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The American Joint Intelligence Committee and Estimates of the Soviet Union, 1945-1947

An Impressive Record

Larry A. Valero


Before the creation of the CIA, the National Security Council, or even the OSS, the American Joint Intelligence committee (JIC) was established to produce intelligence reports for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the "higher authorities" of the United States. The JIC, founded at the onset of America's entry into World War II, is the least studied of the US wartime intelligence organizations. It has attracted only the slightest attention in the intelligence literature.1 But the JIC was much more influential than previously given credit by intelligence scholars and professionals. In fact, the JIC produced a significant number of intelligence estimates and policy papers during the war and early postwar period. From 15 June to 9 August 1945, for example, the JIC completed 16 major intelligence estimates and 27 policy papers.2 This is an extraordinary record of achievement considering the small size of the JIC as compared to current US intelligence agencies.

 

Impressive Estimates

The most important JIC estimates involved the military capabilities and future intentions of the USSR. Many predate the first national intelligence estimate of the Central Intelligence Group (CIG) by more than a year.3

In retrospect, the JIC estimates of the USSR are remarkable for their dispassionate prose and analytic rigor, their accuracy (especially with regard to certain Soviet technological developments), and their extensive coverage of all aspects of postwar Soviet national security policy--political, military, economic, and intelligence. Given the pivotal role of the JIC in the reorganization of the American postwar intelligence system, these estimates provide tantalizing clues into the military-strategic motivations behind the JCS decision to assist in the creation of a new postwar "centralized intelligence" bureaucracy for the United States.

 

Bureaucratic Infighting

In the mid-1940s, the JIC was locked in a struggle with its own membership and other segments of the Federal Government, which maintained an important stake in the postwar American intelligence system. In February 1945, the first JIC proposal for a new national intelligence apparatus, designated JIC 239/5, was withdrawn from consideration after it was leaked, possibly by J. Edgar Hoover, to the press.4 Hoover wanted to expand the FBI's Latin American operations into a worldwide intelligence service. The FBI, however, played no major role in JIC 239/5. The leak resulted in highly unfavorable newspaper articles appearing in The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Times-Herald. The critical press accounts and the blatant breach of security caused much embarrassment to the Roosevelt administration and the military establishment. The JCS determined that the controversial matter of intelligence reorganization would be dealt with after the war. JIC 239/5 was later resurrected as JCS 1181/5. This proposal, with only minor revisions to the original, became the JCS plan for a new, more "centralized" national intelligence system and the model President Truman ultimately adopted in January 1946.5

Ludwell Lee Montague, a former JIC Secretary and CIA veteran, claimed that many professionals inside American intelligence believed the JIC would quickly fade from the scene, once a central intelligence organization was formally established.6 But this was not to be the JIC's fate. Strong parochial interests within the JCS were determined to keep the JIC up and running. In fact, when Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), once suggested that the JIC be abolished to avoid a "paralleling" of responsibilities with the CIG, powerful JCS members threatened to "lower the original concept of [the] Central Intelligence Group."7 The JIC would remain a part of the larger JCS organization until 1958 and would continue to produce intelligence estimates, primarily for the military establishment, even after the creation of the CIG and later the CIA.8 The JIC estimates have to be considered "national" in scope as they include significant contributions from nearly every agency in the US intelligence community. The result, in the middle and late 1940s, was a considerable duplication of intelligence estimates by both civilian and military authorities.

 

Creating the JIC

The establishment of the original American JIC was plagued by fits and starts. The JIC was the brainchild of Gen. Raymond E. Lee, who served as the US military attache in London and was familiar with the inner workings of the older and more experienced British intelligence system, which operated its own JIC. The War Department, however, was not enthusiastic about the idea. As Gen. Lee recorded in his diary on 26 June 1941:

The reaction:

(1) We are not going to copy British organization and procedure.

(2) We are not convinced that such a central clearing house and assimilating center are needed here.

(3) It is far more difficult to put into effect than Lee imagines.

(4) The 'high ups' still don't feel the danger of incompleteness in their information.

(5) The fact that Beaumont-Nesbitt, Godfrey, and Noel Hall are here and that they serve in the Joint Intelligence Committee and recommended it is having an unfavorable effect.

(6) The British have not been successful, so far, in the war: why should they advise us?

(7) Many other alarmingly ignorant and prejudiced reactions.9

 

The War Department changed its mind when William "Wild Bill" Donovan was appointed Coordinator of Information (COI) and appeared to have the personal confidence of President Roosevelt. The armed services exploited Lee's plan for a JIC and used it to "head off" the intrusions by Donovan into the affairs of military intelligence by creating a joint interdepartmental organization based on the British model.10 The British JIC, functioning since 1936 under the Chiefs of Staff, was responsible for the preparation of intelligence "appreciations" (estimates) and the coordination of administrative matters affecting the various intelligence services represented on the JIC, particularly the three military services. 11

During the summer of 1941, the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, and the Director of Naval Intelligence finally recommended the creation of the American JIC. The task of defining the initial functions of the American JIC was assigned to the Joint Planning Committee (JPC), later known as the Joint War Plans Committee (JWPC). The JPC took the lead from the intelligence chiefs and gave its recommendation to establish the JIC on 10 September 1941 upon the approval of the respective services. Unfortunately, this Joint "Army-Navy" Intelligence Committee (sometimes referred to as JANIC), did not actually begin to operate until 9 December 1941, two days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.12

The fate of JANIC then moved from the respective American military services to the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the United States and Great Britain. The Combined Chiefs issued a directive on 11 February 1942 outlining the composition and function of a newly reorganized American JIC. This new agency was to consist of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, the Director of Naval Intelligence, an Assistant Secretary of State, a representative of the Board of Economic Warfare (later the Foreign Economic Administration), and the COI (later the Director of the OSS).13 There were serious concerns about allowing the COI and other civilians to be represented on the JIC; the military feared that the civilians would ultimately seek "membership in the Joint Planning Committee and [at] the Joint Chiefs of Staff level."14

 

Limiting Representation

In the end, there would be no FBI, Army Air Corps, or direct signals intelligence service representation on the early JIC. Although Army Air Corps representation would be added later to the JIC's formal membership, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI were never permitted to sit at the big intelligence table. After an FBI request to join the JIC's ranks, the heads of the military intelligence services reached a general consensus not to allow Hoover to take part in their meetings. A representative from Army intelligence and the Director of Naval Intelligence were assigned to smooth over the slight against Hoover by speaking with their respective counterparts from the FBI.15

The American exclusion of domestic counterintelligence looms in stark contrast to the British practice, which included membership of MI5 (the equivalent of the FBI) on their JIC. Before the formal establishment of the JIC, Gen. Raymond Lee, who later became Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, expressed his disdain for the FBI in a letter to William Donovan dated 8 August 1940. This letter likely reflected the views of the JIC with regard to the FBI. According to General Lee:

