269. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Plans of the Central Intelligence Agency (Karamessines) to All Staff Chiefs and Division Chiefs 1

DD/P 7–4201


  • Criteria for 303 Committee Submissions


  • [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] 20 May 19662
Recent developments require that the Clandestine Services look more carefully at what operational programs or activities should be submitted to the 303 Committee. The 303 Committee and its predecessor Special Group were established by a National Security Council Directive to be comprised of designated representatives of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the President, for the purpose of acting as the normal channel for giving policy approval in advance of major covert programs initiated by the CIA, as well as for securing coordination of support for such programs among the Departments of State and Defense and the CIA. Under the terms of the NSC Directive, specifically excluded from the Committee’s consideration are operations involving armed conflict by recognized military forces, cover and deception for military operations, and, of special importance to CIA, espionage and counter-espionage operations.
The Katzenbach Report3 brought new submission requirements for certain [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] projects and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] programs. Mr. Rostow has recently made clear his desire that in all our political action projects we err on the side of presentation to the Committee. I have noted that the guidelines [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] may be variously interpreted by Division and Staff chiefs, with resultant unevenness in the overall scope of our submissions.
[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] is still valid, and I wish to emphasize that the amount of money involved should not be the criterion controlling submission to the 303 Committee. No Division or Staff chief should preclude submission to the Committee solely because the sum involved is small. Our paramount considerations must be the [Page 587] political sensitivity of the activity and its consistency with U.S. foreign policy.
[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] makes it quite clear that political and economic action programs involving direct or indirect action to influence or support political parties, groups or specific political leaders, including operations which use labor, youth, students, and influential military organizations as political pressure groups require 303 approval. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] also is quite explicit that resubmission to the 303 Committee will be made when operational or other developments or changes are such as to make the subject a matter for re-examination by the Committee. Previous 303 Committee authorization may not be used to justify the funding of new or different activities.
As a supplement [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and as an aid in pinpointing political sensitivity, the following are likely to require 303 Committee approval. If there is doubt about the need for policy review, you should err on the side of recommending presentation to the Committee.
Foreign politicians, both governmental and opposition, as well as certain military leaders, on the U.S. covert payroll who are used in any significant and continuing way for influence should be brought to my or the ADDP’s attention for determination as to whether the case should be submitted to the 303 Committee. Projects involving foreign officials with whom we have relationships solely for espionage will not normally be submitted to 303. In those cases where use is made of a foreign political contact and he is receiving funds both for intelligence collection and covert action purposes, the area division chief will make a recommendation to me or the ADDP for final determination.
Activity having a political influence. An activity should be judged in terms of impact on the present or future government, impact on the leadership of a political party, and influence during an election. If a functional organization is used for other than intelligence collection, organizational or training purposes, we must assume that its use involves political influence, in its broad sense.
Certain counterinsurgency programs. Where our involvement in a counterinsurgency program is limited solely to the support and improvement of the local government’s intelligence collection capability, 303 submission is not required unless special circumstances make it politically sensitive. Where our covert involvement encompasses civic action and other forms of nation building operations, 303 submission will normally be required.
Since a determination of what projects are politically sensitive obviously requires a value judgment on our part, I ask that you again review all projects which are in any way politically sensitive. I suspect [Page 588] that your review will uncover projects which have changed sufficiently to warrant submission to the Committee [2 lines of source text not declassified].
I have asked the ADDP to review such marginal cases as may exist, discuss them with you, and advise me as to any such cases requiring submission.
TH Karamessines
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/IMS Files, Job 78–06423A, US Gov’t-Special Group. Secret.
  2. Not found.
  3. See Document 260.