200. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (Clifford)1

I thought it might be helpful if I recorded briefly one substantial reservation with respect to the draft paper on the National Reconnaissance Program which Mr. Coyne has shown me informally.2

I think it is quite important not to appear to close off the traditional responsibilities of the CIA in the broad area of research on intelligence methods, responsibilities which I believe have statutory support under the National Security Act of 1947 as amended. I share the report’s view that large-scale operations and probably large-scale development enterprises can usually be done best somewhere else, but I would be sorry to see the research role of the Agency limited to the photographic field, since it is [Page 442] possible to imagine many other aspects of information gathering in which imaginative research might be productive, and which might not be surely covered in the alternative assignments of your draft report.

To put it another way, I believe in competitive spirit at the fringes of thinking on these subjects, and I do not believe that we should neglect the fact that the Agency has been in the past, and may be in the future, a very fertile center of such work.

My other general point is that the report might usefully put more emphasis upon the second hat of the Director of Central Intelligence in all these matters. As the President’s senior intelligence officer, with certain community-wide responsibilities, the Director can and should have a very large role in setting priorities and in reviewing progress, and it should not be beyond the wit of man that in the field of intelligence there should be developed the kind of relationship between him and the Secretary of Defense which has been developed in recent years between the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense in political matters. There will always be slips and rough spots in both these relationships, but that is not an excuse for neglecting the effort. I think there would be both tactical and strategic value in emphasizing this point in this important report.

McGeorge Bundy 3
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Vol. 1. Top Secret. The memorandum was forwarded via Patrick Coyne.
  2. A reference to a draft of PFIAB’s report on NRO; the final version is Document 201.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.