185. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between Director of Central Intelligence McCone and the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Gilpatric)1

DCI?: Ros?

G: Good morning, John.

DCI: Good morning. You starting your last lap?2

G: Last week.

DCI: I’ll write you a letter and tell you how sorry I am. Because I really am. Really very regretful you are going, but understanding. It will be a great loss to the Govt., to the Dept. of Defense and a great loss to me personally.

[Page 411]

G: Well, that part of it is one of the hardest parts. I started in working with you when I came into this Dept. and I don’t like to—of course you preceded me out the last time—I know personally we will continue to…

DCI: Oh sure.

G: Before I do go a week from today are there any things, in your judgment, that I could address myself to together with you before then.

DCI: I would like to see if you could work out so that the continuity of the responsibility in our interdepartmental affairs would continue in your office rather than either being—rather than going to the Secretary’s office which in effect would mean that they would be in Fubini’s hands. Now Gene is—leans over backwards to do what he can but there are two things about him. One is he is volatile and in matters of management not always the—thoroughly sound and secondly, there seems to be some considerable question as to whether he has the type of authority which you need in a (pinch) to handle others who might have a statutory and presidential appointment confirmed by the Senate and all that.

G: From that point, he doesn’t have enough authority over the Air Force.

DCI: I would hope that Vance could continue on.

G: And as soon as Cy gets back from Panama, probably tomorrow, I would like for the three of us sit down—I would like to have him here and you and I discuss the things that we see that he might address himself to. It is absolutely essential that he step in and we continue to have these two offices the poles of the axis because BOB is being increasingly asked to do more things, both within and without the Dept. Well it would just work better if Cy does what I have been trying to do and there is no reason why he can’t. He’ll have to learn more about it that’s all, but we all do that. He alone, other than BOB, has the broader view. Gene Fubini obviously isn’t in on the policy aspects.

DCI: That’s right.

G: So as soon as Cy gets back one of the first orders of business I have before I leave is to—I have already gone over this with him. BOB agrees. He agrees. It is just a matter, I think, of it would be helpful if first session, the three of us meet together and we could do that this week.

DCI: All right. Good. Now, the second thing is that I have a letter from you on this USIB matter. What you say is, inclosed is a copy of the JCS position paper3 on your proposal to reconstitute the membership of USIB by removing the Service representatives. As I understand it you plan to proceed with the move after notifying the Chiefs of your intent to follow the procedures referred to in the ultimate paragraph of that paper. In my [Page 412]last letter4 I proposed that this be done but I was aghast to find out after having written that letter that Maxwell Taylor called me and said, the matter [had] never even been discussed with him. The Chiefs are opposed to it. Really your letter referring to my last letter is correct but referring to the discussions over a period of a year and one-half, this proposal was-is McNamara’s proposal. It was he who proposed the reducing of it. He has brought it up time and again only to defer it until Congress got out, knowing it was going to cause some flak which he didn’t want to take. Now,…

G: Well, Max told us, John, that—and I think the paper makes it plain, they are not fighting this. They don’t like it but they are not fighting it as long as these two conditions which you have always intended, as I understand it, are observed. One is that (dissenting) positions will be noted. There will still be footnotes, still be brackets if two or more of the Chiefs Services differ on a particular estimate which consequence you now reflect in an NIE or SNIE and secondly that on some particular issue that if they want to have a Service J–2 present when it is discussed—not as a voting member but just to be sure all issues are laid before the Board—you are willing to do that.

DCI: Of course we made that arrangement when they reorganized the NSC and removed the Service Secretaries and Service Chiefs. The first guy that came in was a unilateral protest as—Symington with his first few days he was over running the Export-Import Bank. I think there is something a little illusory about this.

G: Well, I don’t know. You have…

DCI: But I really feel this. That this is going to cause a stir up on the Hill. No question about it. I am perfectly willing to carry my end of any stir. On the other hand, this was in—this is more of an internal Defense decision than it is mine.

