252. National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 131


Pursuant to the provisions of Section 102(d)(4) of the National Security Act of 1947,2 as amended, Section 4(a)(7) of NSC 50,3 and NSCID No. 5,4 the National Security Council hereby authorizes and directs that:

1. It is in accord with the best U.S. tradition to endeavor to protect and assist those fleeing from persecution. Under present conditions, and with due regard for the effects of such action on the diplomatic and political interests of the United States, it is also in the important interests of national security that defectors be welcomed and assisted in obtaining a degree of personal and economic security and made to feel that there is a place for them in a free society. The best sources of information and intelligence on the Soviet world, necessary in the interests of the national security, are defectors from Soviet control. The most effective agents to destroy the communist myth of the Soviet paradise are defectors who are able to tell the truth about conditions of life behind the Iron Curtain.

2. The term “defectors” is here employed to denote individuals who escape from the control of the USSR or countries in the Soviet orbit, or who, being outside such jurisdiction or control, are unwilling to return to it, and who are of special interest to the U.S. Government (a) because they are able to add valuable new or confirmatory information to existing U.S. knowledge of the Soviet world, (b) because they are of operational value to a U.S. agency, or (c) because their defection can be exploited in the psychological field.

A potential defector is a person who may reasonably be expected to become a defector if he is induced to do so.
A declared defector is a person who has left the service of his country and therefore requires protection and assistance.
Inducement means the commission of an act by, or manifestly at the instigation of, an American official which is demonstrably intended to bring about a defection and for which the U.S. Government might, if the act were discovered, be called upon to account.

Potential Defectors

3. CIA shall be responsible for inducing the defection of potential defectors, except in the cases where it is manifestly in the interest of security or efficiency that representatives of other agencies undertake such action.

Declared Defectors

4. The ranking American official in the area concerned shall be responsible for determining the manner and degree to which the acceptance or rejection of a declared defector may affect the diplomatic and political interests of the United States. Any overt publicity and propaganda exploitation of a defector shall be coordinated with the Department of State.

5. The Central Intelligence Agency shall be responsible for the covert exploitation of defectors, and shall, within the framework of paragraph 4, coordinate all matters concerned with the handling and disposition of declared defectors from the Soviet Union and the satellite states in order to assure the effective exploitation of all defectors for operational, intelligence, or psychological purposes by the U.S. Government.

6. CIA shall seek the guidance of the appropriate Departments to insure that no action taken under this directive jeopardizes the military, security, political, or diplomatic interests of the United States and shall keep the other IAC agencies adequately informed of actions taken with respect to individual defector cases.

7. Subject to the over-all direction of the Chief of Mission, CIA representatives in the field shall have operating responsibility outside U.S. occupied areas for:

Providing secure facilities and preliminary assessment of a defector’s bona fides and his intelligence or other potential value to the U.S. Government.
Assuring that the other IAC agencies have adequate opportunity to exploit a defector for intelligence or operational purposes, including immediate access to the defector in the field.
Arranging secure movement of defectors as required.

8. In U.S. occupied areas CIA shall establish, together with the Department of State and that military department having executive authority in the area, adequate procedures designed to carry out the obligations listed in paragraphs 7 a–c.

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9. Field representatives of the IAC agencies shall be responsible for:

Informing promptly the ranking American official and the CIA representative of any potential or declared defector who comes to their attention.
Directly or through questionnaires, representing the intelligence interests of their respective agencies in the debriefing of such defectors.

10. To the extent that there are available funds, CIA shall be responsible for the final disposal and rehabilitation of defectors. The IAC agencies shall provide all possible assistance to CIA in establishing rapid and effective means of disposal.

11. If it appears to be in the national interest to bring a defector to the United States for intelligence purposes or operational use, CIA shall be responsible for coordinating with the interested departments and agencies for policy approval and for making necessary arrangements in advance for entry. CIA shall also be responsible for handling and disposal of the defector in agreement with the interested departments or agencies. In each case, notice and full available biographic and background information will be given to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in advance. No commitments for entry for intelligence purposes or operational use will be made by any United States official without coordination and notice as set forth in this paragraph.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, NSCIDs. Top Secret. NSCID No. 13 received NSC approval by memorandum action on January 19. (Ibid., Records of Action by the National Security Council)
  2. 61 Stat. 495–510.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1945–1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, Document 384.
  4. Ibid., Document 423.