260. Editorial Note

On February 14, 1967, Ramparts magazine published full-page advertisements in the New York Times and Washington Post announcing that its March issue would “document how CIA has infiltrated and subverted the world of American student leaders over the past fifteen years” through covert ties to the National Student Association. The same day both the Times and the Post devoted front-page stories to covert CIA funding of the National Student Association. The next day the wire services, enlarging on a story in the Washington Star, carried reports that CIA was covertly supporting other youth organizations operating abroad with funds channeled through foundations.

On February 15 President Johnson appointed a committee to review the relationships between CIA and private U.S. voluntary organizations operating abroad. Composed of Under Secretary of State Katzenbach (Chairman); Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare John W. Gardner; and Director of Central Intelligence Helms, the Katzenbach Committee (as it was known) recommended in its March 29 report to the President that it “be the policy of the United States Government that no federal agency shall provide any covert financial assistance or support, direct or indirect, to any of the nation’s educational or private voluntary organizations.” For text of the public report, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pages 1214–1217. The report’s notes and appendices, which were mostly classified and not made public, are in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Ramparts-NSA-CIA. Upon receipt of the report, President Johnson stated: “I accept this committee’s proposed statement of policy and am directing all agencies of the Government to implement it fully.” (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, Book I, pages 403–404)

For documentation concerning the Ramparts exposé and its aftermath, including implementation of the Katzenbach Committee’s report and the review of coordination and policy approval for covert operations, see Documents 261, 263265, 267, 269, and 272, and the following files: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 13–2 US; ibid., Katzenbach Files: Lot 74 D 271, CIA, Rusk CIA Committee, Report of the Committee, and Katzenbach Committee; Department of State, INR/IL Files, State-CIA Relations (1957–1968), NSC 5412 (1957-Basic Document), and 303 Committee; Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Ramparts-NSA-CIA; ibid., Agency File, CIA; ibid., Confidential File, Oversized Attachments, 12/2/68, re U.S. Government and Private Voluntary Organizations; National Security Council, Special Group/303 [Page 563]Committee Files, Minutes for 1967; and Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry, Job 80–R01580R, Katzenbach Committee Report, and NSA.

In his memoir, Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA (New York: Harper & Row, 1980) pages 85–109, Cord Meyer, Jr., recounts the background of the Ramparts exposé and its consequences from his perspective as Chief of CIA’s Covert Action Staff and, after July 1967, as Assistant Deputy Director for Plans.