The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The series documents the facts and events that contributed to the formulation of policies and includes evidence of supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government, including facts that contributed to the formulation of policies and records that provided supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The statute confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

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The editors of this volume, which was completed in 1991, are convinced that it meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Scope and Design of This Volume and Its Relationship to the Foreign Relations Series

By the beginning of the 1980s a significant amount of previously highly classified information about wartime and post war intelligence activities of the United States Government had been disclosed in formal testimony to the Congress or in unofficial books and articles by individuals with varying degrees of knowledge and access to the record and experience of the intelligence community. It became apparent to the editors of the Foreign Relations series that intelligence institutions and operations became an increasingly important element in the formulation and execution of American foreign policy in the administration of President Truman and in succeeding Presidential administrations. Nearly all of more than 50 volumes documenting the foreign policies of the Truman administration had been researched, declassified, and published by the early 1980s. Only scattered bits of the record of the impact of intelligence on policymaking and execution had been included in these volumes. Nearly all of that material came from the papers preserved at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and the copies of papers submitted to or emerging from the National Security Council and available to official historians at the Department of State and other government agencies. Access, which was severely limited, did not, in any case, guarantee inclusion of selected documents in the Foreign Relations volumes as many sensitive issues remained undeclassifiable. The lack of understanding of the record of intelligence operations, analysis, and clandestine activities combined with the special information security protections for these records severely handicapped the compilers of the Foreign Relations volumes of the Truman years.

Recognition by the editors of the Foreign Relations series of the important gaps in the published volumes coincided with a steady slippage beyond the 30-year line in publishing the 75 or more volumes documenting the foreign policy record of President Eisenhower. The notion of a Foreign Relations retrospective volume to publish important documents not available or declassifiable at the time of original publication arose at this time. The Foreign Relations Advisory Committee, which was established by the Department of State in 1955 and met annually, periodically considered with general favor such a supplementary volume as a possible method of gathering and disclosing important documents not included in earlier volumes.

By the mid 1980s the editors of the Foreign Relations series decided to explore the possibility of a retrospective volume for the Truman administration or some portion of that period. As a first step the editors aimed at [Page V] a volume that would document the institutional foundations of the interrelationship between foreign policy and intelligence. Preliminary research indicated that a significant segment of the important, high-level record of this aspect of intelligence activities was already available or could probably be declassified. Such a volume could lay the groundwork for subsequent volumes on substantive issues, if declassification became possible.

During the mid and late 1980s, research went forward slowly on the proposed 1,000-page volume on the institutional foundations of foreign policy and intelligence through 1950. Initial research by staff members of the Office of the Historian was expanded and completed by C. Thomas Thorne, Jr., a retired Deputy Director of the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The CIA History Staff, headed by Dr. J. Kenneth McDonald, provided important cooperation. More than 1,000 documents from the CIA and from CIA records accessioned by the National Archives and Records Administration were collected during the initial research. In light of the large quantity of documentation available the editors decided to confine this volume to the major aspects of the organization of the high-level administration of intelligence in 1945–1950. These were more clearly the formative years of the intelligence institutions and their relationships to the Department of State. As it emerged, therefore, the project appeared to be manageable and clearly focused and one that would provide the Foreign Relations series with an appropriate initial retrospective volume.

This volume confronted the editors with unprecedented documentary editing challenges. The documents used to compile this volume were special and unique by Foreign Relations standards. Rather than diplomatic correspondence or the record of negotiations and formulation of foreign policy decisions, the editors compiled a record of high-level governmental plans, discussions, administrative decisions, and managerial actions that established institutions and procedures for the central coordination of intelligence collection and analysis and covert action. Although the proposals and efforts of the leaders of the Department of State influenced the emergent central intelligence institutions, much of the record included in this volume documents the advice, actions, and initiatives of principals and groups in other departments and agencies, all of whom helped to lay the foundations for the new centralized intelligence bureaucracy. The editors adopted a generally chronological approach to the presentation of the documents but organized the volume into separate, topical chapters. Each chapter is preceded by an introductory essay that seeks to explain the documents included and place them in a broader historical context. These chapter introductions cite unpublished records as well as published sources and narrative texts.

