250. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1


  • Admiral Raborn’s View of Compromise on CIA Watchdog Committee

Admiral Raborn wants you to know of his very strong opposition to a compromise proposal to create a sub-committee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to receive any information it requests from the Director of Central Intelligence.2 He believes the effectiveness of the Central Intelligence Agency will be badly hurt if the new sub-committee is author-ized to get deeply into CIA’s business.

Admiral Raborn wanted you to know his views because he has learned that Senator Mansfield will be seeking an appointment with you to talk about the “compromise” proposal.3

Admiral Raborn has heard that Senator Mansfield wants to avoid a floor fight on the CIA “watchdog” issue and, therefore, is ready to recommend to you acceptance of the compromise.

Senator Russell opposes the new suggestion because he shares Admiral Raborn’s view that Fulbright’s group wants not only information, but also knowledge of sources and methods used by CIA.

Admiral Raborn said that recently he agreed to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the situation in 44 countries. However, Senator Fulbright was uninterested and insisted on being told the source of information and the methods used by CIA. When Admiral Raborn said that he was unable to make such information available, Senator Fulbright said, in effect, the Director was refusing to testify before his Committee.

Admiral Raborn understands that Fulbright is very unhappy that full information is given to Clark Clifford’s Committee and doesn’t understand why his Committee members should not be given the same treatment as the members of your Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, CIA, Vol. II. Secret.
  2. Senator Fulbright raised the issue directly with Raborn in a June 13 letter: “What I wish to know is whether a Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, created for the purpose of keeping itself informed of the activities of the CIA in fields related to the foreign policy of the United States, would be able to receive without restriction information on the same basis as that now supplied to the Subcommittees” of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees. (Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 80–B01439R, Congressional Relations, 1966–1968)
  3. See Document 251.
  4. The President wrote by hand: “Because they leak! See Dominican Rep. testimony.”