The papers here had a big piece yesterday about counter-espionage, which is apparently going to be done by the FBI. I don't think they are the people to do it...I suppose it [counter-espionage] will now be linked up with the pursuit of counterfeiters, gunmen and kidnappers.16

 

Responsibilities and Accountability

The JIC's original wartime charter called for it to furnish current intelligence (not estimates) for use by the JCS organization and to provide American representation on the Combined Intelligence Committee with Great Britain. In addition, the JIC was assisted by a small full-time working group, the Joint Intelligence Staff (JIS). The JIS was the foundation of the JIC, drafting all memorandums, summaries, and eventually, intelligence estimates for JIC approval. As the official JCS historian indicates, "Although the composition of the Joint Intelligence Committee might have qualified that agency to exercise a central coordinating authority over US intelligence activities, its charter assigned no such responsibility."17 Nonetheless, approximately 60 percent of the JIC's work by the end of the war was directly related to the coordination of intelligence policy and activities.18

The newly reorganized JIC did not report directly to the JCS. It was subordinated to the JPC, which in turn answered to the military chiefs. This bureaucratic structure was adopted because the JCS recognized the necessary marriage between policy planning and intelligence. It was also simpler for the Americans to copy the existing British model than to try to develop a new framework for the flow of intelligence along the chain of command.

 

The British Model

The Combined Intelligence Committee system (American and British) was structured in a similar fashion to the national joint intelligence organizations. The Combined Intelligence Committee was subordinated to the Combined Staff Planners, which in turn reported directly to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.19 Operational requirements demanded close collaboration with the British and a "similarity of organization" was deemed appropriate and necessary.

The JIC concluded in an early self-assessment, JCS 36, that "difficulty would be encountered in persuading the British to alter their long-established system" in order to meet any changes to the American intelligence organization.20 Therefore, the American JIC mirrored its British counterpart in nearly every respect. JCS 36 further emphasized that the new intelligence agency was "...now fulfilling its mission in accordance with the Directive, approved by the Joint US Chiefs of Staff."

 

Estimates at Issue

The interesting fact about the original JANIC charter was that it did not permit the new organization to produce estimates. As Ludwell Lee Montague has stated:

The Army wished the JIC to "collate, analyze, and interpret information with its implications, and to estimate hostile capabilities and probable intentions." The Navy wished it to present such factual evidence as might be available, but to make no 'estimate or other form of prediction.' 21

 
Navy doctrine apparently held the strong view that it was not the function of intelligence to estimate the meaning of facts, just to report them. Because the Army wanted to have a joint intelligence organization and cooperation with the Navy was absolutely necessary, the Navy's view on estimates temporarily prevailed. But, as Montague explained, the Army was finally able to succeed in making the JIC produce estimates by violating the organization's charter. Because the Army promoted at a faster rate than the Navy, the ranking Army officer in the JIC ordered the group to produce the first interdepartmental intelligence estimate in American history. The Navy would have protested the entire incident more vigorously, but the estimate on the strategic consequences of Japanese control of the Netherlands East Indies well suited its views.22

 

Churchill's Influence

Nevertheless, it was not Army chicanery that put the JIC permanently in the field of intelligence estimating. When British Prime Minister Churchill arrived in Washington for the Arcadia Conference in December 1941 and January 1942, one of his primary objectives was to place the entire Combined Chiefs of Staff organization, including the Combined Intelligence Committee, on a solid footing.23 As a result of the Arcadia Conference, the American JIC was tasked to work closely with its British equivalent on the Combined Intelligence Committee and to produce combined appreciations as a basis for war planning. The British Joint Staff Mission in Washington emphasized the importance of Anglo-American intelligence collaboration in its communications with London:

It is hoped that the activities of the various Intelligence organizations in the United States (Naval Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Colonel Donovan's Organization, and the State Department) will become more closely co-ordinated in the future. As joint planning will be taking place both in London and Washington, we feel it is important that all information available in both capitals should be freely exchanged through the agencies of the Joint Intelligence Committee in London and a Joint United States-British Intelligence Committee in Washington [Combined Intelligence Committee]. Only thus can we be sure that the intelligence on which our joint plans are based is the fullest available and has been properly co-ordinated.24

The Anglo-American intelligence relationship forced the JIC to produce estimates on a regular basis. As Ludwell Lee Montague indicated, "...it was the Prime Minister of Great Britain who created the wartime [American] JIC and put it into the estimating business."25 While much is made of the wartime and postwar links between the other American and British intelligence services, perhaps none have been as significant (except possibly for cooperation in signals intelligence) as the relationship of the American and British joint intelligence organizations.26

 

Assessing the Soviet Threat

The first true JIC estimate of the USSR's postwar behavior, JIC 250, was delivered to the JCS four months before the end of hostilities in Europe and nearly nine full months before the war's conclusion in the Asian and Pacific theaters. The JIC 250 series analyzed general aspects of the Soviet threat, including political, economic, and military capabilities and intentions. Subsequent JIC estimates of the USSR would examine specific topics such as Soviet mobilization efforts or US vulnerability to a Soviet air attack.

The first version of the JIC 250 series set the pattern for subsequent JIC estimates of the Soviet Union, combining statements of grave concern with elements of guarded optimism for the future of Soviet-American relations. JIC 250 identified a dichotomy in Soviet foreign policy by claiming that Soviet ideology assumed an essential conflict between Soviet and non-Soviet states, but there was the possibility of compromise with the USSR in the short term.

The Soviets had managed to reconcile or accommodate, out of necessity, their ideological hostility toward the West in spite of their long tradition of espousing world revolution. The JIC argued the Soviets were anxious to postpone open conflict with the West for as long as possible in order to pursue economic reconstruction. The Soviets would avoid war with the United States and Britain at least until 1952, the projected date of Soviet economic recovery. JIC 250 predicted the Soviets would most likely follow this policy of accommodation with the West, unless they perceived their vital interests to be threatened, thus provoking the Soviet leadership to lash out against the Anglo-Americans.27

The JIC also emphasized that the Soviets would not sit still internationally, and would cause numerous problems for the United States. Soviet national security policy dictated political and military dominance over other nations, especially in peripheral areas such as Eastern Europe. In addition, the USSR would claim a predominant role in Central Europe, while insisting on influence equal to that of the United States in Western Europe. The JIC determined that Soviet policy would oppose any coalition of anti-Soviet countries instigated by the United States and Britain. JIC 250 warned that, in carrying out these policies, the Soviet Union had a distinct advantage that the Western powers could not match. It would use Communist parties and other means at its disposal, such as espionage and sabotage. The methods the Soviets might use would seem "repugnant and aggressive" to governments not under the Kremlin's control.

