22. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Intelligence and Research (Armstrong) to the Under Secretary of State (Webb)1


  • State–Defense Staff Study on “Production of National Intelligence”2

I regret to report the discovery that the staff study enclosed with your letter of July 7 to Admiral Hillenkoetter on this subject3 was in fact a preliminary version containing three pages which were later amended. While the final version of the paper is not fundamentally different, the fact is that only the early version contained the reference to “collective responsibility”—to which Hillenkoetter took strong exception and on which he pinned much of his argument.4

This error, for which I am fully responsible, appears to have come about through the circumstance that the paper was amended in the interval between the time it was first presented to you (May 2) and the time when you considered it for the second time and forwarded it to Hillenkoetter (July 7). The amended pages were not substituted in the copies in your office, one of which apparently was transmitted to Hillenkoetter.

While we feel sure that the CIA reaction to either version of the paper would have been substantially the same, we must of course set the record straight by transmitting the final version of the paper on which there was State-Defense agreement. At the same time, there is the chance, however faint, that if Hillenkoetter has any inclination to modify his original and extreme position, forwarding of the later version will provide him with a convenient excuse for doing so.

In this connection, General Magruder and Admiral Souers yesterday discussed the CIA reaction to our proposals. According to Magruder, it is Souers’s view that Hillenkoetter’s position is wrong, that an effort should be made to make him see the constructive features of our proposals, and that the later version of the paper may provide him with a convenient “out.” To this end, Souers has suggested that he [Page 29] himself call Hillenkoetter and urge him to set up a meeting where Magruder could go over the paper with Hillenkoetter and his principal assistants.

Before that meeting, however, it will be important that we get to Hillenkoetter the correct final version of the paper. The simplest and best way of accomplishing this would be for you to telephone Admiral Hillenkoetter, inform him of the mistake and tell him that you are sending over the correct version of the paper. At the same time, you should mention that you understand that General Magruder will be discussing the subject of national intelligence with him.


That you telephone Admiral Hillenkoetter along the above lines.

That you sign the attached letter after making the telephone call which will transmit the corrected paper.5

W. Park Armstrong, Jr.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, INR Historical Files: Lot 58 D 776, National Intelligence Staff Study. Secret. Drafted by Trueheart. Sent through the Executive Secretariat.
  2. Dated May 1, 1950; printed in Foreign Relations, 1945–1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, Document 420.
  3. Regarding Webb’s July 7 letter, see footnote 2, Document 20. The enclosed “preliminary” or “early” version of the State–Defense staff study has not been found.
  4. See Document 20.
  5. The attached letter and “corrected paper” have not been found, but the list of attachments at the end of the letter identifies the corrected paper as the May 1, 1950, text (see footnote 2 above).
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.