102. Report Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1

Summary of DDI and CIA Representatives’ Views on the IRGs with some comments on the SIG

1.
This is a summary of the coincident views on the Interdepartmental Regional Groups expressed by the CS Division Chiefs who are the CIA Representatives on the IRGs. Because of special considerations relating to the IRG/Europe, the comments on the Chiefs, Europe and Soviet Bloc Divisions are attached but not incorporated in the summary. Significant comments, relative to the IRGs and SIG, other than those reviewed in this summary of coincident views, were made by the DDI and the CIA Representatives. These have not been lifted from context but are to be found, underlined, in their memoranda which are attachments.2
2.
With regard to CIA —The IRGs have not been used, nor are they considered a proper body for the discussion of CIA operations. Nor are they used as substitutes for the weekly meetings with the regional Assistant Secretaries. The IRGs are, however, considered a unique forum where relevant intelligence can be brought to the attention of the policy-makers—particularly that intelligence dealing with communist penetration and subversion. Moreover, the IRGs keep the CS Division Chiefs informed on regional situations and USG operational problems, permitting CIA to identify, in broad terms, requirements and policy support for covert action proposals and to target its operations more selectively. Further, the IRGs provide CIA with a formal representation at a reasonable level in the councils where inter-agency problems and some foreign policy questions are reviewed.
3.
In general—The IRGs are believed to be a useful instrument for the consideration of inter-agency problems and some short-term foreign policy problems. There is recognition that there are limits to what the IRGs can accomplish and that they cannot usurp the policy-making responsibility of the Department of State. At a minimum, however, problems considered by the IRGs—even those without measurable results—are believed to be better understood by the members as a result of the IRG discussions.

Attachment3

[Page 214]

Memorandum From the Chief of the Near East and South Asia Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Critchfield) to the Clandestine Services Special Group Officer ([name not declassified])

SUBJECT

  • Implementation in the Near East and South Asia of NSAM 341 Creating the SIG and the IRG

REFERENCE

  • CS/SGO Memorandum, 26 October 1966, Subject: The Senior Interdepartmental Group4
1.
In terms of theory of organization and management, NSAM 341 offers a solution that is significantly better than any of the arrangements which have been used since WW II. In both intelligence and counterinsurgency matters it offers a distinctly advantageous arrangement for the Central Intelligence Agency.
2.
Role of the Interdepartmental Regional Group (IRG)
a.
In theory the IRG offers CIA:
(1)
official representation at the regional level in USG foreign policy councils.
(2)
a forum, a mechanism and the occasion (IRG meeting) to place before the IRG relevant intelligence.
(3)
a forum for the timely consideration of evidence of communist subversion and penetration of friendly or neutral countries.
(4)
an appropriate forum at the right level of the USG for consideration of The U.S. Overseas Internal Defense Program, i.e., counterinsurgency measures.
(5)
a mechanism which permits and encourages a closer integration of the intelligence function into the formulation of foreign policy.
b.
In practice, the IRG/NEA has:
(1)
been the forum in which every significant short-term policy problem in the Near East and South Asia has been considered since the issuance of NSAM 341.
(2)
provided a forum—unique in my ten years as a Division Chief of the Clandestine Services—for focusing the attention of policy makers on available relevant intelligence.
(3)
provided CIA official representation in the policy-making councils for the Near East and South Asia.
(4)
provided the Departments and Agencies represented on the IRG/NEA with an official channel for taking the initiative in proposing to the Assistant Secretary of State timely consideration of specific problems.
(5)
provided a forum in which the CS Division Chief can establish, in broad terms, the existence of requirements and policy support for covert action proposal separately submitted to the 303 Committee. (Covert action operations and sensitive intelligence matters such as “facilities” have been alluded to but not discussed in IRG/NEA.)
3.
NSAM 341 has, as a by-product, stimulated a high degree of cooperation between the CS Division Chief, who represents the Agency, and the elements of the Agency responsible for intelligence production. I am confident this can evolve into an effective arrangement, at the regional level, for ensuring that intelligence production is efficiently geared to policy making. It is inevitable that CIA will present, as we gain experience with the IRG, more integrated intelligence appraisals to the policy-makers.
4.
We have not yet evolved within CIA an adequate arrangement for relating IRG activity to that of the SIG. This is partly attributable to the fact that NSAM 341 has not, at the SIG level, been vigorously implemented.
5.
I am aware that the implementation of NSAM 341 has varied greatly in the different regions. Also, I have the impression that my decidedly positive views on the theory and practice of the provisions of NSAM 341 are not fully shared by my colleagues. I do, however, feel strongly that CIA, as an organization, can benefit by participation in and support of this organizational arrangement. If for no other reason, the IRG seems to me the proper customer for intelligence dealing with communist penetration, subversion, covert political and paramilitary actions and potential limited wars—the particular mission given the IRG in the final two paragraphs of NSAM 341.
James H. Critchfield

Attachment5

[Page 216]

Memorandum From the Chief of the European Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency ([name not declassified]) to the Clandestine Services Special Group Officer ([name not declassified])

SUBJECT

  • The Senior Interdepartmental Group

REFERENCE

  • Memorandum dated 26 October 1966, same subject
1.
The undersigned believes that the European IRG is somewhat atypical in that it has only met a half dozen times since its formation. This can be explained in part by the protracted illness of Assistant Secretary Leddy which kept him out of the Department for many months. However, the more fundamental reason is probably the fact that the European IRG cannot function in the same way as other regional IRGs, namely as a decision-taking body.
2.
The problems confronting the United States in Europe are in many ways different from those with which we are faced in other parts of the world. Europe is an area of developed cultures generally similar to our own, and for that matter much older than our own. We are allied with most of the governments concerned. There exist economic relationships in depth and in several instances the nationalities or groups of nationalities constitute important political minorities in the United States. The senior officials of our government are either familiar with the region by indirect exposure or by direct personal travel. Many of the leading European politicians and officials are personally broadly acquainted in Washington at the senior levels of our government. The European area is militarily stable, the United States maintains major military elements there and enjoys military base rights which are critical to U.S. national security.
3.
Given the above circumstances, there are very few problems arising which require interdepartmental coordination and which at the same time are subject to the decision-making process or even the advisory process at as low a level as the Assistant Secretary. Rather, the great majority of significant problems are hammered out by extensive exchanges at the Secretary and Under Secretary level or even by consultation between the Chief Executives involved. Those issues which are left over for possible examination [Page 217]by the European IRG prove more often than not to be highly specialized and of interest to not more than two agencies among the membership of the committee.
4.
Accordingly, the European IRG has not constituted an instrumentality assisting the solution of any of EUR Division’s problems, nor has it appeared to be either a desirable or effective forum for the tabling of EUR-produced intelligence. Finally, EUR has not been called upon by the group to provide intelligence backup for any matter so far examined by the group. In short, EUR has not found the group a problem, nor has it gained any benefit from it.
[name not declassified]
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry, Job 80–R01580R, SIG. Secret. The report was forwarded to Helms by Clandestine Services Special Group Officer [name not declassified] under cover of a memorandum dated November 25, 1966. (Ibid.)
  2. Attached are memoranda from five CS Division Chiefs and the Deputy Director of Current Intelligence.
  3. No classification marking.
  4. Not found.
  5. Secret.