 

Air Power Estimate

In October 1945, JIC 250/4 concentrated on the capabilities of Soviet air power.28 The Joint Chiefs were concerned about the progress of the Soviets' atomic weapons program and their ability to deliver these new destructive devices against US forces. JIC 250/4 concluded that the USSR's probable course of action would be to rapidly increase the size and capabilities of its air forces. This meant the Soviets probably would try to improve their air capabilities to a level of effectiveness equal to that of US air power, especially with regard to long-range bombers able to carry heavy payloads. The JIC reported that the Soviets had the raw materials and facilities to carry out such an ambitious program and that they were likely to consider this program essential to their postwar security.

More telling, however, was the first JIC prediction of a future Soviet atomic bomb. The JIC managed to estimate the Soviet possession of atomic weapons with surprising accuracy. This estimate is all the more remarkable considering the JIC was not privy to the existence of the Manhattan Project or to its scientific or technological details before the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not entirely clear if the JIC really knew what it took to build an atomic bomb when it approved JIC 250/4. According to JIC 250/4:
 

If the US does not give the secret of atomic energy to the Soviets, they are probably capable of developing and utilizing this form of power within the next five years. It is known that other countries were well on their way to the solution...of atomic energy and five years would allow the Russian scientists adequate time to complete their research upon which they are known to be working. The release of the secret of atomic energy would only put the Soviets on an equal footing with the US and would possibly save them several years of research.29

 

Little did the JIC suspect the Soviets had long been conducting espionage in the United States and Canada to obtain atomic secrets. If it had, perhaps its original estimate of the Soviet atomic bomb would have been more definitive. Nevertheless, JIC 250/4 proved to be farsighted in other respects. Only days after the atomic bombings, the JIC began to formulate rudimentary ideas about the marriage between atomic weapons and other "weapons of mass destruction"--chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery.

 

Concern About Missiles

Throughout the remainder of the JIC 250 series, the JIC would always refer to missile developments after making assessments of Soviet atomic progress. The JIC knew that Soviet activity in the field of rocketry had shown little success during the war and the Soviets were determined to remedy this deficiency. JIC 250/4 reported that eight to 10 of the leading German scientists in the field of guided missiles were missing and believed to be in Soviet custody. The JIC also expressed serious concerns that Peenemunde, the main German base for missile development, was in the Soviet occupation zone.

JIC 250/4 continued its ominous tone by reporting that German scientific institutes at Lichterfelde and Lankwitz had been transferred completely to the USSR, including all the laboratory equipment, plans, and personnel. This massive liquidation of German technological prowess included the inventors of the V-weapons and an acclaimed physicist. The JIC plausibly deduced that German research personnel would be reestablished in the laboratories constructed by the Soviets within their own territory, with the work of the German scientists continuing under the supervision of their new Soviet masters.

 

Nuclear War Planning

The next JIC estimate of the Soviet Union, JIC 329, written only two months after the official cessation of hostilities against Japan, focused on Soviet vulnerability to a limited attack with atomic weapons.30 But first, JIC 329 concerned itself with Soviet military potential and the context for a limited American attack against the USSR. Although acknowledging the relative invulnerability of the continental United States to a Soviet conventional attack in the near future, JIC 329 warned, "...[in] the event of hostilities in Europe or on the mainland of Asia (Korea), the Soviets would enjoy a great preponderance in numbers of men against the United States or even against the United States, Great Britain, and France." The latter combination of nations represented the maximum coalition likely to oppose the Soviets with significant military forces.

Given the distinct Soviet advantages in conventional forces, JIC 329 identified 20 Soviet cities for atomic destruction in an effort to blunt a Red Army offensive in Europe or the Asian mainland. These Soviet cities possessed certain militarily favorable characteristics. According to JIC 329:

The 20 most profitable objectives for attack by atomic bombs are considered to be a selection of mixed industrial areas containing the highest proportion of research and development centers, specialized production facilities, and key government or administrative personnel. This selection would exploit the maximum capabilities of the weapon, produce the quickest, most direct, and certain effects on the Soviet Union's immediate offensive capabilities, and achieve the greatest impact against her latent offensive power.31

 
The Soviet cities selected for atomic bombing in JIC 329 were Moscow, Gorki, Kuibyshev, Sverdlovsk, Novosibrisk, Omsk, Saratov, Kazan, Leningrad, Baku, Tashkent, Chelyabinsk, Nizhni Tagil, Magnitogorsk, Molotov, Tbilisi, Stalinsk, Grozny, Irkutsk, and Yarolavl. JIC 329 was the likely basis for the earliest known nuclear war plan against the Soviet Union.

Although JIC 329 recognized that there was no immediate Soviet threat to the continental United States, it estimated that this situation would be short lived. The JIC concluded that the Soviet capability of attacking the US mainland and American forces overseas would improve materially with time. There would be rapid improvements in the Soviet bomber force, which would include the production of heavier aircraft capable of operating over longer distances. In addition, the JIC warned of the development of an intensive Soviet scientific research program designed to produce new weapons such as the atomic bomb. JIC 329 was forthright in admitting that these new developments in Soviet weaponry could not be estimated with absolute precision. It predicted the Soviets would develop an aircraft comparable to or better than the American B-29 within five years, and were likely to manufacture and deploy guided missiles within one or two years. Despite the extremely complicated problems involved, the JIC concluded that the Soviets probably could send guided missiles against the continental United States with sufficient accuracy to attack individual cities in approximately five years.

 

Economic Estimate

In late November 1945, the fifth estimate in the JIC 250 series determined whether the Soviet economy would remain incapable of sustaining a major war from 1946 to 1951.32 The JIC believed the USSR would risk war during this period only in defense of its vital national interests. If war did break out, however, and the USSR resorted to offensive military operations, the JIC determined that initially the Red Army would probably overrun most of continental Europe, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. The JIC concluded that the Soviets could not successfully invade the British Isles, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, or India. In East Asia, JIC 250/5 estimated that Soviet military strength would be more strictly limited, but it would be sufficient to invade Korea, Manchuria, and northern China. If opposed by a "first-class" power such as the United States in East Asia, the Soviets would require approximately 15 years or more to build up the war industry needed to support large-scale offensive operations.

Despite the USSR's capability to launch great simultaneous offensives against Western Europe and northern China, the JIC was eager to indicate that the Soviets were not invincible. The political prestige associated with the recent victory over Germany, the immense size of the USSR's armed forces, its large population, its great industrial potential, and its abundance of natural resources were credited as highly significant assets in JIC 250/5. Yet these assets were not enough to allow the USSR to overcome its more formidable weaknesses. These weaknesses made any sustained war against the United States and its Allies prohibitive for the moment. JIC 250/5 maintained that war losses in manpower and industry had seriously set back the USSR, possibly for 15 years.