G: No, this really came from the Kirkpatrick report5—it is one of the unfulfilled recommendations of that report…

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DCI: But the facts of the case are, when the NSC had decided to recommend to President Eisenhower on January 18th 1961 that this particular part of the Kirkpatrick report be implemented there were two dissents. One by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and one by Allen Dulles. And he again dissented when Kennedy reconfirmed it. Because, and as far as I am concerned, I can live and benefit by those three Service Chiefs being on there forever. I can sit and argue the points with them and get something out of it. FYI: and strangely enough in this 11–14 paper6 which was the Soviet Ground Forces, I was not here during the debate, but held up until I personally approved the paper and modified it the ways I thought it should be changed in certain aspects. The real contributions came not from DIA, but came from Army and Air Force.

G: Well, whatever contributions they can make, you will get through DIA and through individual J–2 who might be heard at a particular time. All I can say is that after 3 years I feel just the way I did when jim Douglas and Tom Gates strongly urged BOB and me three years ago to go through with this particular recommendation. They urged it very strongly and they felt it would be—as soon as we had a DIA going and as soon as DIA could handle it which we think it can. We can’t make you do it, obviously, John, if you don’t want to do it, but we think it is a good thing. Apparently Eisenhower did, Kennedy did. It hasn’t come up to Johnson, but—and we are perfectly willing—BOB is perfectly willing, I won’t be here—flak that comes from it and Max Taylor has told us that other than going on record that they don’t like it. Obviously they don’t like it. They go on record with us all the time about things they don’t like. If we are going to do things they like only we would never get anywhere.

DCI: Well, I know that.

G: And this paper is so worded. They are not saying they demand to be heard by the President, the NSC, they simply say (a) we don’t like it, (b) if it goes into effect, we think [it] ought to contain these two face jobs, provisos and (c) we are going to look at it come April. They can look at it all they want and the provisos are perfectly satisfactory at least from McNamara’s and our standpoint.

DCI: Well, don’t you think then you should say that since this is an internal matter of the Defense Dept. primarily that you should recommend it to me?

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G: If you want to get some kind of a paper record here, John, but God you had this Kirkpatrick report which you voted for, you told me when you were a member of the NSC.

DCI: Yes, as a member of the Atomic Energy Commission I voted for it.

G: Well, your name was still John A. McCone and…

DCI: I don’t know whether it is anymore or not.

G: I mean—I think if you don’t agree with it now, in your present position, you ought to say so, but I understood you were in favor of it and you were holding it up until we thought it came at a time we could live with. We can live with it now and we haven’t got so many other issues cooking that we can’t take this from Congress.

DCI: Let me take it under consideration. O.K. Ros.7

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Job 80–B01285A, DCl McCone Telephone Calls. Eyes Only. Transcribed in McCone’s office from a tape. Parentheses apparently indicate words about which the transcriber was uncertain.
  2. Gilpatric left office on January 20 and was replaced on January 28 by Cyrus Vance.
  3. Neither the letter nor the paper is further identified.
  4. McCone made the proposal to remove the intelligence chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force in a letter to the President, December 21, 1963. The change, he explained, was “warranted in the interest of better management and more effective administration” since the military services were now represented by the Director of DIA, whose agency had been “created in 1961 to coordinate and supervise all intelligence functions in the Department of Defense” (except for those under NSA). For text of the letter, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XXV, Document 114.
  5. Reference is to the report of the Joint Study Group on the “Foreign Intelligence Activities of the United States Government,” chaired by Lyman Kirkpatrick of CIA. It was prepared during 1960 and presented to President Eisenhower on December 15. A copy is at the Eisenhower Library, Records of the White House Office of Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, NSC Series, Briefing Notes, Intelligence Activities in Government, Study of. At a meeting on January 18, 1961, the National Security Council approved most of the report’s recommendations. For more information, including a discussion of reorganizing the USIB, see Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, Jr., The Real CIA (New York: Macmillan, 1968), pp. 216–232.
  6. Presumably a reference to National Intelligence Estimate 11–14–62, “Capabilities of the Soviet Theater Forces,” December 5, 1962. (Johnson Library, National Security File, National Intelligence Estimates, 11–62, USSR) For text of the summary and conclusions, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. VIII, Document 117.
  7. Regarding the reorganization of the USIB, see Document 196.