277. Memorandum by President Johnson 1

MEMORANDUM TO

  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

SUBJECT

  • The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Effort

Pursuant to my appointment of General Maxwell D. Taylor to serve as Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, as [Page 603]successor to Secretary Clark M. Clifford, I wish to emphasize the importance which I attach to the foreign intelligence function in government and to the mission of the Board. In this period of rapid political and economic change, the operation of government is more dependent than ever before on reliable, timely intelligence leading to a wise evaluation of the world situation. Under the coordination and guidance of the Director of Central Intelligence, all members of the U.S. foreign intelligence community contribute to this essential service.

I shall continue to look to the Board for a continuous review and assessment of all aspects of the activities of the foreign intelligence community and shall expect to receive recurrent recommendations from it for strengthening the effectiveness of these activities.

In accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 10938 of May 4, 19612 and of my memorandum of October 19, 1965 on this same subject,3 I wish the Board to be able to assure me at all times of the quality, responsiveness and reliability of the intelligence which reaches the decision-makers of Government. To assist it in this mission, I ask the heads of Departments and Agencies concerned to cooperate fully and freely with the Board in the discharge of its mission.

Lyndon B. Johnson
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Box 41. No classification marking. In an April 15 memorandum to President Johnson, Maxwell D. Taylor, whom the President appointed on February 23 to succeed Clark Clifford as Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, wrote that at its April 11–12 meeting the Board discussed “ways and means to discharge more effectively its responsibilities,” and its members agreed that it would be “most timely” for the President to issue a statement reaffirming the importance of the board. Taylor enclosed an undated draft memorandum that the President might send. Under cover of an April 20 memorandum to President Johnson, Rostow forwarded Taylor’s memorandum and draft statement. “In my judgment,” Rostow wrote, “a reinforcing memorandum of this type would be timely and helpful.” (Ibid.) Nevertheless, the President apparently did not act on this initiative, so Rostow forwarded it to him again under cover of a May 1 memorandum. This time Rostow added: “He (Taylor) is convinced—and I agree—that he should confer with the major users of intelligence, notably the regional Assistant Secretaries of State, to check on whether the intelligence material being generated is appropriate to their operational needs and being well and fully used. For that reason, as well as to give a general impetus to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under its new Chairman, I recommend that you go forward with this memorandum.” (Ibid.) The memorandum printed here is identical to the draft memorandum submitted with Taylor’s April 15 letter.
  2. See Document 183.
  3. Document 239.