224. Letter From Director of Central Intelligence McCone to President Johnson1

Dear Mr. President:

On January 16, 1962, President Kennedy addressed a letter to me outlining his views as to how I should discharge the responsibilities of Director of Central Intelligence.2

He wished me to concern myself with the entire Intelligence Community by coordinating and providing effective guidance to the community as a whole. To do this, he suggested that the Deputy Director serve more or less as a general manger of CIA, thus relieving me of the burden of responsibilities within the Agency. I believe President Kennedy’s views [Page 501] as expressed in the letter developed from the advice given to him by individuals or committees who investigated Intelligence Community activities during the first year of his Administration.

I have followed the instructions in this letter. General Carter has represented CIA on the United States Intelligence Board and thus I, as Chairman, could serve the broad interests of the Intelligence Community. Also, General Carter has carried much of the detailed operation of CIA.

This has worked very well. I believe that the Community has benefited from the results of coordination and certainly the Intelligence Board has been both more active and more effective because of these arrangements.

I recommend to you that you issue to Admiral Raborn a similar letter, assuming of course that you agree with the concept of the DCI as expressed in the January 1962 letter. This letter, a copy of which is attached,3 was carefully coordinated with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs before issuance.

Respectfully yours,

John A. McCone 4
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Job 80–B01285A, DCI Meetings with the President. No classification marking.
  2. Printed in Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XXV, Document 99. In January 1964 McCone sought to get President Johnson to reconfirm the Kennedy letter. According to a set of “Notes for the DDCI,” January 14, 1964, drafted by H. Knoche, the “DCI decided on his own he would seek such a confirmation and left with the President one day last week a copy of the Kennedy letter. The President told DCI he would go to work on this.” However, there is no indication the President officially reconfirmed the letter. (Ibid., Executive Registry, Job 80–B01676, Daily Notes for DCI)
  3. Not attached.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.