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In preparing this volume the editors sought to limit their selection of documents to those dealing with the planning and establishment of national intelligence coordination and national intelligence policies. The editors did not seek to document the planning and implementation of specific intelligence operations or the impact of intelligence appraisals upon particular foreign affairs policymaking or negotiations. Intelligence reports, estimates, and analyses dealing with particular regions, countries, or issues have not been included.

The preparation of this volume raised special compiling problems for the editors of the Foreign Relations series. The collection of the organizational planning documents and the records of the administration of early post-war intelligence activities was particularly difficult. Many of the relevant records appear to have been destroyed or are widely scattered in various agency archival holdings. More than the usual number of original documents were found to be missing or impossible to locate because of the repeated and rapid shifting of various intelligence functions among organizations. The high security level of these records also frustrated research. It also became clear to the editors that some of the most important decisions were made without written records having been kept.

The selection and editing of this volume was completed in November 1991. The editors are convinced that this volume presents a full and comprehensive documentary record of the planning and inauguration of central governmental institutions with responsibilities for coordinating intelligence activities in the formulation and execution of American foreign policy. The volume fully meets the spirit and the letter of the October 1991 Foreign Relations statute. The declassification process of this volume and the microfiche supplement was not completed until July 1994. The preparation for publication of this volume, so unusual by Foreign Relations series standards, was not completed until the end of 1995.

Since the time this volume was compiled in 1991, Department of State historians have greatly expanded their access to other relevant bodies of records within the Department, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, at the Central Intelligence Agency, and in other agencies and commissions. There may be additional documents that might otherwise have been included had they been available before 1992. The editors decided, however, that the urgency of making this volume available to readers after nearly 10 years of preparation outweighed the possible omission of additional relevant information. Should such information become available during subsequent research, it will be included in future retrospective volumes on intelligence activities and foreign policy.

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Sources for This Volume

The Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major foreign policy decisions and actions of the U.S. Government. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. The editors believe that in terms of access this volume was prepared in accordance with the standards and mandates of this statute, although access to some records was restricted, as noted below.

The editors had complete access to all the retired records and papers of the Department of State: the central files of the Department; the special decentralized files (“lot files”) of the Department at the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of the Department’s Executive Secretariat, which contain the records of international conferences and high-level official visits, correspondence with foreign leaders by the President and Secretary of State, and memoranda of conversations between the President and Secretary of State and foreign officials.

The editors also had full access to the papers of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman and other White House foreign policy records. Presidential papers maintained and preserved at the Presidential libraries include some of the most significant foreign affairs-related documentation from other federal agencies including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. All of this documentation was made available for use in this and other volumes of the Foreign Relations series thanks to the consent of these agencies and the cooperation and support of the National Archives and Records Administration.

In preparing this volume, the editors reviewed records in a variety of archives and sources, many not usually researched for Foreign Relations volumes. The records of such bodies as the National Intelligence Authority, the Intelligence Advisory Board, and the Intelligence Advisory Committee provide fairly satisfactory documentation on policy and institutional issues in the early history of the intelligence system. At the same time, recorded discussion of substantive matters at this level of the national intelligence structure is rare. Perhaps the most satisfactory documentation in the collection is in the first chapter on the founding of the national intelligence structure in 1945–1946, where policy debates were well reflected in the records and where senior levels of government, including the White House, were actively involved.

