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National Security Council Directive NSC 4-A

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Memorandum From the Executive Secretary to the Members of the National Security Council

NSC 4-A

Washington, December 9, 1947.

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS

REFERENCE SANACC 304/11 [1]

1. The National Security Council at its second meeting referred SANACC 304/11 to the NSC Staff for revision in the light of the comments at the meeting.

2. SANACC 304/11 appears to be designed to accomplish the following two related but separate purposes:

a. To initiate steps looking toward the conduct of covert psychological operations designed to counteract Soviet and Soviet-inspired activities.

b. To ensure that all overt foreign information activities are effectively coordinated.

3. Therefore, in the interest of security and clarity, the Staff of the National Security Council has prepared separate reports to the National Security Council designed to achieve each of the above purposes. This report deals with the purpose described in 1-a, while NSC 4 [2] deals with the purpose stated in 1-b.

4. The enclosed draft directive to the Director of Central Intelligence is believed to be an appropriate and adequate action by the Council with reference to covert psychological operations abroad. This directive contains the following desirable provisions:

a. It specifies the reason and the authority for the Council’s action;

b. It grants sufficient authority to the Central Intelligence Agency; while

c. At the same time it ensures that Central Intelligence Agency will conduct such operations in a manner consistent with U.S. foreign policy, overt foreign information activities, and diplomatic and military operations and intentions abroad.

5. The names of appropriate departments and agencies to be represented on the panel referred to in subparagraph 3-a, will be recommended by the NSC Staff in a separate memorandum. [3]

6. It is therefore recommended that the National Security Council approve and issue the enclosed directive to the Director of Central Intelligence.

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Enclosure [4]

Draft Directive to Director of Central Intelligence Hillenkoetter

Washington, undated.

1. The National Security Council, taking cognizance of the vicious psychological efforts of the USSR, its satellite countries and Communist groups to discredit and defeat the aims and activities of the United States and other western powers, has determined that, in the interests of world peace and U.S. national security, the foreign information activities of the U.S. Government must be supplemented by covert psychological operations.

2. The similarity of operational methods involved in covert psychological and intelligence activities and the need to ensure their secrecy and obviate costly duplication renders the Central Intelligence Agency the logical agency to conduct such operations. Hence, under authority of Section 102 (d) (5) of the National Security Act of 1947, the National Security Council directs the Director of Central Intelligence to initiate and conduct, within the limit of available funds, covert psychological operations designed to counteract Soviet and Soviet-inspired activities which constitute a threat to world peace and security or are designed to discredit and defeat the United States in its endeavors to promote world peace and security.

3. In order to insure that such psychological operations are in a manner consistent with U.S. foreign policy, overt foreign information activities, and diplomatic and military operations and intentions abroad, the Director of Central Intelligence is charged with:

a. Obtaining approval of all policy directives and major plans for such operations by a panel to be designated by the National Security Council.

b. Coordination of operations with the senior U.S. diplomatic and military representatives in each area which will be directly affected by such operations.

4. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to require the Central Intelligence Agency to disclose operational details concerning its secret techniques, sources or contacts.

[1] Document 249.

[2] Document 252.

[3] Document 255.

[4] Top Secret. Paragraph 3 of this draft was dropped in the final version and replaced by a paragraph that made the Director of Central Intelligence responsible for ensuring that psychological warfare operations were consistent with U.S. foreign policy. See the attachment to Document 257.

Rear Admiral Sydney W. Souers (USN)

Rear Admiral Sydney W. Souers (USN) Director of Central Intelligence, Central Intelligence Group, January 22, 1946-June 10, 1946; Executive Secretary, National Security Council, August 1947-January 1950; Special Consultant to the President from January 1950.

 

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