160. Letter From the Director of Central Intelligence (Colby) to the Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (Anderson)1
In your letter of August 8, 1975, to the President2 you made some criticisms of last year’s National Intelligence Estimate 11–3/8–74, “Soviet Forces for Intercontinental Conflict Through 1985.” The letter is, of course, a fine example of your independent assessment of our intelligence product and advice to the President with respect to it.
Stemming from that letter, Brent Scowcroft requested my comments on certain recommendations for change in the current National Intelligence Estimate process.3 I responded to this in my letter to the President of 21 November 1975,4 a copy of which I made available to you. In this letter, I took some issue with the conclusions in your August 8, 1975, letter with respect to last year’s National Intelligence Estimate. I pointed out that I had received the August letter only on 9 September, too far along in this year’s NIE 11–3/8 process to divert the talents from that priority Estimate to respond to your August comments in detail. I suggested also that an examination of the 1975 Estimate5 might lead you to a different conclusion than you reached with respect to the 1974 Estimate.
At the same time, I believe that the statements in your August letter were so sweeping that they deserved a very specific response from our experts. I consequently requested them to develop the attached comments reflecting the statements about specific Soviet technical developments made in your August letter. I am sure we will have a chance to discuss these at our forthcoming meeting, and I believe these comments might help us to fix on specific matters at issue.
I am sending a copy of this to Brent Scowcroft, as I am concerned that the President might otherwise suffer under a very erroneous im[Page 719]pression of the accuracy and seriousness of both the 1974 and the 1975 Estimates on this important subject.
- Source: National Security Council Files, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, Box I-013, NIE Evaluation by PFIAB. Confidential. A copy was sent to Scowcroft.↩
- Document 155.↩
- Kissinger’s memorandum, signed by Scowcroft, requesting commentary from Colby is Document 156.↩
- Document 159.↩
- NIE 11–3/8–75 is Document 158.↩
- Top Secret.↩