140. Minutes of the First Meeting of the National Intelligence Authority0


  • Members Present
  • Secretary of State James F. Byrnes
  • Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson
  • Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal
  • Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Personal Representative of the President
  • Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers, Director of Central Intelligence
  • Also Present
  • Mr. H. Freeman Matthews, Department of State
  • Mr. Davidson Sommers, War Department
  • Mr. Edward Hidalgo, Navy Department
  • Secretariat
  • Mr. James S. Lay, Jr., Central Intelligence Group

1. Proposed Policies and Procedures Governing the Central Intelligence Group (N.I.A. 1)1

Secretary Patterson suggested deleting the word “prior” on the 8th line of page 3, in order to make it clear that approval by the Authority was not required.

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Admiral Souers suggested that this might also be accomplished by substitution of the words “action by” for “prior reference to”. He also recommended that a period be placed after “departments” on line 4, paragraph 7, page 4, and that the remainder of the sentence be deleted.

The National Intelligence Authority:

Agreed to the following amendments in N.I.A. 1:

Substitute “action by” for “prior reference to” in line 8 of page 3.
Place a period after the word “departments” in line 4, paragraph 7 of page 4 and delete the remainder of that sentence.

2. Proposed Tentative Organization of the Central Intelligence Group (N.I.A. 2)2

Secretary Byrnes asked what paragraph 2–a on page 1 contemplated as to foreign policy. He pointed out that he is responsible for reporting to the President on matters of foreign policy.

Admiral Souers explained his understanding was that the President wanted him only to go through the dispatch traffic and make a digest of significant developments. Admiral Souers emphasized that there was no intention that he should interpret these dispatches or advise the President on any matters of foreign policy. His report was intended to be purely factual as regards the activities of the United States in the field of foreign affairs.

Secretary Byrnes stressed the fact that it was his function to furnish the President with information on which to base conclusions.

Admiral Leahy expressed his understanding that the President wanted the information from all three departments (State, War and Navy) summarized in order to keep him currently informed. Admiral Leahy pointed out that Secretary Byrnes presents the viewpoint of the Department of State while the President would like to receive significant information available in all three departments in a single summary.

Secretary Byrnes pointed out that Admiral Souers would not be presenting the viewpoint of any single department. Although the Central Intelligence Group would be composed of personnel from all three departments, Secretary Byrnes believes that any man assigned to that Group must be responsible solely to Admiral Souers.

Admiral Souers suggested that, in order to clarify the meaning of paragraph 4 on page 3, it might be reworded as follows: “Production of daily and weekly summaries of the significant developments in the field of intelligence and operations related to the national security and to foreign [Page 329] events for the use of the President, the members of this Authority, and additional distribution shown in Appendix ‘C’.”

After further discussion,

The National Intelligence Authority:

Agreed to defer final action on N.I.A. 1 and N.I.A. 2, pending further study by Secretary Byrnes.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Decimal File 1945–49, 811.002/1–2446. Confidential. The meeting was held at the Department of State.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 139.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 138.