234. Report Prepared in the Directorate for Plans of the Central Intelligence Agency1


CIA Comments


EROP—Type Annual Reviews of CIA Operations.2

It is evident, from the tenor of their reports, that in most instances the recent EROP review of CIA programs has been of some benefit to the U.S. chiefs of missions concerned. It has, to varying degrees, provided new insights into the rationale of covert action and especially of clandestine intelligence collection. It has prompted examination and confirmation of the function and value of covert political action, and has indicated at least two broad areas in which interagency communications and activities of mutual concern can be improved. Similarly, EROP has occasioned useful discussion of these subjects at the Washington level.
It is equally evident, however, that these gains have been derived primarily from the joint discussions between ambassadors and station chiefs on the occasion of the ambassadors’ reviews of local CIA programs, and not from the meager data presented in the CCPS format. CIA shares the view, expressed by a number of mission chiefs, that the statistical data contained in the green sheets did not contribute much to useful program analysis, although some gross comparisons could be made. In part, this may have been because of the restrictive ground rules governing the selection of data. The principal reason, however, is that the CCPS grid (The Elements of the Comprehensive Country Programming System, April 15, 1965),3 although admirably designed for analysis of USIA or AID-type programs, simply does not lend itself to realistic and meaningful description of clandestine CIA activities. The very nature of clandestine operations sets them apart; their special infrastructure, interrelationships and modus operandi necessitate the most arbitrary kind of allocations to the elements of the grid. Analysis of this data can therefore be misleading and subject to misinterpretation unless carefully explained. True, new categories could be developed, [Page 515] but they would be uniquely applicable to CIA, and hence not useful for comparative analysis.
For internal CIA purposes, the EROP-type annual review has not proved to be a useful addition or modification to the present, more comprehensive and detailed annual internal review of programs conducted by the Agency. CIA programs are also subjected to exhaustive review by the Bureau of the Budget, in terms of allocation of resources. It should be noted, too, that the 303 Committee and Special Group (CI) provide for review of covert programs, whenever appropriate. Means exist also for current assessments of clandestine intelligence reporting (please see also paragraph 7, below, in this regard).
In sum, CIA recognizes a duty to keep U.S. chiefs of mission and the most senior officers in the Regional Bureaus aware, in considerable detail, of clandestine activities particularly in the political action and related fields, and by no means ignoring the policy implications of certain intelligence collection operations. To this end, periodic oral briefings and frequent discussions, including an annual summary briefing if appropriate, are preferred over an annual EROP-type review. They should provide ample opportunity to relate CIA activities to overt mission programs, and to secure the views of ambassadors and Regional Bureaus concerning CIA programs and reporting in their respective areas. These views are welcomed and given full consideration.

[Omitted here are sections 2 and 3 of the report.]

Briefing of Political Officers by CIA in Washington.
A CIA briefing in Washington on the general nature of the Agency’s operations in the country of assignment should generally be confined to the Ambassador and DCM. Any further briefing of Political Officers should be conducted in the field at the discretion of the Chief of Station, often after consultation with the Chief of Mission or Principal Officer. These additional field briefings will vary as to their nature and depth, and as to the need-to-know of the officers concerned.
A more generalized briefing, perhaps in the appropriate FSI course, may be feasible. If so, it might cover such points as the relationship of the station to Mission, its basic missions and rationale of operational methods, the wide variety of station responsibilities, problems of cover and security, and the apparent conflicts and contradictions with other, short-range U.S. Government programs.
Ambassador’s Role in Establishing the Agency’s Priorities in this Country.
The problem here is the conflict between locally and nationally established tasks and priorities. The Ambassador has at all times access [Page 516] to the station chief to discuss these matters, and the latter will keep his headquarters informed of the Ambassador’s wishes. After this, decisions must be reached as a result of examination of the problem in terms of conflicting priorities and available manpower. CIA will always see to it that an ambassador’s wishes are given full weight and consideration.
The Ambassador can also, of course, present his views and requirements to the Regional Bureau or INR for their action through Washington liaison and intelligence requirements channels.

Advance Information to Ambassadors on Covert Programs.

An ambassador will always be advised in advance of covert action operations unless otherwise stipulated by the White House or Secretary of State and normally these operations would not be submitted for approval without prior joint discussion in the field. The Ambassador will be advised in general terms or in detail, depending on his individual interest in the program. In most cases, ambassadors would also be advised of CIA intelligence targets or objectives, although usually without the operational detail which would identify sources or potential sources. Ambassadors are provided the information product, of all operations which affect their missions. The station chief must exercise his good sense and discretion in apprising his ambassador of those intelligence operations or proposed initiatives which are politically sensitive and could adversely affect the Mission.

[Omitted here are sections 7–9 of the report.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/IMS Files, Job 78–3805, US Govt-Interagency Correspondence. Secret. The report was forwarded to Richard Barrett of the Department of State by Desmond FitzGerald under cover of a September 29 memorandum.
  2. For the establishment of EROP, see Document 33.
  3. Not found.