65. Telegram From the Department of State to Select Diplomatic Posts1

257648. For Ambassador and Chief of Station from Secretary and DCI. Subject: Relations with the Central Intelligence Agency. Ref: CA–6693 dated December 17, 1969; State 256085.2

1. The President has approved the following instruction which reaffirms the responsibility of U.S. Ambassadors for the direction, coordination, supervision and support of the activities and programs of every element of their Missions, including specifically the activities of the CIA, and provides guidance for them and their Chiefs of Station in the discharge of their responsibilities. A strong and effective intelligence service is essential in maintaining the security of the United States and in developing the knowledge necessary for the formulation of policy. In significant instances, the timely and accurate information on foreign governments or organizations that is critical to the wise and effective conduct of our foreign relations can only be acquired covertly. Ambassadors have a special responsibility to support Chiefs of Station to achieve the most effective possible intelligence program, including that directed against third country targets. This instruction, which was drafted jointly by the Department of State and CIA, supersedes CA–6693 of December 17, 1969. The Secretary of State and the Director of Central Intelligence ask Ambassadors and Chiefs of Station to use it to ensure that the intelligence activities of their Missions yield the best possible results and are conducted in conformity with United States foreign policy interests and the basic responsibilities of this government.

2. A 1974 law and 1976 executive order bear on Ambassadors’ responsibilities. PL 93–475 dated October 26, 1974, (22 USC 2603A) provides that:

“Under the direction of the President

“(1) The United States Ambassador to a foreign country shall have full responsibility for the direction, coordination and supervision of [Page 334] all United States Government officers and employees in the country, except for personnel under the command of a United States area military commander;

“(2) The Ambassador shall keep himself fully and currently informed with respect to all activities and operations within that country . . . and

“(3) Any department or agency having officers or employees in a country shall keep the United States Ambassador fully and currently informed with respect to all activities and operations of its officers and employees in that country . . .”

3. Executive Order 11905 dated February 18, 1976, provides that the Secretary of State shall “coordinate with the Director of Central Intelligence to ensure that U.S. intelligence activities and programs are useful for and consistent with U.S. foreign policy” and further shall “support Chiefs of Mission in discharging their responsibilities to direct and coordinate the activities of all elements of their missions.”

4. The Director of Central Intelligence and the Chief of Station as the DCI’s designate are responsible under the National Security Act of 1947 for protecting intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure. Executive Order 11905 also directs that the Director of Central Intelligence “ensure that appropriate programs are developed which properly protect intelligence sources, methods and analytical procedures,” as well as “the establishment, by the intelligence community, of common security standards for managing and handling foreign intelligence systems, information, and products, and for granting access thereto.”

5. CIA’s activities abroad, any or all of which may be carried out at a particular Station according to priorities established by the Director of Central Intelligence, include:

(A) The conduct of foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence collection and technical and SIGINT collection programs either independently or through liaison with local intelligence and security services;

(B) As authorized by the President, the conduct of covert action—and maintenance of the infrastructure therefor—in support of U.S. national policy (e.g., non-attributable propaganda and political, paramilitary and economic actions);

(C) The coordination of foreign intelligence, foreign counterintelligence and technical and SIGINT collection activities of other U.S. departments and agencies as authorized by the President; and

(D) The conduct of third-country operations, which have global significance.

6. Chiefs of Mission have the responsibility to express a judgment on all CIA activities in their countries of accreditation in light of U.S. [Page 335] objectives in the host country and in the surrounding areas and to provide assessments thereon to Washington. To enable them to discharge this responsibility, Chiefs of Station—unless CIA has been specifically exempted from this responsibility by the President or the Secretary of State—are required to keep Chiefs of Mission fully and currently informed about all CIA programs and activities carried out in their countries of accreditation. For example, the Chief of Station will:

(A) Inform the Chief of Mission well in advance of the initiation of any intelligence activities directed against objectives in the host country;

