261. Letter From Secretary of Defense Laird to Director of Central Intelligence Helms 1

Dear Dick:

Our discussions of our mutual problems at the Friday ExCom luncheon were very helpful, and I want to follow up on the suggestion that you join us periodically at our intelligence breakfast meetings. We have these breakfast meetings each Friday at seven-thirty, and while other attendance varies somewhat with the subject, Don Bennett, Noel Gayler, Al Hall, and either Dave or I (and often both) have almost invariably attended. We don’t use these meetings as decision meetings, but as a forum where a subject can be discussed informally and views exchanged. They have been most helpful in keeping us on all on the same wavelength.

I felt that you might join us, perhaps once a month, for a discussion on a particular subject in which you would be interested. We can arrange this at your convenience, and you can join in the discussion or just listen, as you feel appropriate. Al Hall runs these meetings, and will proceed along these lines if you have no objections.

On a related matter, I will soon approve the charter of our new office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence,2 and want to reaffirm to you that I regard one of his major responsibilities is to represent the Department of Defense in presenting our intelligence programs to you and to serve as a focal point for whatever support you need from us to meet the requirements that the President has asked you to [Page 591] undertake. I am sure that by working closely with you we can eliminate the need for new staff echelons and still provide you with the reviews you may need to assure yourself of the validity and priority of our programs. I know Al Hall is eager to support you, and he certainly has my full backing.

Sincerely,

Mel
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Files, Job 80–B01086A, Box 5, Folder 164, DOD. No classification marking.
  2. Document 262.