209. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Discussion with Mr. Clark Clifford at luncheon—14 July 1964

A large part of the discussion centered around recent political developments, the evolving situation in San Francisco,2 Clifford’s views on the dangerous aspects of the Republican platform, the preoccupation of the President with political matters including the selection of a Vice President and a variety of related subjects.

With respect to NRO, Clifford had read my communications to Bundy and McNamara.3 He was not willing to concede President’s Board’s report should be modified. However he did state that his role was advisory to the President and that neither he nor the Board felt they were in any way involved in the implementation of the recommendations of the report. He further stated that after some discussion of NRO problems, there appeared to be some problems within the Pentagon between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force and these issues were not considered by the Board as they were not within the province of the Board’ s competence. I explained to Clifford the course of action agreed to with Bundy last night, as outlined in my memorandum of this morning.4

I briefly reviewed the Dillingham matter5 and the issue that had arisen with Senator Symington so that Clifford would be informed [Page 464] because of his intimate personal relationship with the Senator. Clifford expressed appreciation of knowing the background of this issue with Symington as he was convinced Symington would bring the matter to his attention at some future time.

There followed a long discussion of the organization of the Office of Director of Central Intelligence. Clifford said that he had proposed in 1961 that the DCI, as principal intelligence officer to the President, be separated from his intimate relationship with CIA and thus he could render more effective assistance to the President and also could more effectively give guidance to the community as a whole. He said that at one point at a special Board meeting, he had made such a proposal to Allen Dulles, then DCI, but Dulles absolutely refused to consider any such plan. I said there might be considerable merit in such a plan but it presented a difficulty because the DCI was so heavily dependent upon CIA for staff support. In effect, CIA was the DCI’s only staff and organization and I pointed out that the original legislation provided that CIA be the coordinating agency within the intelligence community and that this role had been transferred to DCI with the passage of time.

I then made the point that perhaps the DCI should be the executive agent of all national intelligence resources, i.e. NSA, NPIC, NRO and AFTAC with an organizational arrangement that operational management of these agencies would rest with CIA and Defense. Furthermore I pointed out that CIA was the only unit which could be considered as completely objective with no “axe to grind” or no parochial interests outside of intelligence. I said this was particularly true of the DDI side of the house and it might be that parochialism might, in time, enter into the thinking of DD/S&T and DD/P.

Clifford asked if I would give some thought to a practical operational plan along the above lines as he felt the existing arrangement was not a good one and did not represent a precise and therefore satisfactory plan of organization.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Job 80–B01285A, DCI McCone Memo for the Record. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by McCone.
  2. Presumably a reference to the Republican National Convention, held in San Francisco in July.
  3. See footnotes 3 and 4, Document 208.
  4. Not found.
  5. Not further identified.