The JIC also determined that the Soviets lacked many other essential ingredients to wage a protracted global war against the West, including trained technicians (a deficiency that would take five to 10 years to rectify), a strategic air force (five to 10 years), a modern navy (15 years or more for a war involving major naval operations), railway and military transportation systems (10 years), and, most importantly, the atomic bomb (five to 10 years, possibly less). The JIC indicated that Soviet oil, rail, and vital industrial centers were particularly vulnerable to long-range bombers; and their quantitative military weaknesses in the Far East, especially their naval assets, would take at least a decade or more to rectify. According to the JIC, the USSR would have to quash any resistance in the countries it occupied before considering an aggressive move against the West. It would take at least five years before the Soviets fully subjugated the occupied states of Eastern Europe.

JIC 250/5 concluded that the Soviets could eventually solve any problems associated with production of atomic weapons. The JIC praised the Soviet scientific character for having a "flair for highly abstract work of the nature required for this undertaking." Again, the JIC estimated that the completed Soviet atomic bomb project, including the final stages of actual weapons manufacture, would require at least five years. Despite the subordination of many national priorities to the building of the bomb, the JIC believed that the poor record of Soviet industrial history did not warrant the most rapid solution to the development of atomic weapons. In JIC 250/5, the JIC assumed incorrectly that the Soviets could not accomplish the research, planning, and designing stages with modern technical efficiency or execute a huge construction program without considerable delays. There were also doubts as to whether the Soviets would be able to eliminate quickly the "bugs" in the initial production phase, which in turn would hinder full-scale manufacture of an atomic bomb.

 

War Planning

The next major estimate of the USSR, JIC 343, was a return to the war planning found in JIC 329 from late the previous year. It was released in late March 1946, following Winston Churchill's famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Fulton, Missouri, and the Kremlin's decision, under US pressure, to withdraw its troops from northern Iran. The previous month Stalin had raised grave concerns in the United States and Britain after declaring in a speech that Communism and capitalism could not peacefully coexist. JIC 343 assumed hostilities between the United States and the USSR would commence on or about 1 January 1948. JIC 329 compiled a target list of areas based on a variety of factors, including military, political, economic, terrain, resistance, psychological, and time and space considerations, which could seriously curtail a future Soviet war effort. The list included Moscow and its industrial suburbs; the Baku oil-producing and refining area; the Ural industrial centers, particularly Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, Molotov, and the second Baku oil-producing area; the Volga railway bridges; the Kuzbass mining and industrial area; the Donbass mining and industrial area; and the Ploesti oil fields in Romania.33

The estimate also went on to describe the important role of the Soviet Government in a future war with the United States. The JIC determined that the Soviet Government, through evolution and practices, had become the most centralized government in existence. JIC 343 explained that the "...fear of consequences of a mistake and the lack of initiative on the part of administrators of that government have made...[Moscow] the literal 'nerve center' of the Soviet Union." The JIC stated that Moscow had developed into a communications and transportation center of much greater importance than the capitals of other nations. The JIC estimated that, before the war, almost 30 percent of the total of Soviet industry was in the environs of Moscow. The city was also the political, religious, and cultural center of the nation. JIC 343 concluded that "[t]he denial of Moscow and its industrial suburbs to the USSR would require months if not years to reorganize the 'nerve center'; and the psychological effect on the nation of the loss of Moscow would be terrific." With the Cold War heating up, JIC 343 was a sophisticated blueprint for a decapitating US atomic strike against the USSR. This JIC estimate came less than a year after the atomic bombings against Japan.

 

Concern About Intentions

The next major JIC estimate was JCS 1696, produced in the summer of 1946. Although labeled a JCS document, JCS 1696 was essentially a JIC estimate. It was drafted by the JIS, approved by the JIC, and made the usual rounds through the larger JCS organization. What is very different about JCS 1696 is that it was the result of a demand from President Truman for more information regarding Soviet intentions. Since before the war's conclusion, the President had been receiving conflicting, uncoordinated, and unsolicited intelligence reports on the USSR from nearly every segment of the US intelligence community, including the FBI and OSS. A frustrated Truman told his advisers, "I want someone to tell me what's going on around the world! Damn it, there are people coming in from all over the place, different agencies, different interests, telling me different things."34 The President was still annoyed that this ramshackle intelligence process had continued into the postwar era, even after the adoption of JCS 1181/5 in January 1946. The President pressed his Chief of Staff, Adm. William Leahy; his personal aide, Clark Clifford; and DCI Sidney Souers for a more definitive word on the USSR's future intentions. The result was three reports written separately during the summer and fall of 1946: the CIG came up with its first National Estimate, ORE-1; the White House staff produced the Clifford-Elsey report; and the JIC responded with JCS 1696.35

JCS 1696 echoed Stalin's alarming pronouncements from earlier that year. It asserted, "[a] fundamental of Soviet policy, which has world domination as its objective, is that the peaceful coexistence of Communist and capitalist states is, in the long run, impossible." To pursue a policy of world domination, the JIC explained, the Soviets would exploit the propaganda of "capitalistic encirclement" to generate fear, suspicion, and a militant attitude in the Soviet people toward all capitalist nations.

JCS 1696 warned that the Soviet Government was building up its extensive war potential and using every means short of war to bring nations along the USSR's periphery under its complete control. The acquisition and mastery over these areas to cause the disintegration of non-Communist resistance and bring about the ultimate isolation of the capitalist world.

The JIC also determined that the disposition of Soviet armed forces in Germany, Poland, and the Balkans was designed to expedite offensive operations against Western Europe or possibly Turkey. In addition, the JIC ascertained that the construction of air bases in eastern Siberia was to provide air coverage over Alaska, thereby facilitating a northern approach to the United States for offensive air operations and to provide for the defense of the USSR against a US attack.36

The most ominous aspect of JCS 1696 was its alarming vision of a future war between the new superpowers. The JIC estimate warned, "[i]n a war with the Soviet Union we must envisage complete and total hostilities unrestricted in any way on the Soviet part by adherence to any international convention or humanitarian principles. Preparations envisaged on our part and our plans must be on this basis." The JIC further cautioned that the United States had to be prepared for gas, bacteriological, and atomic warfare with the USSR. Intelligence was the key to US preparedness for a "total war" with the Soviets. According to JCS 1696, "[o]ne of the most vital prerequisites to our future security is adequate intelligence from inside the USSR...[every] possibility of obtaining information concerning Soviet warmaking potential and her vital areas should be exhausted." The JIC, like William Donovan, had long ago come to the conclusion that intelligence was a fundamental element of US national security and needed to be improved in the face of the perceived Soviet threat.

