14. Memorandum From President Ford to Director of Central Intelligence Colby1


  • Leadership and Management of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Community

I hereby affirm the responsibilities and authority charged to you as leader of the Intelligence Community in the Presidential memorandum of November 5, 1971. Much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done.2

Intelligence is of vital importance to our national security and interests. In your role as the Director of Central Intelligence, you should insure that our intelligence is of the highest quality attainable and that it supports the planning for and conduct of U.S. foreign policies and military operations. You should continue to exercise leadership in maintaining a proper balance among intelligence activities by planning and reviewing all intelligence programs and resources. Your views on intelligence activities, including tactical intelligence, should be incorporated in an annual consolidated program budget which considers the comparative effectiveness of collection programs and relative priorities among intelligence targets. Should you feel that new technology or new substantive needs make alterations in management or organization desirable, your recommendations will receive my prompt and careful attention.

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I shall expect that the heads of the departments and agencies having foreign intelligence responsibilities will cooperate with you and provide you with every assistance in fulfilling your responsibilities.

Gerald R. Ford
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Agency Files, Box 2, CIA, 5/2/74–10/17/74. No classification marking. On October 8, Kissinger and Ash forwarded a draft of the memorandum to Ford for his signature, explaining in a covering memorandum: “Personal Presidential letters that recognize the DCI’s role as the President’s principal intelligence advisor and reiterate his responsibility for coordinating U.S. intelligence activities have been customary with the last three Presidents.” Moreover, as the latter responsibility was “expanded and emphasized” by Nixon’s November 1, 1971, letter to DCI Helms and the President’s memorandum of November 5, 1971, on intelligence organization, it was “particularly important that the DCI and the other members of the Intelligence Community, particularly those in the Department of Defense, are aware that these reforms of intelligence management remain in effect and have your personal endorsement.” The November 1, 1971, letter and the Presidential memorandum of November 5, 1971, are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Documents 240 and 242. Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as President August 9, 1974. See Document 199.
  2. In his letter of response, October 11, Colby referred to this point, stating that all those in the intelligence field “recognize the truth of your charge.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Agency Files, Box 2, CIA, 5/2/74–10/17/74)