270. Sixteenth Report of the Intelligence Organization of the Department of State1

A. Organizational Arrangements

The Interplay of Intelligence and Policy

With the exception of the renaming and reorientation of what is now the Office of Strategic and Functional Research (discussed below), there have been no significant changes since last year’s report2 in the over-all make-up of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, an organizational chart for which is appended as Annex A.3 Rather than discussing “organizational arrangements” in the traditional, administrative sense, this report will therefore concentrate on the functional aspect. More specifically, it will describe the way in which INR, as the particular intelligence arm of the Department of State, is organized to fulfill one of its primary responsibilities, that of making available to the Secretary of State and other policy-making officials of the Department at all levels the information and the judgments of INR and of the intelligence [Page 589] community and of bringing the fruits of the national intelligence effort to bear on the formulation and implementation of foreign policy.4

In its recent memorandum for the President on the intelligence information-handling problem,5 the Board concluded with a recommendation, calling for certain internal changes in the Department of State, which suggests a concern on the part of the Board that intelligence is seriously divorced from operations in the Department. It is with this apparent concern in mind that we have thought it timely to prepare for the Board this discussion of the principal mechanisms by which INR makes its work usable by its “customers.”

There are basically two such mechanisms, and the Board is generally familiar with the first—the production by INR of finished intelligence, primarily in the form of “Intelligence Notes” and “Research Memoranda.” These products provide support at three levels: essential background information on foreign policy developments and problems, analytical judgments based on continuing study of all information available to the intelligence community, and estimative projections into the future. Often they give the Secretary a viewpoint different from that of the regional bureaus charged with policy responsibility, thus confirming the rationale for the existence of a separate intelligence organization within the Department.

Less well known, it would seem, is the second major mechanism, and this report presents a fuller description of it than has been provided in previous years. It may be a failure to clarify the various aspects of the rather extensive intelligence briefing mechanism in the Department that accounts in part for what we have interpreted as a manifestation of concern on the part of the Board. For it is this highly personalized, extremely flexible briefing process that in fact drives home the conclusions of the intelligence process and insures that the policy maker receives the intelligence “message” by means surer than the automatic and impersonal circulation of paper.

Intelligence Briefings at State

At the opening of business each day the Director of Intelligence and Research or his Deputy gives a private, all-source briefing to the Secretary. In preparation for this briefing the Director has read and excerpted significant items from the highly-classified summary prepared the previous afternoon by INR, from CIA’s evening Situation Report on Vietnam, and [Page 590] from the morning publications of CIA, DIA, and NSA. To avoid duplication, he has read the “Staff Summary,” which is published by the Department’s own Operations Center to give the Secretary a quick reading on items of operational importance from Departmental telegrams. During the half hour immediately before the Secretary’s arrival in the Department, the Director then meets with an analyst from each of the several regional offices of INR to read and discuss with them the briefing notes they have just prepared on significant information selected from the full overnight flow of Foreign Service reports, TDCS reports, FBIS and the wire services, and NSA traffic. He is thus able to give the Secretary, in the shortest possible time and with an eye to the Secretary’s appointments calendar and a knowledge of the most immediate problems before him, a distillate of worldwide current intelligence from the entire community along with interpretative commentary, including any differences of opinion that may exist within the community.

While the Secretary is being briefed, a similar individualized briefing is being conducted for the Under Secretary. The Under Secretary for Political Affairs and the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs also receive private, all-source briefings each morning. To make possible so many nearly simultaneous briefings, INR’s briefing panel has been expanded during the past year to five officers, the Director and Deputy Director now being assisted by three ranking officers from the Bureau.

All-source or simpler intelligence briefings are also conducted at other levels in the Department throughout the day. INR’s regional office directors have standing arrangements for briefing the assistant secretaries of their counterpart regional bureaus, while nearly a score of analysts from INR regularly bring items of significance to the attention of the country directors concerned and to key officers in the functional Bureaus of the Department. Over the past several years the number of officers in the Department indoctrinated for access to special intelligence has expanded to include almost all country directors, and procedures for screening and bringing such intelligence to their attention on a timely basis have developed accordingly. Statistically, INR personnel each year conduct approximately 8,000 person-to-person special intelligence briefings within the Department. The number of ambassadors and other key personnel at overseas missions having access to special intelligence has also increased in recent years, and, as an additional means of assuring the fullest utilization of intelligence in the foreign policy process, INR analysts assist in the identification of pertinent reports for relay to the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York and to the seventy-five or eighty diplomatic missions now capable of being serviced through SSO [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] channels.

