119. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Plans (Wisner) to the Chief of the Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Roosevelt)1


  • Views of Mr. Max Thornburg

1. Submitted herewith for your information and comment is a copy of a Memorandum of Conversation between Mr. Thornburg and Dr. Raymond Allen of the PSB.2 During a conversation with Mr. Thornburg in the office of Mr. Dulles on Friday morning,3 I gathered that Mr. Thornburg has also had some conversations with officials of the State Department, including Mr. David Bruce. I further understood that Mr. Thornburg had been requested to put down in writing a further expression of his views and recommendations with regard to the situation in the Middle East,4 and return to Washington sometime during the course of next week for a further presentation and discussion of his views.

2. Mr. Thornburg was somewhat diffident regarding his ability to prepare alone a paper that would be really useful from the standpoint of the State Department and CIA. He said that it would be much more profitable if he were able to sit down with certain other Near Eastern experts and exchange views, on the theory that while he might be able to make a contribution of some value, not he nor any other single person could be expected to produce a well-rounded and entirely well-grounded appreciation of the situation. He said, for example, that he did not even know what you thought of the last paper which he produced5 and he felt sure that you would be able to pick loopholes and find soft spots in portions of it. This Agency and the State Department would be sure to have information which, in some instances, would entirely reverse his own opinion, such as might be based on inaccurate or out-of-date factual information.

3. Mr. Dulles, nevertheless, encouraged him to put something down in writing in the form of a “think piece” which might serve as a [Page 336] basis for further discussions with us and with Messrs. Bruce and Byroade of the Department of State. Mr. Thornburg undertook to do this and states that he would return about Wednesday of next week and hoped at that time to have the opportunity of participating in a round table discussion.

4. Accordingly, I recommend that you hold yourself in readiness for such a meeting; that you inform Mr. Dulles that you are expecting to participate; and that you give thought to what other persons from this Agency—including ONE, OCI and ORR—would be the most suitable additional participants.

Frank G. Wisner
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Intelligence, Job 80B01676R, Box 41, Folder 20, Shah of Iran Operations. Secret; Security Information.
  2. Dated August 24; attached but not printed. Thornburg’s memorandum of this conversation is Document 116.
  3. August 22.
  4. See Document 118.
  5. Not further identified.