627. Memorandum from McCone to U. Alexis Johnson, March 71

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With reference to your memorandum of March 6th, subject “U–2 overflights of Cuba—29 August through 13 October,” it is not practical to make any changes in my memorandum of February 27th, as it was distributed on that day to members of the United States Intelligence Board to supply background information for their guidance in testifying before committees of Congress. Since most of the recipients have concluded their testimony, no useful purpose will be served in making extensive modifications to the memorandum. In reading the transcripts of the intelligence officers who testified, none to my knowledge have spoken of the position of any individual or Department in connection with the planning or execution of flights during the period. However, as a discretionary measure, I will advise the recipients of the memorandum to avoid any such references in possible future testimony.

With respect to the final paragraph of your communication, I am surprised at the position taken with respect to my report to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. The preparation of the report was considered by USIB with State’s representative present. USIB agreed to the establishment of a Working Group under CIA’s Inspector General, but with representation from State, DIA and NSA and this Working Group spent some 30 days in research and drafting. [Typeset Page 1630] The Working Group operated under the direction of a committee composed of myself, General Carter for CIA, General Carroll for DIA, General Blake for NSA, and Mr. Hilsman for State, and this committee met a number of times to give the Working Group guidance and to monitor their progress and, finally, the committee met for a great many hours developing the final draft of the report and the conclusions.

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Finally, the USIB in executive session on 3 January 1963, with State’s representative present, concurred in my advising the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board that the draft report submitted to it on 26 December 1962 should be considered the final report. With this background, I continue under the impression that the report is the product of a joint effort and the final draft representative of the coordinated viewpoint of the intelligence community. I therefore feel that Mr. Bundy’s understanding of the status of the report is correct.

John A. McCone
  1. Reply to the State Department’s memorandum commenting on McCone’s February 27 memorandum on U–2 overflights of Cuba, August 29–October 14, 1962. DOS, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Miscellaneous.