 

JCS Distribution

It is not known if the JIC estimates, including JCS 1696, reached the President's desk. The estimates had a limited circulation within the larger JCS organization. The distribution lists for postwar JIC estimates usually included the representatives of the departmental intelligence services, the Secretary of the JCS, the Secretary of the JIS, the Secretary of the Joint War Plans Committee, the Secretary of the Joint Strategic Survey Committee, the Secretary of the Joint Planning Staff, the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff for Plans, and the Chief of the Strategy and Policy Group from the Operations Division of the War Department. After reaching the JCS, the JIC estimates were sometimes renumbered and circulated among the three service chiefs, which at the time of JCS 1696 included General Eisenhower (Army Chief of Staff), Admiral Nimitz (Chief of Naval Operations), and General Spaatz (Air Chief of Staff). A number of copies would have also been delivered to the JIS and JWPC for distribution among its membership, but the total number of copies never exceeded 45, with an average of about 37 or 38.

If a JIC estimate ever did come to President Truman's attention, it probably would have been arranged through Admiral Leahy, the President's Chief of Staff, who was also on the JCS distribution list. The President probably did not receive a copy of JCS 1696 directly from the JCS, because he was not officially assigned a copy, nor did he ever comment on this estimate in his memoirs.37 Although Leahy or Clark Clifford may have briefed President Truman on the findings of JCS 1696, neither mentions such a meeting with the President in their personal papers. If JCS 1696 had been briefed to the President, it surely would have garnered some noteworthy reaction from him. On the surface, JCS 1696 does not appear to have achieved the same kind of impact on national security policy as George Kennan's famous "Long Telegram" or even the CIG's ORE-1.

 

Two Other Assessments

Ludwell Lee Montague, the principal author of ORE-1, called JCS 1696 a "hodge-podge," because he found the JIS simply "compiling impromptu thoughts" on the subject of Soviet postwar intentions and capabilities, instead of relying heavily on previous JIC estimates.38 Given Montague's long service as JIC Secretary, he most likely relied heavily on his memory of previous JIC estimates of the USSR to write ORE-1 over a single weekend in the summer of 1946. There were, however, no major contradictions between ORE-1 and JCS 1696. Nevertheless, JCS 1696 did manage to have an indirect effect on the President's thinking about the USSR. Clifford and his assistant, George Elsey, edited and expanded on JCS 1696 to produce their own report to President Truman in September 1946. The President's reaction to the Clifford-Elsey report was marked by grave concern, "This is so hot..." he confided, "...it could have an exceedingly unfortunate impact on our efforts to try to develop some relationship with the Soviet Union."39

 

A Controversial Estimate

JCS 1770, the next important estimate of the USSR, which appeared in April 1947, was actually a report by the JIC withdrawn from consideration and subsequently revised.40 It did not specifically name the USSR, but it obviously dealt with America's main rival. JCS 1770 found that the current capabilities of probable hostile powers against the continental United States were limited to one-way harassing land-based attacks, harassing submarine attacks, and one-way harassing ship-based attacks. The JIC warned that by 1948 increased enemy aircraft ranges would permit the extension of these attacks. JCS 1770 identified the most likely objectives of such attacks against the United States, with potential targets including US atomic bomb plants, New York, Washington, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Akron, Duluth, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the Puget Sound area. By 1952, any target within the continental United States would be vulnerable to a one-way bombing mission. The JIC also determined that enemy submarines could carry out harassing attacks against US coastal cities and installations.

JCS 1770 was controversial, and it caused the Director of Naval Intelligence to dissent from the original estimate. The Navy preferred more general statements regarding aircraft ranges and atomic weapons capabilities. The result was JCS 1770/1, written with contributions from the Army-Navy Munitions Board and released in September 1947. It indicated that at some date subsequent to December 1951, the Soviets would have the atomic bomb, and possibly in limited quantities by 1952. This finding contradicted earlier estimates that projected the completion of a Soviet bomb as early as 1949 or 1950. Nevertheless, JCS 1770/1 concluded that by 1951 or 1952 increased aircraft ranges would allow the delivery of the atomic bomb to any portion of the continental United States.41 The JIC had resigned itself to the fact that the United States would become completely vulnerable to a Soviet atomic attack in the very near future.

 

NSC 68 and JIC 397

On 14 April 1950, just three months before the outbreak of the Korean war, President Truman received a document from the NSC titled United States Objectives and Programs for National Security. This report, better known as NSC 68, argued that if US-Soviet antagonism continued, the West would succumb completely to the weight of international Communism. To contain or roll back this threat, NSC 68 urged the West to deploy substantial military forces. As Secretary of State Acheson once stated, the purpose of NSC 68 was to "bludgeon the mass mind of 'top government.'"42 But, as the President's biographer noted, "Truman...was not to be bludgeoned."43 Despite the intended purpose of NSC 68 to shock US political and military leaders into action, the President quietly placed the controversial document under lock and key; he did not alter US national security policy until events abroad forced his hand.

What is remarkable about NSC 68 is the little-known fact that it was predated nearly three years by JIC 397, an equally "shocking" estimate from the JIC and JPS. It was written in July 1947, the same month that Congress was debating the merits of the National Security Act. The NSC and CIA would begin operations within a few months. JIC 397 examined Soviet military capabilities from 1952 through 1957.44 It actually originated as a memorandum with the JPS, but it was sent down to the JIC for comment or approval. The JIC concurred with the findings of the JPS, making only minor revisions to the original memorandum. JIC 397 was simply an "apocalyptic" vision of a global war with the USSR in the immediate to near future.

JIC 397 found that Soviet ground and support forces could overrun all of Europe, including Britain, the Middle East, and China as far south as the Yangtze River, within six months of the outbreak of hostilities. The JIC warned that the Soviets would possess weapons of mass destruction, such as the atomic bomb, that could be delivered by aircraft over long ranges to targets within the continental United States from bases in the northern USSR. The JIC further cautioned that these weapons could be launched from submarines or could possibly be brought in by surface ships.

