97. Letter From the Executive Director-Comptroller of the Central Intelligence Agency (White) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Crockett)1
With reference to your letter of 8 September 1966 to [less than 1 line of source text not declassified],2 we have received NSAM 341,3 particularly those parts of it which refer to “interdepartmental activities.” The latter term is not specifically defined; therefore, your desire to initiate a process of definition is understandable.
As you are aware, our collection and covert action programs are discussed regularly in considerable detail with the various regional assistant secretaries throughout the year. These briefings are designed to ensure that these programs are not only responsive to U.S. policy needs but also compatible with other ongoing programs conducted by the Department of State or other agencies over which the Department of State has some cognizance. Similar comprehensive briefings are given by our Chiefs of Station to Ambassadors. As you will recall from the EROP of last year, these evoked very favorable comments from them. Additionally, significant covert action programs and activities are reviewed in great detail by the 303 Committee. Our programs are also given detailed review by the Bureau of the Budget. Other procedures and forums for policy guidance or review, such as the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), similarly provide opportunities for review of our programs.
Concern for the protection of sensitive CIA overseas activities and programs is a continuing one. Indeed, this concern was the basis for the decision to create the 303 Committee and its predecessor, the Special Group.
Since the conceptual basis for a Foreign Affairs Programming System (FAPS) has not yet been established, I think it would serve no useful purpose for the Agency to go into the matter of defining what is or is not “interdepartmental” at this time. We note in this connection that the special status of the Intelligence Community was recognized in numbered paragraph 1 of NSAM 341. We would therefore prefer to [Page 204] withhold comment on the manner and degree to CIA participation in a FAPS until we have an opportunity to examine the concept and the concrete proposals flowing from it that may be generated by the Inter-Agency Group and the Hitch Advisory Group.