6. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Schlesinger to All Central Intelligence Agency Employees1

1. Recent press reports outline in detail certain alleged CIA activities with respect to Mr. Howard Hunt and other parties.2 The presently known facts behind these stories are those stated in the attached draft of a statement I will be making to the Senate Committee Appropria[Page 8]tions on 9 May.3 As can be seen, the Agency provided limited assistance in response to a request by senior officials. The Agency has cooperated with and made available to the appropriate law enforcement bodies information about these activities and will continue to do so.

2. All CIA employees should understand my attitude on this type of issue. I shall do everything in my power to confine CIA activities to those which fall within a strict interpretation of its legislative charter.4 I take this position because I am determined that the law shall be respected and because this is the best way to foster the legitimate and necessary contributions we in CIA can make to the national security of the United States.

3. I am taking several actions to implement this objective:

—I have ordered all the senior operating officials of this Agency to report to me immediately on any activities now going on, or that have gone on in the past, which might be construed to be outside the legislative charter of this Agency.

—I hereby direct every person presently employed by CIA to report to me on any such activities of which he has knowledge. I invite all ex-employees to do the same. Anyone who has such information should call my secretary (extension 6363) and say that he wishes to talk to me about “activities outside CIA’s charter.”

4. To ensure that Agency activities are proper in the future, I hereby promulgate the following standing order for all CIA employees:

Any CIA employee who believes that he has received instructions which in any way appear inconsistent with the CIA legislative charter shall inform the Director of Central Intelligence immediately.

James R. Schlesinger
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Schlesinger Papers, Box 18, CIA. Administrative; Internal Use Only.
  2. On May 8, amid ongoing public speculation over CIA involvement in the June 1972 break-in at the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, syndicated newspaper columnist Jack Anderson reported that accused Watergate burglars E. Howard Hunt and James McCord, both former CIA agents, and G. Gordon Liddy, had used false identification authenticated by the CIA in operations against the Democrats. (Jack Anderson, “CIA Reportedly Set Up Watergate IDs,” Washington Post, Times Herald, May 8, 1973, p. B15) The day before, May 7, chairmen of three separate Senate and House committees announced plans to investigate allegations of CIA involvement in a September 1971 White House-directed burglary of a psychiatrist treating former RAND corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg. Earlier that year, Ellsberg leaked the classified 7,000-page report, United States–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Report by the Department of Defense, known as the Pentagon Papers, to the New York Times. On May 8, the Washington Post reported DCI Schlesinger’s confirmation that CIA equipment had been used by Hunt and Liddy in the Ellsberg burglary, an operation authorized by the then-DDCI, General Robert E. Cushman, Jr. (Laurence Stern, “Hill to Probe CIA Link to Break-In,” Washington Post, May 8, 1973, p. A1)
  3. Not found attached. In his May 9 testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee investigating the Intelligence Community’s involvement in the Pentagon Papers case, Schlesinger stated that the CIA had been “insufficiently cautious” in providing materials to White House adviser John D. Ehrlichman for use in the Ellsberg burglary. Schlesinger testified that Ehrlichman telephoned Cushman seeking assistance for the operation, led by Hunt, and that Cushman directed that “appropriate technical assistance” be given to Hunt on July 23, 1971. (Marjorie Hunter, “C.I.A. Head Admits ‘Ill-Advised Act,’” New York Times, May 10, 1973, p. 1) Two days later, Cushman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he reported his actions to then-DCI Richard Helms, who “assented to what I had done.” (Marjorie Hunter, “Cushman Says Helms ‘Assented’ to C.I.A. Aid to Hunt for Break-In on Coast,” ibid., May 12, 1973, p. 14)
  4. Signed July 26, 1947, the National Security Act of 1947 (50 USC 401) is the basic legislative charter of the CIA. Section 102 of the Act defines the positions of the Director and the Deputy Directors; Sections 103 and 104 outline the DCI’s responsibilities and authorities.