JIC 397 estimated the Soviets could defeat US forces in Europe and on the Asian mainland and would have the ability to seize through airborne assaults US bases in the North Atlantic, Alaska, and the Aleutians. From these newly seized bases, the JIC believed the Soviets could launch further assaults against the continental United States itself. Moreover, the JIC warned the Soviets would be able to launch a strategic air attack with weapons of mass destruction over the Arctic against US centers of government, industry, and communications. JIC 397 concluded with the most alarming statement of all the JIC estimates of the USSR up to that date. According to JIC 397:

Implementation of the [Soviet] capability of attack over the Arctic in a surprise all-out thrust prior to any formal declaration of hostilities would be a most serious blow to the US. It would hinder materially the implementation of US mobilization, reduce the effectiveness of US counterblows against the USSR, and possibly so reduce US war potential that more conventional attacks from Siberia and northern Europe might conceivably result in the conquest of the US.45

 
By the summer of 1947, images of an atomic Pearl Harbor were clearly on the minds of the JIC and JPS. The JIC believed that "[n]o other capability of the Soviets would have such immediately drastic effects on the US capability to wage war." Unlike NSC 68, which recommended an increase in military spending across the board, JIC 397 merely requested that the United States should make it a priority to establish defensive bases in the Arctic region to thwart an all-out Soviet surprise attack. JIC 397 did not have the same kind of policy impact as NSC 68 because of the limitations of its circulation. But JIC 397 may have been more intellectually honest. NSC 68 was an ideologically charged document, presumably designed to frighten the US leadership into making fundamental changes to national security policy. Because JIC 397 had limited motivations, it probably was a more accurate reflection of the general mindset within the JIC and the larger JCS organization with regard to Soviet postwar military intentions and capabilities. Nevertheless, JIC 397 and its predecessors demonstrated an incisiveness uncharacteristic of subsequent, less timely, and perhaps less accurate estimates from other quarters of the US intelligence community. Unfortunately for the JIC, its best work during the early years of the Cold War was effectively compartmentalized within the JCS bureaucratic structure and kept hidden from the rest of the national security establishment.

 

Postwar Decline of the JIC

Considering the central role of the JIC in the wartime intelligence bureaucracy, it is intriguing that it never came to "guide" the postwar US intelligence system as the British JIC did in the UK. Why was the British model of joint interdepartmental intelligence coordination not continued after the war and a new system of "centralized intelligence" adopted in the United States? The answer comes from an unusual source. JCS 1682 was a damning report criticizing the JIC's overall performance as an intelligence organization. JCS 1682 is unusual because it was a critical self-examination written by the JIS and approved by the JIC itself. According to the report:

...the Joint Intelligence Committee has not functioned as contemplated, largely because it has been ignored by the joint planning agencies. The situation has been a matter of complaint not only by the Joint Intelligence Committee, but by the planners themselves. The planners have objected that the JIC studies were irrelevant, and [that] the Joint Intelligence Committee...lacked any indication of what it desired. While it is axiomatic that joint war plans should be based on joint intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Committee has been able to make little contribution in that respect and has meanwhile engaged in much lost motion.46

 
Concerns over security hindered the development of any constructive relationship between the JIC and the JPS. The JPS often refused to consult intelligence officers, fearing that their war plans would become compromised.

 

Chief Critics

For critics of the informal JIC system, centralization was considered the best means of intelligence management. Joint interdepartmental coordination in the hands of Americans did not work as effectively as it had in Britain. The US departmental intelligence services could never be as "congenial" as their counterparts on the British JIC. S. Everett Gleason, a JIS and CIA veteran, summed up the general American opinion of the JIC system by calling it "cumbersome machinery."47 The whole idea of joint representation was anathema to advocates of centralized intelligence, especially those who experienced firsthand the frustrations of the JIC system and its autonomous membership. Opponents of joint intelligence were quick to indicate that the JIS spent many hours coordinating the findings of experts scattered throughout the government.48 A centralized intelligence service with all its experts under a "single roof" and administered by a civilian leader was thought to be the necessary antidote for the ills associated with the JIC apparatus. The JIC was bureaucratically, after all, a military organization despite its nominal civilian membership. It was initially created to counter the encroachment of William Donovan into the Byzantine world of military intelligence. This was a fact that adherents of centralized intelligence would not long forget.

The OSS naturally had harsh criticism for the wartime intelligence system, placing much of the blame on the JIC. The OSS blamed the weak state of US intelligence during the war on the duplication of intelligence functions, an overall lack of coordination, a general lack of objectivity, inadequate coverage, and poor training. When a subcommittee of the JIC requested permission to investigate the problem of duplication, the JIC denied the request without explanation.49 Other government agencies also perceived the JIC to be a major part of the problem with US intelligence. Even the Soviets were frustrated with the great number of duplicating and uncoordinated requests for wartime intelligence emanating from the various US intelligence organizations. Soviet officials complained it was like being "nibbled to death by a duck."50

 

Military Rivalries

The main problem facing the JIC was that it suffered from the same interservice rivalries that plagued the larger US intelligence system and the US armed services as a whole during World War II and the early postwar period. The most notable bureaucratic conflict involved Army intelligence and the OSS. The Army would reject out of hand the contributions made by the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS. Ludwell Lee Montague, while JIC Secretary, appreciated the analytic contributions of the OSS. In fact, Montague considered OSS estimates better founded than the assessments made by Army intelligence, which he criticized as being "derived from little more than...preconceptions."51

Aggravating the problems of the JIC system, the civilian JIS members rarely involved themselves in areas that were clearly the domain of the Army and Navy intelligence services. Yet the military representatives of the JIS often considered themselves more than capable of making assessments on political and economic matters.

In addition, civilian members of the JIC system were not treated as equals with their military counterparts. Again, the need for secrecy came into consideration. In some cases, the civilian members were excluded from deliberations on JIC estimates out of fear that military plans could be compromised. If political or economic considerations were needed, the military representatives would use their best judgment without inquiring into the civilian members' views.52

Even worse for the JIC, the methods used for selecting the chiefs of the military intelligence services and the chairman of the JIS bore little relation to the qualifications needed for a competent intelligence professional, much less a leader of a joint intelligence organization. As Montague observed, "considerations of prestige, or the desire to find a place for tired naval officers between periods of sea duty, often seem to be the criteria for selection."53

 

An Imposing Record 

Despite its bureaucratic difficulties, the JIC was the centerpiece of the US intelligence effort during World War II. The JIC also played a crucial supporting role in the establishment of the US intelligence community, as we know it today. Yet more intriguing are the JIC estimates of the USSR during the formative years of this century's great superpower conflict. These early estimates provide us with a tantalizing look at the Soviet threat from the unique standpoint of the JCS and its intelligence apparatus. The little-known story of the American JIC is an important chapter in US intelligence history dealing with the early years of the Cold War.

 

 

Notes

 

1 The most important scholarly writings with references to the JIC are Thomas F. Troy, Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1981); Ludwell Lee Montague, General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence, October 1950-February 1953 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992); and Arthur B. Darling, The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government to 1950 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990). The CIA originally published these studies internally in 1975, 1971, and 1953, respectively. See also Steven T. Ross, American War Plans 1945-1950 (London: Frank Cass, 1996); Mark V. Kauppi, "Intelligence Assessments of Soviet Motivations: JIS 80 and Kennan's Long Telegram," Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 9, No. 4 (October 1994), pp. 603-632; and Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors: O.S.S. and the Origins of the C.I.A. (New York: Basic Books, 1983).