Department of State records on intelligence are reasonably good for the critical period from September 1945 to April 1946. On the transition [Page VIII] from the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) to the Office of Special Operations (OSO), and in Latin America, from FBI to OSO, the material is relatively thin. The background of the intelligence provisions of the National Security Act of 1947 is fairly well documented at the outset but both the quality and the quantity of the material quickly diminishes. There are informative documents on the origins of NSC 4–A and 10/2, but the subsequent policy record is fragmentary. For the general history of U.S. intelligence under Directors of Central Intelligence Souers, Vandenberg, and Hillenkoetter the documentary record becomes increasingly abundant, but it also tends to become more bureaucratic and more formal without necessarily becoming more informative. Records for these periods give a generally satisfactory picture of the main issues but often have an impersonal character that tends to obscure the conflicts and concerns that frequently motivated the participants.

President Truman took a general interest in the formation of the intelligence system; thereafter he was satisfied that it was performing in a way that met his needs and was less involved. The Presidential and NSC documents used, although relatively few in terms of the total size of the collection, provide major insights into key periods and issues covered by the volume. The editors had full access to these materials at the National Archives and Records Administration and the Harry S Truman Library, as well as to the records of the Department of State. The latter, especially the files of the Executive Secretariat and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, were relevant to virtually every part of the collection but particularly to the early post-war debates over intelligence, the struggle over the intelligence organization of the Department of State, and the Dulles Report and its aftermath.

The Office of Management and Budget records in Record Group 51 at the National Archives provided much of the information on efforts of the Bureau of the Budget to shape the emerging national intelligence structure in 1945–1946. The best documentation on this subject is by an insider, Budget Director Harold Smith, whose diary entries (actually, memoranda of conversation) for the same period are in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. The Leahy files in Record Group 218 at the National Archives (Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) provided many of the early documents on the formative period of the intelligence system.

Central Intelligence Agency records constitute the largest single group of materials used in this compilation and require special description. Basically three separate collections of CIA records were used.

The first of these was the Troy Papers, in Record Group 263 (Records of the Central Intelligence Agency) of the National Archives and Records Administration. This collection was compiled by and declassified for Thomas Troy in connection with the preparation of his book, Donovan and the CIA, which was originally issued as a Central Intelligence Agency [Page IX] publication. The Troy Papers consist mainly of copies of documents from various archival collections, bringing together material from a number of sources on the history of U.S. intelligence from the 1930s through the passage of the National Security Act of 1947 and the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency, including the most important and relevant military records. Practically all of these papers have been declassified and are freely available to researchers.

The second group of Central Intelligence Agency records consists of the historical collections located in and maintained by the CIA History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence. These collections consist of documents, some of them still classified, selected over time by personnel of the various components of CIA as having significant historical value and which have been transferred to the physical custody of the History Staff to ensure their continuing availability as part of the historical record. In some cases, it appears that individual parts of the collections were originally working or reference files maintained by personnel of various offices of the Agency. A number of the early records in these collections are typescript copies including many made for Arthur B. Darling, the first CIA Historian; these seem to be the only form in which a number of documents have survived. Documents in the historical collections tend to vary widely in nature and quality and usually provide only a partial record, but they nonetheless are a major resource and have been widely drawn upon in the preparation of this volume.

Members of the CIA History Staff selected materials from the historical collections for review by the compilers of this volume, who had unimpeded access to the records thus selected. Documents provided under this procedure remained classified and, if finally selected for publication, were then submitted for regular declassification review.

The third category of Central Intelligence Agency records used consists of archives held either by the Agency’s records management organization or by individual organizational components of the Agency. In the preparation of this volume, the CIA History Staff gave the fullest cooperation to Department of State historians, not least by sharing its knowledge of the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community. CIA historians gathered records in other parts of the Agency that appeared relevant to the compilers’ work. These records were first reviewed by appropriate CIA offices to determine whether the Department of State Historians’ Office could have access to them. Once access was granted, copies of selected documents were made available. Copies received under this procedure remained classified and, if selected for publication, were submitted for declassification review. From the experience gained in the preparation of this volume, from discussions with CIA historians, and from references in the records themselves, it appears that Central [Page X] Intelligence Agency holdings of early Intelligence Community records are scattered and, in many instances, fragmentary or incomplete.