(B) Identify prior to contact host-country officials of rank equivalent to U.S. Assistant Secretaries and above whom Station personnel propose to meet inside or outside the host country;

(C) Brief the Chief of Mission in advance, in accordance with arrangements they may make, on contacts inside or outside the host country with nationals of the host country of political importance;

(D) Identify to the Chief of Mission individuals and organizations within the host country with which CIA maintains covert relationships and with which he and senior Embassy officers that he may designate have official contacts;

(E) Brief only the Chief of Mission on the number of nonofficial cover officers who are not identified to the host country as CIA employees, and on the relationship of their assignments to the Station’s operational program, but identify such personnel only if the Ambassador is likely to have continuing personal contact with them. The Chief of Mission only will be informed on TDY travel to the host country of officers under nonofficial cover who will not be identified to the host country as CIA employees. Nonofficial cover officers who are identified to the host government as CIA employees and the relationship of their assignments to the Station’s operational activities will be included in briefings of the Chief of Mission. Deputy Chiefs of Mission and other Embassy personnel will be informed only in exceptional circumstances.

(F) Obtain the Chief of Mission’s advance clearance for visits by CIA personnel under official cover for official purposes to the host country; and

(G) Inform the Chief of Mission about activities against third country targets in detail sufficient to permit him to assess the effect discovery would have on U.S. relations with the host country.

7. The Chiefs of Mission’s main concern will be with the overall effect of CIA activities on U.S. relations with the country of accreditation rather than with operational details or the identity of specific sources or methods. The Chiefs of Station are to review with the Chiefs of Mission all non-administrative communications to and from the Station except for those messages or parts of messages which would reveal [Page 336] sources and methods. If a Chief of Mission feels the need for more detailed or specific information to assess political risks or the substance of a critical substantive report, he may request it. If a Chief of Station believes he should not furnish this additional information, both parties should immediately report the matter to the Department of State and to the CIA for resolution. If a Chief of Mission believes a CIA activity might impair U.S. relations with the country of accreditation, he is authorized to suspend the activity pending action in Washington.

8. It is the responsibility of the Chief of Mission to ensure that the full reporting potential of all components of his mission is realized and that they contribute to the information reporting process on a continuing basis. The information which the U.S. Government needs to fulfill its intelligence needs can frequently be derived from open and overtly handled sources and contacts. Fullest possible exploitation of these has the advantage of limiting the need for covert intelligence collection and ensuring that sensitive operations and personnel are concentrated on the highest priorities. In addition to exercising his coordination role as stated in paragraph 5C above, the Chief of Station should be prepared to give the Chief of Mission his views on how all aspects of the Mission’s reporting contribute to the intelligence process.

9. This directive is addressed to Chiefs of Mission in their role as Ambassadors responsible to the President and the responsibilities and authorities set forth herein are not delegable except in the prolonged absence of the Chief of Mission. In his absence these responsibilities devolve upon the Charge. The Department of State will assure that Deputy Chiefs of Mission have the necessary security clearances and are fully briefed to discharge these responsibilities with regard to the intelligence mission. To the extent that the Chief of Mission deems necessary, after consultation with the Chief of Station as the representative of the DCI, the Deputy Chief of Mission should be kept informed of the Station’s activities.

10. The views of Chiefs of Mission on any matters affecting the Station’s relationships with their mission may also be discussed with senior Foreign Service inspectors, who will have been briefed by CIA in Washington.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Under Secretary for Management (M), 1977–1978, Box 6, Chron November 1977. Secret; Roger Channel. Drafted by Saunders; cleared in draft by Vance, Turner, Read, and Wells; approved by Habib. Telegram was sent to select diplomatic posts [text not declassified]. The original is attached to a covering memorandum from Joan Clark to Benjamin Read, November 10.
  2. CA–6693 is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 311. Telegram 256085 to all diplomatic posts, October 26, 1977, transmitted Carter’s letter outlining “the authority and responsibilities of Chiefs of Mission.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770394–0548)