2 JIC Memorandum for Information Number 173, Evolution of the J.I.C. Charter, 17 August 1945, Records of the CIA, History Source Collection, HS/HC-656, Record Group (RG) 263, National Archives at College Park, MD (NACP).

3 The first CIG estimate of the Soviet Union, ORE-1--Soviet Foreign and Military Policy--was released on 23 July 1946. See Woodrow J. Kuhns, ed., Assessing the Soviet Threat: The Early Cold War Years (Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA, 1997) for a look at ORE-1 and a comprehensive examination of CIG/CIA situation reports and estimates of the Soviet Union before 1951.

4 William Donovan suspected that J. Edgar Hoover leaked JIC 239/5. But the JIC proposal had a number of opponents, including Army intelligence. There is also credible evidence that President Roosevelt may have sabotaged JIC 239/5. See Troy, Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency, pp. vi, 255-260.

5 See US Department of State, "Founding of the National Intelligence Structure, August 1945-January 1946," Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945-1950: Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment (Washington, DC: GPO, 1996), pp. 1-15 for a more complete summary of the story behind the creation of an American "centralized intelligence" system.

6 Memorandum for the Record, Intelligence Service, 1940-1950, 1 December 1969, HS/HC-401, RG 263, NACP. This document is an autobiographical account of Ludwell Lee Montague's service record during the 1940s.

7 Minutes of the 9th Meeting, National Intelligence Authority, 12 February 1947, Records of the JCS, Chairman's File, Admiral Leahy 1942-1948, N.I.A. Papers File #132, RG 218, NACP.

8 JIC 76/17, Immediate Future of the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Joint Intelligence Staff, 22 August 1945, Records of the War Department and Special Staffs, Office of the Director of Plans and Operations, "American-British-Canadian" Correspondence Relating to Organizational Planning and General Combat Operations during World War II and the Early Post-War Period, 1940-1948, ABC 334.8 (8 May 1944) Sec. 1-A, RG 165, NACP. The JIC ceased to function after the 1958 reorganization of the JCS which, eliminated the "laborious" committee system in favor of the more streamlined "directorate" system. See Organizational Development of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1942-1989 (Washington, DC: Historical Division, Joint Secretariat, JCS, 1989) for a brief summary of the alterations made to the JCS system, and the postwar role of the JIC within the larger bureaucracy.

9 This passage was based on a voluminous letter to Gen. Raymond E. Lee from Col. Hayes Kroner, another advocate of an American JIC. Kroner had recently returned to Washington in the summer of 1941 after working with Lee in London. See James Leutze, ed., The London Journal of General Raymond E. Lee 1940-1941 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971), p. 319.

10 Ludwell Lee Montague, "The Origins of National Intelligence Estimating," Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 16, No. 2, (Spring 1972), p. 68.

11 The most comprehensive account of the British JIC to date remains a report by the OSS, Coordination of Intelligence Functions and the Organization of Secret Intelligence in the British Intelligence System, July 1945, Papers of William J. Donovan, Book 5, British Intelligence System-Coordination of Intelligence Functions, US Army Military History Institute, US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania (AWC). A related document also from the OSS, Summary of the Report on the British Intelligence System, July 1945, HS/HC-801, RG 263, NACP. These documents were authored by William H. Jackson, a future Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, at the request of William Donovan for the purpose of determining the relevance of British intelligence organization with respect to the likely American plan to establish a "central intelligence agency." In addition, see Edward Thomas, "The Evolution of the JIC System Up to and During World War II," in Christopher Andrew and Jeremy Noakes, eds., Intelligence and International Relations 1900-1945 (Exeter, England: Exeter University Press, 1987), pp. 219-234; and Michael Herman, Intelligence Power in Peace and War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) for more details concerning the wartime and postwar British JIC.

12 JIC Memorandum for Information Number 173 (see note 2).

13 From a report prepared by the JCS official historian, Origin of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, undated, HS/HC-278, RG 263, NACP. The JIC "lineup" would invariably change during the war and early postwar period, as federal agencies were abolished or formally withdrew their membership. Only the military intelligence services would remain constant, with low-level liaison being maintained with the CIA, State Department, FBI, and the AEC. The Deputy Director for Intelligence, Joint Staff, was later added as a coordinator and voting member of the JIC. See "The Organization and Functions of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Joint Intelligence Group," a presentation by Capt. R. G. McCool, USN, to the students and faculty of the US AWC, 17 October 1951, Lecture Collection, US AWC Library.

14 Memorandum, H. L. Litzenberg to Admiral Turner, 17 January 1942, ABC 350.05 (1-17-42), RG 165, NACP.

15 Minutes of the 26th Meeting, Joint US Intelligence Committee, 13 August 1942, Records of the JCS, Central Decimal File 1942-45, CCS 334 J.I.C. (7-9-42), JIC Meetings 21st to 75th, RG 218, NACP. Despite the FBI's repeated attempts to join the military-dominated JIC, Hoover's organization worked closely with the various intelligence units of the armed services, particularly the Army's Signal Security Agency. By 1947-48, the FBI and SSA effectively commenced counterintelligence operations designed to uncover Soviet spies working in the United States. This was made possible through the SSA's decryption of Soviet diplomatic communications. See Robert Louis Benson and Michael Warner, eds., Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response 1939-1957 (Washington, DC: NSA, CIA, 1996), pp. vii-xxxiii; and John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), pp. 35-36.

16 Letter, Raymond E. Lee to William J. Donovan, 8 August 1940, Papers of William J. Donovan, Vol. 34, William J. Donovan (Personal-Returned), US Army Military History Institute, AWC.

17 Origin of the JCS (see note 13).

18 JIC 76/17, Immediate Future of the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Joint Intelligence Staff (see note 7). By contrast, the British JIC took an even larger role in the coordination of its intelligence community. The British JIC ensured coordination of nearly every aspect of the wartime intelligence system, including political-military analysis, economic assessments, censorship, countersubversion, security, interrogations of prisoners of war, topographical intelligence, and invasion information. United Kingdom Intelligence Organization, undated, papers of William J. Donovan, File Nos. 418-419, Book No. 22, US Army Military History Institute, AWC.

19 Combined Planning Committee Report for the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Combined Intelligence, US draft, 17 January 1942, ABC 350.05 (1-17-42), RG 165, NACP.

