266. Memorandum From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Kohler)1
- Draft Revision of NSC 5412
As we agreed orally, INR has drafted a revision of NSC 5412 which is attached (Tab A), in response to Walt Rostow’s memorandum of March 29, 1967.2
I also attach a question-and-answer sheet discussing the changes in the draft, as compared with NSC 5412 (Tab B), and a tabular comparison of the texts of both versions (Tab C).3
As stated in Tab B, there would appear to be four reasons for revising NSC 5412:
- To make its language accord with the text and spirit of the report of the President’s Review Committee;
- To deal more explicitly with the risks, consequences, and alternatives of covert operations;
- To plug loopholes;
- To get rid of anachronistic cold-war language.
There are admittedly disadvantages to undertaking a revision. A good deal of discussion and inter-agency negotiation will be necessary, probably in an amount disproportionate to the objective. On balance, however, I think it would be advisable to try it. At least twice before, revisions of NSC 5412 were seriously considered. Not to revise it now, when the whole question of covert operations is under review in public as well as in private, might be hard to explain at some later time. Moreover, there seems to be no more promising time to make needed revisions.4
I realize that, as pointed out in the 303 meeting on April 7, CIA’s platter is rather full at the moment. I would therefore suggest that we consider [Page 576]handing copies of the attached draft to Walt Rostow, Cy Vance, and Dick Helms, suggesting that it be discussed at a convenient future time.
- Source: Department of State, INR/IL Files, CA-Coordination and Review. Top Secret; Sensitive. The memorandum is an unsigned copy marked “Number 3 of 6 copies, Series A.”↩
- Tab A is printed below. Rostow’s memorandum to Rusk stated: “In view of the President’s acceptance of the Katzenbach Committee report on CIA covert support of private organizations, we should proceed promptly to revise the now outdated National Security Council Paper 5412/2, dated December 28, 1955.” (Johnson Library, NSAMs, NSAM 303)↩
- Tabs B and C are attached but not printed.↩
- NSC Directive 5412 was not revised during the Johnson administration.↩
- See footnotes 5 and 6, Document 263.↩