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Aside from keeping the policy officer informed, the individual briefing system has the highly important additional benefit, through discussion between briefer and briefee, of keeping INR informed of the current needs and concerns of the policy officer. INR is thus able more effectively to gear its production of “policy-oriented” research papers to known needs and interests and to relay current requests for specific information to other agencies.

To the extent possible, these regular briefings are also used for discussion of those national intelligence estimates and special studies from other agencies requiring compartmented handling, but special briefing sessions are arranged as required. Last fall, for example, the Director of INR and the INR office directors concerned met with the Secretary and about a dozen other top officials of the Department to go over the annual estimates on Soviet strategic capabilities shortly after their approval by the USIB.

In addition, numerous activities of semi-liaison, semi-briefing character further expand the effectiveness of INR in bringing intelligence into communication with policy. INR office directors attend the staff meetings of their related policy Bureaus, other officers attend meetings at lower levels, and INR country officers are required to be in contact with their operational desk officers. The relationship with S/P is particularly close and effective. The INR Deputy Director for Research attends all regular meetings of the Policy Planning Council (S/P); he takes along any INR expert appropriate to the subject under discussion, arranges for experts to attend special discussions of S/P, and insures that members of S/P are aware of the INR officers who can help them in their individual projects. The Director of the Office of Strategic and Functional Research attends meetings of the politico-military staff (G/PM). In connection with both G/PM and S/P, INR officers have participated in both of the major studies undertaken in the last two years by the State-Defense Study Group, on China and the Middle East: for the second, INR contributed one full-time member to Ambassador Holmes’ staff.

Finally, INR is becoming integrated with the mechanism of the SIG and IRGs. There is difficulty because the Department is naturally chary of crowding the sessions with its own officers. A modus operandi is, however, evolving satisfactorily. The relevant office directors keep in touch with the Bureau-IRG executive secretaries, and share in Departmental discussions of papers before the meetings. The INR Director regularly receives documentation and agenda of the SIG, and also regularly attends the briefing of the Under Secretary that takes place before each meeting of the SIG, while the SIG Executive Secretary debriefs to INR any pertinent information after the meeting. In this way INR has opportunity both to make its intelligence views heard before [Page 592] the meeting and to learn afterwards in what way it can assist in implementation of the SIG’s decisions.

These individualized briefings and personal exchanges are, of course, merely supplements to, and not substitutes for, the continuous flow of intelligence information throughout the Department. The INR Communications Center not only handles the dissemination of incoming documents within INR and of INR’s own products to other parts of the Department, to other agencies in Washington, and to overseas posts. In addition, it serves as the focal point for distribution throughout the Department of intelligence information from the other members of the intelligence community. Last fiscal year, for example, of the over 800,000 individual documents received by the Communications Center, just over half were Foreign Service reports and miscellaneous State Department publications intended for INR’s own use. The remainder were from CIA, the military agencies, and miscellaneous sources. Copies of all of these were rapidly disseminated throughout the Department.

Thus, while restrictions on the flow of intelligence information may be at the root of the belief, to which the President’s Board has apparently subscribed, that there is a schism between intelligence and operations within the Department, in actuality it is only documents containing special intelligence that do not circulate freely and promptly within the Department. Such documents are, to be sure, not left with the officials to whom they are taken for briefing; they are hand-carried to the designated recipients and immediately returned to one of the two areas in the building which meet the standards for controlling and protecting sensitive compartmented intelligence information. Given the fact that foreign diplomats, the press, and the general public have relatively free access to the entire building, it has never been considered feasible from a security standpoint to ease this admittedly cumbersome but nonetheless vital requirement. The fact remains that officers with need to know do without cavil have access to the material.

[Omitted here is the remainder of the report.]

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Files, PFIAB Materials, 1966–68. Top Secret. The report was prepared for the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and forwarded to Clifford by Hughes under cover of a November 9 memorandum. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board)
  2. Fifteenth Report of the Intelligence Organization of the Department of State, October 1, 1966. (Department of State, INR/IL Files, PFIAB Materials, 1966–68)
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. The organization, roles, and function of INR were described for the public in a 19-page pamphlet published by the Department of State in 1973, INR: Intelligence and Research in the Department of State.
  5. Dated July 20, 1967; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. X, Document 183.