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Letter to Secretary Byrnes Concerning the Development of a Foreign Intelligence Program.

September 20, 1945

My dear Mr. Secretary:

I have today signed an Executive order which provides for the transfer to the State Department of the functions, personnel, and other resources of the Research and Analysis Branch and the Presentation Branch of the Office of Strategic Services. The order also transfers the remaining activities of the Office of Strategic Services to the War Department and abolishes that Office. These changes become effective October 1, 1945.

The above transfer to the State Department will provide you with resources which we have agreed you will need to aid in the development of our foreign policy, and will assure that pertinent experience accumulated during the war will be preserved and used in meeting the problems of the peace. Those readjustments and reductions which are required in order to gear the transferred activities and resources into State Department operations should be made as soon as practicable.

I particularly desire that you take the lead in developing a comprehensive and coordinated foreign intelligence program for all Federal agencies concerned with that type of activity. This should be done through the creation of an interdepartmental group, heading up under the State Department, which would formulate plans for my approval. This procedure will permit the planning of complete coverage of the foreign intelligence field and the assigning and controlling of operations in such manner that the needs of both the individual agencies and the Government as a whole will be met with maximum effectiveness.

Sincerely yours,


[The Honorable, The Secretary of State]

Harry S Truman, Letter to Secretary Byrnes Concerning the Development of a Foreign Intelligence Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230694

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