80. Memorandum of Discussion at the 473d Meeting of the National Security Council1
[Here follows a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting.]
There follows a summary of the discussion at the Meeting and the main points taken.
1. National Security Council Intelligence Directives
Mr. Gray said he wished to bring up first a matter which was not on the formal agenda. The Joint Study Group on Foreign Intelligence Activities, composed of representatives of the Director of Central Intelligence, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director, Bureau of the Budget, and the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs had submitted its report and was now preparing a list of recommendations on which the Principals had agreed, as well as a list of recommendations which had not been concurred in.2 A question had arisen whether a revision of the NSCID’s would be necessary as their provisions affect the authority of the Secretary of Defense in the intelligence field. At the present time, the NSCID’s refer to the Military Services, not to the Secretary of Defense. The suggestion had been made that the Secretary of Defense be given authority by amendment of the NSCID’s to proceed with reorganization of military intelligence within the Department of Defense.[Page 143]
Secretary Gates said this matter would affect the next Secretary of Defense. The first issue involved in the report of the Joint Study Group was the one Mr. Gray had mentioned, namely, the question of amending the NSCID’s. Another issue, however, was also involved, namely membership on the U.S. Intelligence Board. The report by the Joint Study Group recommended that the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff rather than the Military Services be represented on the USIB. Secretary Gates was in favor of this recommendation but understood the Military Services were opposed. Mr. Dulles said he was also opposed to this recommendation. Secretary Gates said this matter affected the NSCID’s since the organization of the USIB was covered in the NSCID’s.
The President said he had been told that about $1.4 billion was being spent for the intelligence function in the Department of Defense. He believed we were not good administrators if we could not perform this function at less expense. He also believed that we were not doing everything that could be done to implement the concept of integrated strategic planning unless military intelligence could be placed under the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was unable to understand why the antiquated system of separate intelligence organizations for each Military Service was retained.
Mr. Dulles pointed out that the Military Services at the present time had the personnel, the competence, and the background in intelligence. Until this situation was changed, he would rather deal with representatives of the Military Services, who know intelligence, than with the representative of the Secretary of Defense, who would not have the experience, the personnel, and the background judgment required. When organizational changes were made so that the representative of the Secretary of Defense had competent collectors and analysts working for him, then Mr. Dulles would not disagree with the recommendation for a change in the membership of the USIB, but at present, he repeated, the change suggested would merely result in putting on USIB representatives with inadequate intelligence support.
The President believed that the Services should collect battlefield intelligence but did not see the necessity for strategic intelligence in the Services. He wondered what intelligence officers in the Services could do to get information from the center of the USSR and correlate it with intelligence on the rest of the world. He said when he supported the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, he did it on the basis that the function of strategic intelligence should be in CIA and that duplication should be eliminated. General Lemnitzer felt that the acquisition of technical intelligence, e.g. information about enemy nuclear submarines, required officials who know nuclear submarines. [Page 144] The Services would be very much concerned if they were not represented on USIB. The President believed that the information referred to by General Lemnitzer was battlefield intelligence, whereas the discovery of the shipyards where nuclear submarines are being constructed was the business of CIA. He did not see why four intelligence services should attempt to find out where the submarines were made. He believed it was the function of CIA to acquire strategic intelligence. General Lemnitzer believed that each Military Service was working on a different intelligence target.
Mr. Gray pointed out that a substantive discussion of the material in the Joint Study Group report seemed to be underway. The President said that perhaps the membership of USIB could not be changed at once but that a different type of intelligence board could be organized once military intelligence within the Department of Defense was re-organized. Secretary Gates did not agree that the membership of USIB could not be changed immediately. A Defense representative on the Board could do his homework in the Pentagon and bring the Defense position to the Board in the same way a Defense representative on the Planning Board reports the Defense position. The President felt that changes in the membership of USIB must be correlated with changes in the military intelligence organization. Mr. Gates said that thus far intelligence has not been affected by reorganization of the Department of Defense. Mr. Dulles said when changes were made in the organization of military intelligence, there would be a reason for changing the membership of USIB, since there would then be one high-ranking official who knows intelligence representing the Department of Defense. The President said that there would in any case remain the need for technical intelligence gathered in connection with the normal deployment of forces.
Mr. Dulles said the figure of $2 billion had been mentioned occasionally as the sum spent by this government on intelligence activities. He wished to point out, however, that this figure included support of the radar station at Thule, support of SAMOS, etc., all of which were really early warning functions.
The President said he had read a summary of the report by the Joint Study Group. He felt that up to now we had not accomplished all it was possible to accomplish in integrating all our intelligence activities. Secretary Gates said there was no review in the Department of Defense of intelligence requirements. General Lemnitzer said the JCS agreed on the need for Defense review of intelligence requirements.
Secretary Gates believed the policy question before the Council now was, how far would this Administration wish to go in reorganizing [Page 145] intelligence during its last two weeks in office. The President said he felt a directive on agreed matters could be issued and that he could pass on to his successor his views on other intelligence questions. Mr. Dulles said he would like to see the matter of the pictorial center worked out soon.
The President then remarked that soon after Pearl Harbor, he was engaged in an operation which required him to have certain information which he was unable to obtain from the Navy, i.e. the strength the Navy had left in the Pacific. The President also noted that the U.S. fought the first year of the war in Europe entirely on the basis of British intelligence. Subsequently, each Military Service developed its own intelligence organization. He thought this situation made little sense in managerial terms. He had suffered an eight-year defeat on this question but would leave a legacy of ashes for his successor.
Mr. Gray said language would be prepared to permit agreed recommendations from the report of the Joint Study Group to be put into effect.
The President pointed out that in military history a single man usually dominates the intelligence service of a country at any given time. He felt that a strong central position with respect to intelligence was necessary. The Joint Chiefs of Staff should not be required to consult individually each of the Services, as well as CIA, in formulating their strategic plans; they should have their own intelligence service.
The National Security Council:
- Discussed the question raised by the Secretary of Defense as to revising the National Security Council Intelligence Directives in the light of the recommendations relating to the military intelligence organization within the Department of Defense and to the membership of the U.S. Intelligence Board, submitted on December 15, 1960, by a Joint Study Group on Foreign Intelligence Activities, composed of representatives of the Director of Central Intelligence, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director, Bureau of the Budget, and the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
- Agreed that the Secretary of Defense should submit his recommendations for appropriate revisions in the NSCID’s directive to the authority of the Secretary of Defense over the military intelligence organization within the Department of Defense in consonance with the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958.
- Noted that the recommendations of the Secretary of Defense pursuant to b above, together with the views of the Principals of the Joint Study Group regarding the Group’s report which are being consolidated by the Director of Central Intelligence, would be considered at the next NSC meeting on January 12, 1961.
Note: The actions in b and c above, as approved by the President, subsequently transmitted of the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence.
[Here follows discussion of the remaining agenda items.]