189. Memorandum From Frank Chapin of the National Security Council Staff to the Deputy Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Karamessines)1


  • Oral Briefings of the 303 Committee

I refer to Item 2, Integration of Covert Actions with U.S. Policy, in the minutes of the 303 Committee meeting of 15 April 19692 and to our conversation the day following this meeting.

I believe Dr. Kissinger, in raising the point at the 15 April meeting, was expressing more than one concern. I think he is mindful that the Committee has not yet been brought fully up to date on on-going covert actions approved by the previous administration. He also is seeking reassurance that such activities do in fact have a relationship to and are in support of U.S. national objectives. Additionally, I believe he has in mind the thought that the Committee members themselves might generate ideas for covert actions in support of broad U.S. national objectives. He has several times raised these interrelated concerns.

It seems to me that in preparing an oral briefing, or briefings, as the Director suggested in the 303 Committee meeting, all of the above points should be borne in mind. I think that in briefings on any individual activity there should be stress on how that activity is supplemental to and in support of overt U.S. programs and activities designed to further U.S. objectives in the country or region concerned. I also believe that some general comments on how covert actions originate, how they are carefully coordinated and evaluated and endorsed throughout various policy levels up to and including the 303 Committee might be in order. I think Dr. Kissinger is still seeking a certain amount of reassurance that some covert operations are not devised, planned, and implemented without appropriate integration into the over-all U.S. national objectives for a given area or on a world-wide basis.

Lastly, Dr. Kissinger has more than once expressed the view that ideas for covert operations in support of broad U.S. objectives might [Page 386] well be generated within the 303 Committee forum. He has repeatedly expressed interest in receiving the “future ideas” paper which you mentioned was being worked on in the Agency in your late January 1969 briefing of him. Hence, I think he would be interested in hearing of any suggestions for future covert actions in support of U.S. policy objectives even though they might require a good deal of developmental work before they could be presented in any concrete form.

You might wish to check these impressions with the Director sometime to see if he agrees that the points cited above are what are bothering Dr. Kissinger.

Frank M. Chapin3
  1. Source: National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, NSC Files, 303/40 Committee Records, The 40 Committee. Secret.
  2. At the April 15 meeting “the Chairman raised the question of the status of a review of covert actions to make sure that they fit into and are in support of overall U.S. national policy objectives.” Helms “suggested that this might best be handled by an oral briefing and said he would arrange for such a briefing to reflect how these activities are integrated as supporting elements to U.S. policy objectives.” (Ibid., Minutes)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.