CIA–The Doolittle Report on CIA’s Covert Activities

Last Friday night2 at the invitation of Allen Dulles, General Doolittle, Bill Franke and I dined with Mr. Dulles and several of his key officials (Messrs. Cabell, Kirkpatrick, Wisner, White, Bissell, Helms, Balmer, Scott, Angleton and Roosevelt). Following the dinner Mr. Dulles and his associates gave us a detailed fill-in on the progress made thus far by CIA in its efforts to implement the recommendations of the Doolittle Report.3 Highlights of their oral progress report follow.

NSCID #5:4 Agreement has been reached between CIA and the military services with respect to the conduct of certain espionage and counterespionage operations overseas. (I think this will mark a very substantial step forward, if it serves to clarify those areas of “agreed activities” which have been the subject of considerable controversy for several years.)
Operational Security Clearances: An agreement has been drawn with respect to the security clearance of agent, service and proprietary personnel which is satisfactory to the DD/P and SO areas of the Agency.
Counterespionage: A highly experienced official has been newly installed as the Chief of this area of the DD/P complex and improved procedures are being put into effect.
Polygraph Program: The backlog of unpolygraphed personnel has been virtually eliminated.
Cover Problems: Renewed efforts are underway to cope with the very difficult, practical problem of developing varied covers suitable for CIA’s needs on both long-term and short-term bases. Allen Dulles thinks more might be done on this score, including increased use of aliens.
Buildings: Varied and repeated efforts are being made with little success to improve the present office-housing situation which finds [Page 596] CIA, through no fault of its own, located in 34 buildings in the Washington area.
DD/Support: All normal functions of the Agency, exclusive of DD/I, DD/P, and IG have been combined under the newly created office of the Deputy Director for Support. By this action, personnel, administration, fiscal, communications and related matters are pulled together under one head. Allen Dulles believes—and I agree—that this should have the effect of rendering more coordinated and better support to the various operational segments of the Agency.
Organization of the DD/P Offices: Steps have been initiated to streamline the DD/P set-up. Allen Dulles and Wisner are pressing to get this done.
Training: Continuing efforts are being made to improve the training of personnel. Specific programs have been initiated for this purpose.
Projects Review: A new Review Committee is about to be set up which will continue the complicated task of examining projects with a view to eliminating those which are less essential so that available resources may be allocated to those of greater importance to the Agency’s mission.
Long-Range Planning: Continued emphasis is being afforded this matter and expert scientific and other outside personnel (such as Land and Killian) are being tapped to assure maximum results.

As Mr. Dulles and his assistants briefed us our views were solicited and were quite freely given.

I was impressed, but not at all surprised, at the very constructive approach which Allen Dulles and all of his associates have taken to the Doolittle Report. I am convinced that assiduous efforts are being made by the Agency to profit by such of the recommendations contained therein as may be meritorious. The fact that Allen Dulles would take the time to consult members of an extinct committee is as unusual as it is desirable, and it speaks well of Allen Dulles’ continuing efforts to improve the performance of the many important national security responsibilities which devolve upon CIA. (The use of the participants in the Doolittle survey in a continuing, consultative capacity strikes me as being highly desirable in view of the background which they have accumulated concerning the covert operations of CIA. Allen Dulles has in mind consulting with these same people on future occasions.)

I suggest that you give the President a brief oral fill-in on the foregoing when the opportunity presents itself. I suggest also that a word of appreciation from the President to Allen Dulles would be well deserved.

J. Patrick Coyne
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry, Job 86–B00269R, Box 3, Folder 9. Top Secret. Drafted by Coyne. Coyne forwarded a copy to DCI Dulles under cover of a February 18 memorandum, commenting that the President had seen the memorandum and could be preparing to talk with Dulles about it.
  2. February 4.
  3. Document 192.
  4. For NSCID No. 5 Revised, see Document 256.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.