89. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay) to the National Security Council 1


  • Scope and Pace of Covert Operations


  • Memo for NSC from Acting Executive Secretary, same subject, dated 27 June 1951,2 and references therein
[Page 205]

The Under Secretary of State and the Acting Chairman of the National Security Resources Board have approved the recommendations contained in the reference memorandum. The Director of Central Intelligence has concurred therein.

The Acting Secretary of Defense, however, on October 8, 1951 approved the recommendations contained in the reference memorandum, subject to the following changes:3


Change paragraph 1–e to read as follows:

“Develop underground resistance and facilitate covert and guerrilla operations in strategic areas to the maximum practicable extent consistent with 1–a above, and ensure availability of these forces in the event of war for utilization in accordance with principles established by the National Security Council, including wherever practicable provision of a base upon which the military may expand these forces on a military basis in time of war within active theaters of operations.”


Insert a new paragraph 2 to read as follows, renumbering the ensuing paragraphs accordingly:

“Direct the Psychological Strategy Board to assure that its strategic concept for a national psychological program includes provision for covert operations designed to achieve the objectives stated in paragraph 1 above.”


Change the original paragraph 2–c (now paragraph 3–c) to read as follows:

“Coordinating action to ensure the provision of adequate personnel.…”—continues as in original.

Accordingly, it is requested that you indicate your action with respect to the above changes by completing and returning, as a matter of priority, the attached memorandum form.4

It is requested that special security precautions be taken in the handling of this material and that access be limited to individuals requiring the information contained herein in order to carry out their official duties.

James S. Lay, Jr.
  1. Source: Truman Library, Papers of Harry S. Truman, President’s Secretary’s File, Subject File. Top Secret; Eyes Only. A copy was sent to the Director of Central Intelligence. Ellipsis in the original.
  2. Document 76.
  3. see Document 85.
  4. The attached memorandum form, not printed, indicates that President Truman gave his approval on October 23; see Document 90.