99. Memorandum From President Kennedy to Director of Central Intelligence McCone1

In carrying out your newly assigned duties as Director of Central Intelligence it is my wish that you serve as the Government’s principal foreign intelligence officer, and as such that you undertake, as an integral part of your responsibility, the coordination and effective guidance of the total United States foreign intelligence effort. As the Government’s principal intelligence officer, you will assure the proper coordination, correlation, and evaluation of intelligence from all sources and its prompt dissemination to me and to other recipients as appropriate. In fulfillment of these tasks I shall expect you to work closely with the heads of all departments and agencies having responsibilities in the foreign intelligence field.

In coordinating and guiding the total intelligence effort, you will serve as Chairman of the United States Intelligence Board, with a view to assuring the efficient and effective operation of the Board and its associated bodies. In this connection I note with approval that you have designated your deputy to serve as a member of the Board, thereby bringing to the Board’s deliberations the relevant facts and judgments of the Central Intelligence Agency.

As directed by the President and the National Security Council, you will establish with the advice and assistance of the United States Intelligence Board the necessary policies and procedures to assure adequate coordination of foreign intelligence activities at all levels.

With the heads of the Departments and Agencies concerned you will maintain a continuing review of the programs and activities of all U.S. agencies engaged in foreign intelligence activities with a view to assuring efficiency and effectiveness and to avoiding undesirable duplication.

As head of the Central Intelligence Agency, while you will continue to have over-all responsibility for the Agency, I shall expect you to delegate to your principal deputy, as you may deem necessary, so much of the direction of the detailed operation of the Agency as may be required to permit you to carry out your primary task as Director of Central Intelligence.

It is my wish that you keep me advised from time to time as to your progress in the implementation of this directive and as to any recommendations you may have which would facilitate the accomplishment of these objectives.

John F. Kennedy
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, PFIAB. No classification marking. Copies were sent to the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.