20 JCS 36, Military Intelligence for Post Arcadia, 15 April 1942, ABC 350.05 (1-17-42), RG 165, NACP.

21 Montague, "The Origins of National Intelligence Estimating," p. 68.

22 Ibid.

23 See ABC-1, United States-British Staff Conversations Report, 27 March 1941, Records of the JCS, Chairman's File, Admiral Leahy, 1942-48, US-British Staff Conversations ABC-1 1941, Folder 108, RG 218, NACP for details of the Arcadia proceedings.

24 Memorandum of the Joint Staff Mission, Future Joint Collaboration, Intelligence, 31 December 1941, CAB 99/17. Annex XV, Public Record Office (PRO), Kew, UK.

25 Montague, "The Origins of National Intelligence Estimating," p. 70. The British Chiefs of Staff also urged their American counterparts to set up a joint intelligence organization for the coordination of US intelligence. They were prepared to ask the Prime Minister to speak directly to President Roosevelt regarding the matter, should the JCS refuse to establish an effective American JIC. Minutes of a Meeting of the Chiefs of Staff held in the Embassy Annex, 13 January 1942, Annex XXI, CAB 99/17, PRO.

26 According to the official British history, the United States and Britain entered into a series of intelligence arrangements after Pearl Harbor, which essentially established "...a single Anglo-US intelligence organization." The British and American JICs played an integral role in this collaboration. See F. H. Hinsley, British Intelligence in the Second World War, abridged ed. (London: HMSO), p. 115.

27 JIC 250, Estimate of Soviet Postwar Intentions and Capabilities, 18 January 1945, ABC 336 Russia (22 August 1943) Sec. 1-A, RG 165, NACP. The JIC 250 series was known at the staff level as JIS 80. By comparison, the first British JIC appreciation of Soviet postwar foreign and military policy, numbered JIC 60, predates the American JIC 250 by almost a year. The two documents are nearly identical in their conclusions. Given the close relationship between the two national JICs, it is reasonable to assume that the Americans relied heavily on the findings of the British document. JIC (44) 60, Soviet Foreign Policy After the War, 11 February 1944, CAB 81/120, PRO.

28 JIC 250/4, Air Capabilities and Intentions of the U.S.S.R. in the Postwar Period, 19 October 1945, ABC 336 Russia (22 August 1943) Sec. 1-A, RG 165, NACP.

29 Ibid.

30 JIC 329, Strategic Vulnerability of the U.S.S.R. to a Limited Air Attack, 3 November 1945, ABC Russia (22 August 1943) Sec. 1-A, RG 165, NACP.

31 Ibid.

32 JIC 250/5, Soviet Capabilities, 15 November 1945, ABC 336 Russia (22 August 1943) Sec 1-A, RG 165, NACP.

33 JIC 343, Areas Vital to Soviet War Effort, 27 March 1946, ABC 336 Russia (22 August 1943) Sec. 1-C, RG 165, NACP.

34 Quoted from Mark Riebling, Wedge: The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), p. 70, and based upon an interview with Lawrence Houston, former General Counsel to the CIG and CIA.

35 See Clark Clifford and Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), pp. 124-129; Melvyn Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992), pp. 130-138; and Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State 1945-1954 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 13-16 for a more complete account of the Clifford-Elsey report. The genesis of ORE-1 was the result of the intelligence directive, CIG 8, Memorandum by the Director of Central Intelligence, Development of Intelligence on the USSR, 28 April 1946, in FRUS, 1945-1950: Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, p. 345.

36 JCS 1696, Presidential Request for Certain Facts and Information Regarding the Soviet Union, 25 July 1946, ABC Russia (22 August 1943) Sec. 1-C, RG 165, NACP.

37 It is not entirely without precedent that President Truman was kept uninformed of American intelligence matters. Knowledge of the Venona decrypts was actually withheld from President Truman and Adm. Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, the DCI, in a decision made by Gen. Omar N. Bradley, a personal admirer of Truman and a Chairman of the JCS. The details of this latest Cold War revelation can be found in Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Secrecy: The American Experience (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), pp. 69-74.

38 Memorandum for the Record, Intelligence Service, 1940-1950, (see note 6).

39 For more on the reaction to JCS 1696, see James F. Schnabel, The History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vol. I, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy 1945-1947 (Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1979), pp. 103-108.

40 JCS 1770, Possibility of Heavy Bomb Damage in the United States, 28 April 1947, revised 18 June 1947, ABC Nat'l Security US (15 January 1946) Sec. 1-A, RG 165, NACP.

41 JCS 1770/1, Possibility of Heavy Bomb Damage in the United States, 16 September 1947, ABC 381 Nat'l Security US (15 June 1946) Sec. 1-B, RG 165, NACP.

42 Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New York: W. W. Norton, 1969), p. 374. See Ernest R. May, ed., American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68 (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1993) for the actual text of NSC 68 with commentary from government officials and distinguished scholars.

43 David McCullough, Truman (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), p. 772.

44 JIC 397/M and JIC 397/1, Soviet Capabilities and Critical U.S. Overseas Areas 1952-1957, 14 July 1947 and 24 July 1947, ABC USSR (2 March 1946) Sec. 1-E, RG 165, NACP.

45 Ibid.

46 JCS 1682, Proposed Policy Governing Intelligence Bearing on Papers Considered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 7 June 1946, ABC 334 JIC (5-8-43) Sec 1-A, RG 165, NACP.

47 Memorandum, S. Everett Gleason to Gen. William Donovan, Need for a Central Intelligence Service, 16 March 1945, Microfilm 118, Papers of William H. Donovan, Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, UK.

48 Interview with S. Everett Gleason conducted by Arthur Darling, 19 February 1952, HS/HC-800A, RG 263, NACP.

49 Memorandum, S. Everett Gleason to Gen. William Donovan, Deficiencies and Criticisms of U.S. Intelligence Organization, 24 February 1945, Microfilm 118, Papers of William H. Donovan, Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, UK.

50 Memorandum, Gleason to Donovan, Need for a Central Intelligence Service, (see note 47).

51 Memorandum for the Record, Intelligence Service, 1940-1950, (see note 6). See also Barry M. Katz, Foreign Intelligence: Research and Analysis in the Office of Strategic Services 1942-1945 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 149. The expertise of the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS, particularly the USSR Division, came to be highly regarded by many segments of the Federal Government, including the Joint Intelligence Committee, the State Department, the Lend-Lease Administration, the War Production Board, the Office of War Information, the Army Industrial College, and even the Office of the Surgeon General.

52 Memorandum, Gleason to Donovan, Deficiencies and Criticisms of U.S. Intelligence Organization, (see note 49).

53 Memorandum for the Record, Intelligence Service, 1940-1950, (see note 6).

 

Larry A. Valero is a Ph.D. candidate in History of International Relations at the University of Cambridge.

 

 


Historical Document
Posted: Apr 14, 2007 10:38 AM
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