30. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Intelligence and Research (Armstrong) to Secretary of State Acheson1


  • NSC Consideration of CIA Budget

Annually the CIA has submitted for NSC approval a budget for which it proposes to seek appropriation. This “budget” usually has been stated simply as a total figure and, until last year, approved without extensive consideration by the NSC or its staff.

[Page 53]

For the 1950–51 year representatives of State and Defense did review in a cursory fashion the budget programs of several of the CIA offices prior to NSC approval of the figure “for submission to the Bureau of the Budget.” Subsequently, State and Defense gave some thought to the difficult problem of how, without compromising the security of the Agency, to fulfill its responsibility by a more satisfactory review of the CIA budget.

With the recent change in leadership in CIA, however, it no longer seems appropriate to suggest that a detailed NSC examination of the budget should take place; rather, there should be an indication that the NSC and the Departments of State and Defense have confidence in the new Director. It is quite likely that General Smith will volunteer to discuss some of his plans and programs with the Council.


That the NSC approve the budget figure as submitted.
That, if appropriate and without indicating any lack of confidence, you might suggest in the course of the discussions that it would be helpful if General Smith, during the course of the year, would consider the problem of how the NSC can best fulfill its responsibilities with respect to the CIA budget and recommend procedures which would permit the fulfillment of those responsibilities without compromising the security of his Agency.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 50 Series. Top Secret. This memorandum received the concurrence of Humelsine, Jessup, and Matthews. Document 24 provides background on this issue.