220. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Helms to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Senior Personnel
Following our conversation in your office last week, I have made certain moves and settled on some longer range plans.2 Per your request for a prompt response, I have the following forecast with related considerations to submit:

As you know, there are two Presidential appointees in this Agency, the Director and the Deputy Director. Otherwise, there are six principal operating positions at what we call the Deputy Director level: The Deputy who deals on my behalf with the intelligence community, the Chairman of the Board of National Estimates, and the four Deputy Directors for Intelligence, Plans, Science and Technology, and Support. The individuals holding three of these positions will be changed within the next three to four months: John Bross, who has been dealing with the intelligence community, will be replaced by Bronson Tweedy (Ambassador Annenberg wrote me when [1 line of source text not declassified] “I feel that he is a most outstanding public servant of which our country should be proud.”)3 Abbot Smith will be replaced by John Huizenga, who should bring to the national estimates process a new, more imaginative look.4 Robert Bannerman who has headed all our Support (administrative) activities, will turn over to John Coffey, a [Page 477] younger, thoroughly dedicated officer of long service.5 During 1971, R. Jack Smith, the Deputy Director for Intelligence, will be reassigned, the pace of movement being determined by my ability to arrange some of the complicated moves involved.6 Tom Karamessines wants his incumbency reviewed at the end of 1971, but no decision has been made to move him unless he insists for reasons of health.7 This leaves Carl Duckett, who is forty-seven and who was picked in April 1967 for his job as Deputy Director for Science and Technology after I had conducted an intensive manhunt all over the country for an appropriate incumbent—an individual who had the required skills but would not pose problems of conflict of interest, scientific bias and those other vulnerabilities with which you are so familiar. Carl is energetic and effective, handles congressional committees with skill, and is running an imaginative shop in a difficult area. I would intend to keep him on.8 Other officers just below this top operating level but working in support of General Cushman and myself will be up for reassignment or retirement during the year 1971. In sum, virtually the entire top level of the Agency will have seen changes within the next year or so.

You will appreciate that the foregoing information is highly delicate, because some of the changes are not as yet known to the individuals involved. As you can understand in an Agency such as this, personnel matters must be handled with uncommon care and sensitivity if one is to maintain a high state of morale and dedication. There are no laws in this country with teeth enough to punish the mishandling of classified information short of intentional trafficking with the enemy. Thus tight security and the frustration of penetration attempts by foreign agents are dependent on the loyalty, discipline, and state of mind of the employees. Our professional career service must be managed with these and many other considerations in mind. Hence, I need time to make certain of the moves indicated above.
In this general connection, you should be aware that we are retiring all of our officers, with very few exceptions, at age sixty. This is being done to make head-room for the younger generation, to keep the Agency as limber mentally and physically as possible, and to insure the internal shifting, both vertically and laterally, which gives health and resilience to an organization. Further, I have been reducing the total manpower of the Agency over the last few years and will continue to do so. That plus reductions in overseas positions brought about by BALPA and OPRED tend to cut the other way by making for less [Page 478] flexibility in range of assignments. Be that as it may, we are headed on what we believe to be the course the President has designated.
I will expand orally to you on some of the points discussed above. This memorandum is an effort to place the basic plan in your hands promptly.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files, Job 80–B01285A, Box 13, Folder 6, DCI Helms Chron, 7/1/70–12/31/70. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Kissinger met with Helms on Friday, December 4, from 2:37 to 3:05 p.m. (Library of Congress, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–1976, Record of Schedule)
  3. Tweedy replaced Bross as Deputy to the DCI for National Intelligence Programs Evaluation on January 25, 1971.
  4. Huizenga replaced Smith as Chairman of the Board of National Estimates on April 17, 1971.
  5. Coffey replaced Bannerman as Deputy Director for Support on January 1, 1971.
  6. Edward Proctor replaced Smith as Deputy Director for Intelligence on May 15, 1971.
  7. Karamessines remained Deputy Director for Plans until February 27, 1973.
  8. Duckett remained Deputy Director for Science and Technology until June 1, 1976.