213. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Discussion with The President—22 October 1964

On 22 October I prepared to depart with Mrs. McCone to attend the funeral of Herbert Hoover, Sr. I was called by the White House and advised that the President requested specifically that we accompany him. I drove to Andrews Air Force Base and proceeded in the Presidential party to New York, to the services, and to the Presidential suite, 35A in the Waldorf, remaining there two hours, and returned with the Presidential party.

While traveling with the President I was able to discuss a number of matters with him. The principal items were:

1. The President stated that he did not know too much about CIA’s organization but he had heard from many sources that we had a great many unusually competent people in the Agency. I responded by giving him briefly my appraisal of the quality of the personnel in the Agency from the standpoint of education, intellectual qualities and continuity of service. I emphasized the objectivity of the organization, the fact it had no parochial “axe to grind” in any field most particularly those relating to foreign policy and defense policy. The Agency looked upon its responsibility as that of collecting intelligence by every possible means and evaluating our own intelligence and that gathered by all other Community members carefully and objectively. The President asked the size of the organization. I told him our budget was about [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and said we had about [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] employees. He asked about the future outlook. I said that I thought the organization was pretty well shaking down, the five-year forecast indicated no increases in personnel and the increases in the budget were minimal and attributable largely to the wage and salary increases and other escalations. I said this resulted from very careful management and that we hope to “hold the line” unless new tasks were assigned to the Agency. This would necessitate additional people and money. The President asked what part of our budget went for operational activities such as political action, paramilitary, etc., and I said about [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] out of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. This was the first [Page 473] opportunity I have had to discuss the Agency with the President. I thought he was interested and impressed.

[Omitted here is unrelated material.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, John McCone Memoranda of Meetings with the President. Secret; Eyes Only. Dictated by McCone and transcribed in his office on October 24.