239. Memorandum From President Johnson1


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board


  • Foreign Intelligence Activities of the United States

The interests of national defense and security require sustained effort on the part of the intelligence community to support me and other officials having policy and command responsibilities. It is therefore my desire that priority attention be given to ways and means of strengthening the Government’s capabilities in the foreign intelligence and related fields through concerted action to improve the organization, conduct and effectiveness of the major intelligence-related programs in which U.S. departments and agencies are engaged. Efficient management and direction of the complex activities which make up the total foreign intelligence effort are essential to meet day-to-day national intelligence requirements, and to ensure the development and application of advanced means for the collection, processing, analysis, estimating and reporting of intelligence information. In this connection, you have already seen my letter of instruction to the Director of Central Intelligence dated September 24, 1965.

In keeping with Executive Order No. 10938, I will continue to look to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board for advice and recommendations concerning the objectives and conduct of the foreign intelligence and related activities of the United States. I shall expect represent-atives of the Board to continue the practice of making on-the-scene reviews of significant intelligence activities carried out in the United States and at appropriate locations abroad.

To facilitate the work of the Board I shall expect the heads of all departments and agencies concerned to make available to the Board any information which the Board may require for the purpose of carrying out its responsibilities to me.

Lyndon B. Johnson
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Intelligence and Handling Disclosure. No classification marking. Coyne forwarded this memorandum to McGeorge Bundy for the President’s signature under cover of a September 29 memorandum in which he stated that, unlike the President’s September 24 memorandum (Document 233), this one was “not controversial. It causes no new problems for State, Defense, CIA and the rest of the intelligence community. It merely reiterates the substance of President Kennedy’s older Executive Order.” Such a “restatement of the Board’s mission in this way and at this time will better enable the Board to do its job for the President.” (Ibid.)