23. Memorandum for the Record1

Set forth below is a brief statement of some of the more pressing problems presently facing the Central Intelligence Agency. These are the subject of extensive studies within the Agency and are voluminously documented in Agency files.

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Appended hereto are certain documents which most clearly illustrate the issues involved and which indicate measures which would be basic steps in the solution thereof. These documents are identified in a list of tabs at the end of this paper.2

1. Coordination of Activities.

Difficulties in coordinating the intelligence activities of the Government, and of performing other functions imposed upon CIA by law, result from existing National Security Council directives which impose upon CIA the board of directors mechanism of the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC) in the following manner:

They require that recommendations and advice of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to the National Security Council (NSC) must contain the concurrence or non-concurrence of the IAC;
They enable the IAC to assert the position that they are not merely advisory to the DCI, but are actually a board of directors, of which the DCI is but the executive secretary, i.e. one among equals;
Therefore the recommendations which go forward to the NSC are not CIA recommendations as contemplated by the law, but actually are watered-down compromises, replete with loop-holes, in an attempt to secure complete IAC support.

2. Intelligence Support for Production of Estimates.

Difficulties are encountered by CIA in producing adequate intelligence estimates, due to the refusal of the IAC agencies to honor CIA requests for necessary intelligence information, departmental intelligence, or collection action:

Information has been withheld from CIA by IAC agencies on the basis that it is “operational” rather than “intelligence information” and therefore not available to CIA; that it is “eyes only” information or on a highly limited dissemination basis; or that it is handled under special security provisions which by-pass CIA;
CIA is not empowered to enforce its collection requests on IAC agencies, or establish priorities;
There is a failure of spontaneous dissemination of certain material to CIA;
IAC agencies continue to cite the so-called “Third Agency Rule” as a basis for refusing to give intelligence to CIA.

3. Production and Dissemination of Estimates.

The furnishing of adequate national intelligence estimates to the President, the NSC, and other appropriate recipients is hampered by [Page 31] the lack of complete material, (as set forth in paragraph 3, above), and by present procedures which require concurrence or substantial dissent to each estimate from the IAC agencies, but make no provision for setting time limits thereon:

Departmental agencies of the IAC cannot concur in intelligence estimates which conflict with agency substantive policy; nor can they free themselves from departmental bias or budgetary interests;
Coordination of CIA estimates often takes months, with the result a compromise position;
Departmental dissents to CIA estimates are frequently unsubstantial, quibbling or reflective of departmental policy.

4. Special Problems.

The IAC agencies resist the grant of authority to CIA to issue directives affecting the intelligence field in general and their activities or priorities in particular on the ground that it would violate the concept of command channels;
The status of CIA in relation to the President and the NSC must be redefined and clarified;
The relationships between CIA on the one hand, and the Department of Justice—particularly the FBI, on the other, especially in connection with the defector problem, must be improved and clarified.
Difficulties imposed by NSC directives in the field of unconventional warfare must be eliminated, particularly the policy control over CIA granted to the Departments of State and Defense. The separation of clandestine operations into two offices within CIA creates serious problems of efficiency, efficacy and, above all, security;
There is a failure of coordination of overt intelligence collection in the field, due in part to competition among the departments in the field, but also to lack of positive planning and action by CIA. This results in unnecessary duplication and overlaps, and the initial withholding of choice material. It is becoming necessary for CIA to take a strong position in the field of overt collection abroad.

5. Nuclear Energy and Other Special Intelligence Subjects.

Each has its own but related problems.

6. Relationship Between JCS and CIA in the Event of War.

This is an unresolved problem which has been the subject of considerable discussion, one aspect of which is covered by Tabs F and G attached. It may of course require urgent consideration at any time.

7. Conclusion.

Solution of the above problems lies in a grant of adequate authority to the DCI and CIA, and use of that authority to achieve the necessary [Page 32] coordination by direction rather than placing reliance in a spirit of cooperation and good will.


Tab A CIA proposed revision of NSCID #1. This directive is believed by CIA to be necessary to give the Director the authority needed for exercise of his responsibilities. It has been forwarded to State for discussion, but no further action has been taken on it.
Tab B Proposed “Memorandum to the National Security Council,” which elaborates paragraphs 1–3 set forth in the memorandum above. This was prepared several months ago as an introduction to CIA’s proposed revision to NSCID #1, included herewith under Tab A.
Tab C National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) #1, under which CIA presently operates.3
Tab D Memorandum entitled “Legal Responsibilities of the Central Intelligence Agency”, which emphasizes particularly Congressional intent in regard to the national intelligence mission.
Tab E Current State/Defense proposals for reorganization of intelligence production within CIA. A compromise version of this paper is still under discussion.
Tab E/1 Compromise now urged by State/Defense thru Gen. Magruder.
Tab F Joint Intelligence Committee report on war time status and responsibilities of CIA and its field agencies (JIC 455/1, 12 July 1950). This indicates an intention on the part of the JIC to have JCS take over control of all covert activities in the event of war.
Tab G Memorandum for Brig. Gen. John Magruder, dated 16 August 1950, setting forth CIA’s position on its war time relations to the Joint Chiefs. This memorandum was originally drafted for dispatch to the Secretary of Defense and was actually dispatched to General Magruder.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 263, History Staff/History Collection: History Research Project 82–2/00286, Box 4, HS/HC 500, National Intelligence Directives. Secret. Not signed but prepared by CIA General Counsel Lawrence Houston. According to Ludwell Montague, General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence, October 1950–February 1953, p. 60, Smith had asked Houston for a review of the problems facing CIA and Houston responded on this date. A signed copy of Houston’s August 29 covering memorandum to Smith and another copy of the memorandum for the record are printed in Michael Warner, ed., The CIA Under Harry Truman, pp. 341–347.
  2. None of the tabs are attached.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1945–1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, Document 432.