31. Memorandum for the Record by the Assistant Director for Policy Coordination of the Central Intelligence Agency (Wisner)1


  • Relationship with ECA; conversations between top-ranking ECA and CIA officials on 2 November 1950
This memorandum will record the highlights of a conference which took place on Thursday 2 November between General Smith, [Page 54] Mr. Jackson and the undersigned for CIA, and Messrs. Foster and Bissell for ECA. At the outset of the meeting, I was requested by General Smith to summarize the history of the relationship which I proceeded to do by giving a brief but general chronological account of the origin and development of our dealings with ECA, together with three or four illustrations of the activities in which we have been jointly engaged. At the conclusion of this résumé I emphasized our concern on the score of security breaches and operational and other improprieties as regards the use of counterpart funds. After giving a number of illustrations of these unhappy developments and after referring to several of the points made by Mr. Harriman in his most recent conversations with me, I stated that it seemed to me that there had been two chief types of insecurity and that there were two methods which should be employed in order to clear up as much of the difficulty as possible.
The two types of action which had given us concern and which promise to create much more serious problems for all who are involved unless they can be brought to an end are (a) loosetalk, i.e., the tendency on the part of certain ECA labor and public relations people to talk about matters which were none of their concern and with unauthorized people; and (b) clumsy and dangerously insecure attempts on the part of ECA labor and public relations officials [less than 1 line not declassified]. I acknowledged that we might not have been entirely without fault ourselves and I said that we had taken a number of steps to tighten up within our own organization, but I said that it seemed that action was in order on the part of Messrs. Foster and Bissell to clear up the difficulties within ECA. It was agreed by Messrs. Foster and Bissell that these actions should be taken and that as a first step fresh directives should be prepared to all ECA personnel concerned, [1 line not declassified]. It was further agreed that I should endeavor to work this out with Mr. Bissell at an early meeting (meeting set for two P.M., 10 Nov 50)2 [2 lines not declassified].
[1 paragraph (29 lines) not declassified]
Mr. Foster then referred to a number of other projects which are pending before him at the present time. He said that he had not approved these projects because he had not received enough information about them to enable him to exercise his judgment. [3 lines not declassified] He requested that further information be supplied to him on these and the other projects before him and I agreed to furnish this information either to himself or in his absence to Mr. Bissell. (It seems to me that either Mr. Foster has forgotten what we have told him or that [Page 55] we have not done a proper job of providing details—with a third possibility that Mr. Tappin may not have passed on to Mr. Foster the information which we have provided to him about the projects under consideration.)3
I inquired as to whether Mr. Bissell would be authorized to act on matters of common concern, including the approval of projects in the absence of Mr. Foster, who will be out of the country for about 5 weeks on a round-the-world tour. Mr. Foster acknowledged that Mr. Bissell would have full authority in his absence. (Accordingly, we should endeavor to clear these matters with Mr. Bissell at a very early meeting and I should like to be reminded of this and provided with the papers and a reasonable oral briefing. I consider this to be the responsibility of Colonel Taylor as to the pending projects.)4
There were some very favorable comments made about the progress of our [less than 1 line not declassified] operations and all agreed that there was not only success here but immeasurable success in terms of evident results. The situation as regards [less than 1 line not declassified] operations was acknowledged to be by no means as clear. When called upon for an explanation of this, I said that the principal problem arose from the fact that the leadership of the [less than 1 line not declassified] has been weak and vacillating and that it has not been possible to press them as far as the [less than 1 line not declassified] have gone. I further said that our approach had been more along the lines of building up the younger and more vigorous elements [less than 1 line not declassified] and providing them with encouragement, guidance and funds for specific projects. General Smith commented that we should continue along this line especially that of building up vigorous younger elements—but that we should take our own independent soundings on the [less than 1 line not declassified] situation at a very early date with a view to reappraising the possibilities and reevaluating our efforts to date. It might be that we have been too soft about the old leadership and that we should undertake more stringent measures to move aside this leadership in order to make way for the other and better elements. Mr. Bissell raised a question about the [less than 1 line not declassified] and General Smith replied that he did not think that they offered too promising a medium but that they should be looked at again.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Operations, Job 80–01795R, Box 3. Top Secret. Drafted on November 7.
  2. A handwritten note in the left margin reads, “Staff I to prepare draft.” Staff I was part of OPC.
  3. A handwritten notation in the left margin reads “SAA.” This referred the issue to Wisner’s Special Assistant for Action Colonel Robert Taylor.
  4. A handwritten notation in the left margin reads, “SAA.” A handwritten notation in the right margin reads [text not declassified].
  5. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.