39. Memorandum for the Record by Director of Central Intelligence McCone 1

SUBJECT

  • Meeting with the President—11:15 a.m., 24 July 1964

[Here follows discussion of item 1.]

2. I then reviewed orally the results of recent satellite reconnaissance photography and advised the President that what we were seeing was a dynamic developmental program in ICBMs, which had brought three new missiles into being in the last two years. We did not know what the three missiles were for but we believed that they could deliver [Page 107][less than 1 line of source text not declassified] warheads. This did not seem to explain this very expensive program satisfactorily to me. They might be experimenting with multiple warheads, each of which would have its own guidance. If they were successful with such a development it might possibly redress the present balance of numbers. I said we saw continued expansion of nuclear materials production and no cutbacks. Some of the expansion did not seem to be associated with earlier policy decisions and hence I questioned the veracity of Khrushchev’s statements concerning the cutback. I said he may shut down two reactors, but they would be obsolete designs and new reactors were under construction.

[Here follows discussion of items 3 and 4.]

5. I asked the President if he was receiving satisfactory intelligence reports and he said, yes he was very satisfied. I said I would like the opportunity to sit down with him occasionally to exchange views on matters of importance to him, that he had in the CIA the most competent group of intelligence experts and analysts that existed anywhere in the world and that he was not getting the full benefit of their views and judgments through the written word. I said that any time that his calendar would permit and he was so disposed, I would like to discuss personally with him any problems of interest to him which were within our competence. I took this occasion to tell the President that in my experience in many departments in government and in industry I had never encountered as high level of competence or intellectual capability as I found in the CIA.

Note: I left a copy of OCI’s memorandum on de Gaulle’s speech2 with Mr. Valenti for guidance for the President’s press conference.3

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Memo for the Record, 7/9/64–10/10/64, Box 2. Top Secret. Attached but not printed are McCone’s briefing notes prepared for this meeting.
  2. On July 23 de Gaulle said, among other things, that “the powers which directly or indirectly bear a responsibility in what was or is the fate of Indochina and which are France, China, the Soviet Union and America, be effectively resolved to be involved there no longer.” For extracts, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 977–978. The OCI memorandum has not been found.
  3. At his press conference on the afternoon of July 24, President Johnson made only perfunctory remarks in response to a question about De Gaulle’s July 23 statement. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–64, p. 889.