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191. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee of the United States Intelligence Board (Hughes) to the Chairman of the United States Intelligence Board (Colby)1

SUBJECT

  • Intelligence Value of Project MATADOR 2

REFERENCE

  • USIB–D–72.1/133

1. The Ad Hoc Committee has reviewed the intelligence justification for Project MATADOR. This review was conducted in light of the recovery attempt made in August 1974 and the consequent disposition of G–722 hull segments in the new debris field. The review also considered [5 lines not declassified]

2. The Committee found that there have been no significant intelligence developments since the last Board assessment in May 19744 which would detract from the unique intelligence potential of equipment believed to be aboard the original MATADOR target. Although the recognized value of all items will have decreased slightly by summer 1975, our basic priorities and estimate of overall gain from acquisition of equipment and documents have not changed measurably.

3. The Committee conclusions as to the relative value and condition of G–722 components in the new debris field are based on the following:

a. The target is now broken [3 lines not declassified]

b. Some equipment and documents, apparently spilled from the target vehicle during the recovery attempt, are dispersed throughout the debris field. None is specifically identifiable at this time.

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c. The current location and condition [less than 1 line not declassified] are unknown. [2 lines not declassified]

4. In light of these new developments, the Committee re-examined the five major categories which were believed to represent the more significant acquisitions potentially derivable from the original MATADOR target.

a. Cryptographic machines and related documents: This category was one of the primary justifications for the original MATADOR project. [21 lines not declassified]

b. Nuclear warheads and related documents: [8 lines not declassified]

c. The SS–N–5 missile: [8 lines not declassified]

d. Navigation and fire control systems: [11½ lines not declassified]

e. Sonar and other naval equipment: [5½ lines not declassified]

5. On the basis of the foregoing, the Committee concludes:

a. There are items of high intelligence value in the new debris field that are potentially recoverable.

b. The [less than 1 line not declassified] is more likely to contain items of highest intelligence value [1½ lines not declassified]

The Committee recommends that this section be accorded priority if recovery of either hull section is attempted.

John T. Hughes 5 Chairman
Ad Hoc Committee
  1. Source: National Security Council Files, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, MATADOR, 1975. Top Secret; [codewords not declassified]; MATADOR; [codeword not declassified]. Under a covering memorandum, November 11, Lowe forwarded the memorandum to USIB members “for Board review of the intelligence value which would warrant consideration of another MATADOR mission based on the conclusions in paragraph 5 of Mr. Hughes’ memorandum.” Lowe continued, “The DCI wishes by close of business on 11 November Board concurrence in, or other views on, another MATADOR mission, specifically from the viewpoint of intelligence requirements.” (Ibid.)
  2. MATADOR was the codename for the second mission by the Hughes Glomar Explorer to recover the sunken Soviet submarine.
  3. Not found.
  4. See Document 185.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears Hughes’ typed signature and an indication that he signed the original.