149. Memorandum From the Director of Central Intelligence (Souers) to the President’s Chief of Staff0

Attached is a brief of the biographical data of Major General Charles Hartwell Bonesteel.1 The data on which it is based was obtained from public sources and was not discussed with anyone.

There is nothing in the record of this officer to indicate that he has ever had any broad experience in intelligence matters. He has had no intelligence duties.

The N.I.A. is a new concept in intelligence which requires a breadth of view and a deep understanding of the entire field on the part of the Director of Central Intelligence. The officers in the various departments engaged in this activity on the working level are generally experts in their spheres and too often the officers assigned to the higher level posts have been possessed of limited experience in intelligence. To insure the most beneficial results in the Central Intelligence Group it is necessary that the Director be an officer to whom those specialists will look for leadership and guidance based on a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of this complex subject.

In order that coordination be effected to the greatest extent, and the transfer effected of many functions of ONI, G–2, A–2 and State to the C.I.G., it is essential that these services recognize the strong leadership and inherent skill in C.I.G. top level personnel.

General Bonesteel is 61 years of age and seems to have passed the peak of his career some years ago. His record while honorable is not too impressive.

Lieutenant General Vandenberg is 47 years of age, has a fine war record, is regarded as an outstanding officer and is keenly interested in intelligence. His leadership in G–2 has been strong and determined. He has demonstrated his recognition of the necessity for the reorientation of the intelligence structure.


Sidney W. Souers
  1. Source: Truman Library, Papers of Harry S. Truman, President’s Secretary’s Files. Secret. Truman had directed General Eisenhower, the Army Chief of Staff, to recommend a successor to Souers. Eisenhower proposed General Bonesteel. (Letter, Eisenhower to Truman, April 27; ibid.) See the Supplement.
  2. Not printed, but see the Supplement.