Directive by the President to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense ( Marshall ), and the Director of Central Intelligence ( Smith )1


It is the purpose of this directive to authorize and provide for the more effective planning, coordination and conduct, within the framework of approved national policies, of psychological operations.

There is hereby established a Psychological Strategy Board responsible, within the purposes and terms of this directive, for the formulation and promulgation, as guidance to the departments and agencies [Page 59] responsible for psychological operations, of over-all national psychological objectives, policies and programs, and for the coordination and evaluation of the national psychological effort.

The Board will report to the National Security Council on the Board’s activities and on its evaluation of the national psychological operations, including implementation of approved objectives, policies, and programs by the departments and agencies concerned.

For the purposes of this directive, psychological operations shall include all activities (other than overt types of economic warfare) envisioned under NSC 59/1 and NSC 10/2,2 the operational planning and execution of which shall remain, subject to this directive, as therein assigned.

The Board shall be composed of:

The Undersecretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Director of Central Intelligence, or, in their absence, their appropriate designees;
An appropriate representative of the head of each such other department or agency of the Government as may, from time to time, be determined by the Board.

The Board shall designate one of its members as Chairman.

A representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall sit with the Board as its principal military adviser in order that the Board may ensure that its objectives, policies and programs shall be related to approved plans for military operations.

There is established under the Board a Director3 who shall be designated by the President and who shall receive compensation of $16,000 per year. The Director shall direct the activities under the Board. In carrying out this responsibility, he shall

Be responsible for having prepared the programs, policies, reports, and recommendations for the Board’s consideration,
Sit with the Board and be responsible to it for organizing its business and for expediting the reaching of decisions.
Promulgate the decisions of the Board,
Ascertain the manner in which agreed upon objectives, policies, and programs of the Board are being implemented and coordinated among the departments and agencies concerned,
Report thereon and on his evaluation of the national psychological operations to the Board together with his recommendations,
Perform such other duties necessary to carry out his responsibilities as the Board may direct.

The Director, within the limits of funds and personnel made available by the Board for this purpose, shall organize and direct a staff to assist in carrying out his responsibilities. The Director shall determine [Page 60] the organization and qualifications of the staff, which may include individuals employed for this purpose, including part-time experts, and/or individuals detailed from the participating departments and agencies for assignment to full-time duty or on an ad hoc task force basis. Personnel detailed for assignment to duty under the terms of this directive shall be under the control of the Director, subject only to necessary personnel procedures within their respective departments and agencies.

The participating departments and agencies shall afford to the Director and the staff such assistance and access to information as may be specifically requested by the Director in carrying out his assigned duties.

The heads of the departments and agencies concerned shall examine into the present arrangements within their departments and agencies for the conduct, direction and coordination of psychological operations with a view toward readjusting or strengthening them if necessary to carry out the purposes of this directive. The Secretary of State is authorized to effect such readjustments in the organization established under NSC 59/1 as he deems necessary to accomplish the purposes of this directive.

This directive does not authorize the Board nor the Director to perform any “psychological operations”.

In performing its functions, the board shall utilize to the maximum extent the facilities and resources of the participating departments and agencies.

Harry S. Truman
  1. For the President’s public directive establishing the Psychological Strategy Board, dated June 20, 1951, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1951, pp. 341–342.
  2. Papers in the NSC 59 and NSC 10 series are slated for publication in a subsequent Foreign Relations volume.
  3. Gordon Gray, President of the University of North Carolina and former Secretary of the Army, was appointed Director of the new board.