261. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Denney) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Kohler)1


  • State-CIA Relations with Respect to Clandestine Activities

Directives on Covert Operations. NSC Directive 54122 provides for the coordination of covert operations abroad such as subsidizing student organizations, newspapers, labor unions or political parties, and establishing proprietary business organizations. It was required that CIA coordinate all such activities with the Department. INR/DDC is the unit in State through which these operations are to be coordinated.

Directives on Clandestine Collection. NSCID 5,3 originally approved in the late 1950’s, provided for notification to the Ambassador on clandestine collection activities after consultation with the Secretary of State, but despite this directive such notification took place only in rare circumstances. President Kennedy’s letter of May 29, 19614 made clear the Ambassador’s responsibility for all activities of all US agencies abroad and CIA on August 10, 19615 instructed its station chiefs to provide [Page 564] the Ambassador information on clandestine collection activities so he could judge the political risks. Normally, the State Department remains uninformed, and the question of principle as to CIA’s obligation to inform the Department remains unsettled, though the Department has not for at least 4 years sought to force the issue.

Necessities if State policy guidance is to be adequate. Adequacy of review on either covert operations or clandestine collection activities requires the following: 1. Provision by CIA of enough detail not only on the general purpose of an operation but on how it is to be carried out. 2. Timely notification i.e. well ahead of 303 or other meetings in which approvals are given. 3. Regular status reports on programs underway. 4. Full information and below the 7th floor level, i.e. INR/DDC, to insure appropriate working level coordination and staffing of proposals for the benefit of 7th floor.

Adequacy of Review Procedures for Clandestine Operations (5412)

Current procedures on 303 Committee items are not too bad except for shortness of time for staffing. INR has been concerned about what may be a trend by CIA officers to bypass INR in the Department to clear operations on a piecemeal basis with Country Directors or Assistant Secretaries. On some of these we lack adequate detail on how certain programs are to be carried out and we lack continuing review of major ongoing programs in the light of changing circumstances. The NSA story is an example.

Recommended Action:

Propose in the 303 Committee a detailed substantive review of current programs under CIA/DDP jurisdiction.
Reissue in revised form the March 16, 1956 directive from the Secretary on Special Procedures within the Department for Handling 5412 Operations. The original document is attached.6
Notify CIA through the 303 Committee of the tightening up of Departmental procedures for the handling of 5412 activities and request that their contacts with State conform to the directive.

Adequacy Clandestine Collection Review Procedures. Field coordination is not bad, although there is nearly always a current glaring exception. [8 lines of source text not declassified]

Recommended Action:

A new reminder to CIA that the President’s letter requires notification to the Ambassador on collection activities which might have political impact.
CIA has not admitted to a responsibility for clearing important clandestine collection activities in Washington. It is not easy to draw the line in these cases but we think the principle should be agreed and that we should undertake a process of developing adequate clearance procedures.

Chairmanship of the 303 Committee

Should the question of 303 chairmanship be reopened? When Mr. Bundy left the White House there was a period of doubt on the question. Since then Presidential directive establishing the SIG and the IRG’s has placed greater responsibility for policy guidance on the Department.

Other issues which might be thought about while NSA flap directs high level attention to CIA

Should State seek to review all or parts of the CIA budget? Bureau of the Budget officers charged with such duties have discussed with INR the inadequacies of the present system. No proposal for change has, however, come from BOB.
[3 lines of source text not declassified]
Should State seek review of DOD clandestine activities, rather than rely on the present system in which the DCI is supposed to coordinate DOD activities?
How much of CIA’s usefulness in the clandestine field has been impaired? Is it time for a new agency? For decentralization of such activities for existing agencies? For parallel actions by increasing confidential funds of existing agencies?
  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Files, 303 Committee, Jan-June 1967. Secret. Drafted by Denney and William McAfee of INR/DDC. The memorandum is an unsigned copy.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 263.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 221.
  4. Printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 1345–1347.
  5. See footnote 3, Document 243.
  6. Not attached, but a copy is in the Department of State, INR/IL Files, State-CIA Relations, 1957–1968.