184. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Helms’ Memorandum of Understanding re Covert Operations

The attached is, I think, an accurate reflection of what you said to Dick Helms a few days ago on covert financing. But—for the record— we need your official approval.

[Page 374]


That you approve the attached memorandum.



Approve as amended


Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency

In the course of a meeting with the President on 30 January 1969 at the White House,4 there was a discussion of the guidelines which emerged for the Katzenbach report of March 19675 concerning covert action operations. These guidelines established that:

“It should be the policy of the United States Government that no federal agency shall provide any covert financial assistance and support, direct or indirect, to any of the nation’s educational or private voluntary organizations.”

As a result of the discussion, it was agreed that the guidelines should be modified along the following lines:
In the future the restrictions of the Katzenbach guidelines would not be applied to Agency collaboration with [1½ lines of source text not declassified]
No covert financial support should be provided to American foundations or educational institutions.
Proposals for Agency operations in the area of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] will be presented to the 303 Committee for review and approval.
  1. Source: National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, NSC Files, 303/40 Committee Records, The 40 Committee. Secret.
  2. The President checked this option.
  3. Secret; Sensitive. Helms forwarded the memorandum to Kissinger under cover of a February 3 memorandum in which he stated that he thought Kissinger would “find it accurate and faithful to the understanding reached” at the January 30 meeting with the President. (National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, NSC Files, 303/40 Committee Records, The 40 Committee)
  4. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the President met with Rogers, Helms, Kissinger, and Thomas Karamessines and Cord Meyer (CIA) from 11:08 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on January 30. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files) In a telephone conversation with the President on February 4, at 5:35 p.m., concerning the January 30 meeting: “K[issinger] said Helms had reported that nothing had given his staff such a shot in the arm—first time a President took him seriously in eight years.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 359, Telephone Conversations, Chronological Files)
  5. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 1214–1217. For background information, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XXXIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; United Nations, Document 260.