This volume is supported by a microfiche supplement that reproduces additional documents judged to be of less value but still relevant and useful. In a few cases the transmittal pages of documents in the print volume are included for completeness and clarity in the supplement. The microfiche supplement also contains the complete text of some documents that were judged too long for inclusion in full in the print volume, and from which only extracts were printed.

The CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence has also published its own facsimile volume, entitled CIA Cold War Records: The CIA under Harry Truman (edited by Michael Warner), which reproduces 81 documents covering 1945–1953. Twenty-five of these documents are included in the printed Foreign Relations volume or microfiche supplement.

Three books among the growing literature on intelligence published in recent years were particularly useful to the compilers as guides through the documentation. All were originally CIA internal documents that were sanitized and published and, although they were written from different points of view, they provide painstaking, detailed, and heavily documented reconstruction of the early history of the national intelligence system.

The first, Thomas Troy’s Donovan and the CIA, contains the most comprehensive account available of the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency, from the wartime debates over intelligence to the signing of the National Security Act of 1947. The second, Arthur B. Darling’s The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government, to 1950, is a published version of an internal history written by the CIA’s first historian in 1952–1953. And the third, Ludwell Montague’s General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence, October 1950–February 1953, originally a 5-volume classified CIA study with the same title, deals mainly with events beyond the period covered by this volume. Montague’s work is valuable both because he was a participant in, as well as an observer of, many of the events of which he writes and because he supplemented his own recollections by research in the records and by extensive interviews and correspondence. Montague regarded his work as a corrective to Darling’s history which, in Montague’s view, incorporated a number of judgments that were a “distortion” of the early period of CIA’s history.

The List of Sources, pages XVII–XIX, lists the particular files and collections consulted and cited in this volume.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual meetings. [Page XI] Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for security reasons have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. The amount of material omitted from this volume because it was unrelated to the subject of the volume, however, has not been delineated. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

An unnumbered source note to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates if the President or his major policy advisers read the document. Every effort has been made to determine if a document has been previously published, and this information has been included in the source footnote.

Additional footnotes summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts have been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

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Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.

Declassification Review

The final declassification review of this volume, completed in 1994, resulted in the decision to withhold 2.24 percent of the documentation selected for the print volume, including 7 documents denied in full. In the microfiche supplement 2.61 percent of the documentation selected was withheld, including 5 documents denied in full. The remaining documents provide an account of the origin and development of the U.S. foreign intelligence structure during 1945–1950.

The Division of Historical Documents Review of the Office of Freedom of Information, Privacy, and Classification Review, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12356 on National Security Information, which was superseded by Executive Order 12958 on April 20, 1995, and applicable laws.

Under Executive Order 12356, information that concerns one or more of the following categories, and the disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security, requires classification:

military plans, weapons, or operations;
the vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, projects, or plans relating to the national security;
foreign government information;
intelligence activities (including special activities), or intelligence sources or methods;
foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States;
scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security;
U.S. Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
cryptology; or
a confidential source.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the [Page XIII] Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman Libraries, the National Archives and Records Administration, and other specialized repositories that assisted in the collection of documents for this volume. J. Kenneth McDonald, former Chief Historian of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Mary McAuliffe, former CIA Deputy Chief Historian, provided valuable assistance in arranging access to that agency’s materials.

Neal H. Petersen made the initial collection of documents, which was later expanded by Edward C. Keefer and William Deary. C. Thomas Thorne, Jr., wrote the narrative introductions to each chapter. Thorne also selected and edited the material presented in this volume with the guidance of former General Editors John P. Glennon and Glenn W. LaFantasie. Thorne planned the volume, and David S. Patterson conducted a comprehensive final review. Vicki E. Futscher prepared the lists of sources, persons, and abbreviations, and she, Rita Baker, and Deb Godfrey did the copy and technical editing. Barbara Ann Bacon of the Publishing Services Division oversaw the production of the volume. Do Mi Stauber prepared the index.

William Z. Slany

The Historian Bureau of Public Affairs

May 1996