277. Memorandum for President Eisenhower’s Files0
At the 25 March meeting of the 5412/2 group,1 the activities outlined in the attached memorandum dated 27 March were discussed. At that time approval of the Group was asked only for exploratory discussions with the GRC.
On the afternoon of 30 March a representative of the Director of Central Intelligence (Mr. Thomas Parrott) came to my office and indicated that the Director of Central Intelligence wished immediate approval of these activities. He informed me that Mr. Herter and Mr. Quarles had already given their approval.
After examining the document, I informed Mr. Parrott that because of the character and far-reaching possible consequences of these actions, I did not feel I could give my approval to them on behalf of the President without a discussion with the President. I thereupon at approximately 2:45 p.m. went to the President’s office and described the proposal to him. He indicated that he would not wish to have the projects approved without further information [2 lines of source text not declassified].
I then reported these points to Mr. Parrott who had remained in my office:
[heading and 4 paragraphs (8 lines of source text) not declassified]
4. He was concerned that the commitment to undertake the proposed operation would involve no commitments whatsoever to further activities in this regard which would have to be considered as they might be proposed.[Page 556]
[heading and 2 paragraphs (5 lines of source text) not declassified]
Mr. Parrott indicated that it might take a little time to develop dependable material on all of these points.
On 1 April, Mr. Parrott returned to my office with the memorandum from the Director of Central Intelligence dated March 31 (attached)2 which addressed itself to the various points that the President made. On the basis of this memorandum and additional similar assurances given me by Mr. Parrott, I gave my approval on behalf of the President.
This memorandum with attachments is being hand-carried by me to General Goodpaster for the President’s files. There are no copies of this memorandum nor of the attachments except as may have been retained by the Director of Central Intelligence.
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Intelligence Matters (11). Secret. The source text bears the typed notation: “There were no other copies made of this memorandum.”↩
- The records of this meeting have not been found. NSC 5412/2, “National Security Council Directive on Covert Operations,” December 28, 1955, provided that designated representatives of the Secretaries of State and Defense and of the President should be advised in advance of major covert programs and should be the normal channel for giving policy approval for such programs. (Ibid., Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Records)↩
- Document 276.↩
- Secret; Eyes Only.↩