The Early Years

From Creation to 1953

K - S

Works by Arthur B. Darling, Burton Hersh, Ludwell Lee Montague, Evan Thomas, Thomas F. Troy, and Robin W. Winks are presented in separate files under their names.

Kirkpatrick, Lyman B., Jr. "Origins, Missions, and Structure of CIA." Studies in Intelligence 2, no. 1 (Winter 1958): 1-5.

A brief outline of the concept of a central intelligence organization from OSS to 1947.

Kuhns, Woodrow J., ed. Assessing the Soviet Threat: The Early Cold War Years. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1997.

Clark comment: This volume was released to the public at a conference, "Assessing the Soviet Threat: The Early Cold War Years," held at CIA Headquarters on 24 October 1997. It contains 208 current intelligence documents that went to President Truman from the analytical components of the Central Intelligence Group (CIG) and its successor, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The earliest document, from the Weekly Summary, is dated 14 June 1946; the most recent, from the Daily Summary, is dated 17 November 1950.

The volume's editor has supplied a useful and interesting Preface in which he looks at some of the problems faced by the CIG/CIA analysts in the earliest days of U.S. "centralized" intelligence.

Frazier, I&NS 14.1, believes that "[h]istorians will probably be disappointed in examining the [intelligence] summaries pertinent to their special interests, finding them too fragmentary to offer anything new." But the editor's introductory essay is "a significant contribution to the study of an essential and difficult aspect of intelligence dissemination, that of providing an immediate briefing to the commander."

Leary, William M., and William Stueck. "The Chennault Plan to Save China: U.S. Containment in Asia and the Origins of the CIA's Aerial Empire, 1949-1950." Diplomatic History 8 (Fall 1984): 349-364.

Lintner, Bertil. "The CIA's First Secret War: Americans Helped Stage Raids into China from Burma." Far Eastern Economic Review, 16 Sep. 1993, 56-58.

Lukes, Igor. On the Edge of the Cold War: American Diplomats and Spies in Postwar Prague. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Peake, Studies 56.4 (Dec. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), sees this as "a superbly documented, well-written story of US intelligence operations in early postwar Czechoslovakia." For Fischer, IJI&C 26.2 (Summer 2013), this is a "thoroughly researched and gracefully written account." It "reveals how woefully unprepared American military and civilian intelligence officers were for the challenge that faced them in Czechoslovakia."

MacPherson, B. Nelson. "CIA Origins as Reviewed from Within." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 2 (Apr. 1995): 353-359.

This is a review essay that pivots around three books: Darling, The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government, to 1950 (1990); Montague, General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence, October 1950-February 1953 (1992); and Warner, ed., CIA Cold War Records: The CIA Under Harry Truman (1994).

Merrill, Dennis, ed. The Documentary History of the Truman Presidency. Vol. 23, The Central Intelligence Agency: Its Founding and the Dispute over Its Mission, 1945-1954. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1998.

From advertisement: "The volumes of The Documentary History of the Truman Presidency are a selection of topical documentary collections at the Truman Library ... [and] consist primarily of documents from the President's Secretary's [Rose A. Conway] Files, the White House Central Files, and numerous donated manuscript collections.... Volume 23 traces the postwar demand for accurate intelligence, development of a peacetime intelligence system, the congressional fight over national security legislation, personalities, and the promulgation and implementation of the President's concept of a central intelligence authority."

Montague, Ludwell Lee. "The Origins of National Intelligence Estimating." Studies in Intelligence 16, no. 2 (Spring 1972): 63-70.

Text of speech on 11 May 1971 to the Intelligence Forum. As Montague states, he "was 'present at the creation,' though without power to control the event." The author notes that "British joint intelligence estimates ... were joint only in the sense that all of the members of the JIC subscribed to them." However, they "were nothing more than a set of departmental [Army, Foreign Office, etc.] estimates fastened together."

Reynolds, E. Bruce. "Staying Behind in Bangkok: The OSS and American Intelligence in Postwar Thailand." Journal of Intelligence History 2, no 2 (Winter 2002). [http://www.intelligence-history.org/jih/previous.html]

From abstract: The experiences of former OSS officers James H. W. "Jim" Thompson and Alexander MacDonald, who remained in Bangkok after successively heading the Strategic Services Unit there in 1945-1946, "suggest that the presumed continuity between the OSS role in Thailand during World War II and the large-scale CIA operations there in the 1950s was more apparent than real."

Rudgers, David F. Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943- 1947. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2000.

Goedeken, Library Journal, 15 May 2000, calls this "an impressive history of the complex negotiations among the various branches of both the military and the government" that preceded the creation of the CIA. This is an "outstanding piece of scholarship, based on solid, primary research.... [It] should be considered essential reading for anyone interested in gaining an understanding of the political, historical, and theoretical background to the establishment of the CIA."

For Jeffreys-Jones, I&NS 16.1, the author displays a "shaky grasp of intelligence history," and his work suffers from some documentation problems. Nevertheless, Rudgers "has written an intellectually honest book" that "offers several gems and insights." Warner, Studies 11 (Fall-Winter 2001), says that Creating the Secret State "is a well-written introduction to the debates around the dissolution of the OSS and the creation of its successor. Dr. Rudgers ... uses the declassified records skillfully and weaves them together with contemporary observations of the same events to craft a coherent narrative."

To Kolb, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews, Sep. 2000 [http://www.h-net.org], the author "has written a provocative, well-documented assessment of the founding of the CIA. He has taken the 'unpopular' position that is contrary to the generally-accepted version ... that William J. Donovan played a significant role in establishing the CIA.... Creating the Secret State is [a] carefully crafted, eloquently written, and meticulously researched book and its persuasive, compelling arguments make it essential reading on the issue of the creation" of the CIA.

Sale, Sara L. "Admiral Sidney W. Souers and President Truman." Missouri Historical Review 86, no. 1 (Oct. 1991): 55-71.

Smith, Bradley F. "An Idiosyncratic View of Where We Stand on the History of American Intelligence in the Early Post-1945 Era." Intelligence and National Security 3, no. 4 (Oct. 1988): 111-123.

Stevenson, Charles A. "Underlying Assumptions of the National Security Act of 1947." Joint Force Quarterly 48 (1st Quarter 2008): 129-133.

This well-done article points out that: "The National Security Act of 1947 was a compromise -- between advocates and opponents of a highly centralized military establishment, between supporters of a regularized process for interagency policymaking and defenders of Presidential prerogatives, and between an executive branch needing new legal authorities to deal with a postwar world and a Congress determined to maintain its special powers over the Armed Forces."

Studies in Intelligence. Editors. "Historical Intelligence Documents: CIA's Earliest Days." 38, no. 5 (1995): 117-122.

Document 1: "The first page of the minutes of the DCI's staff meeting on 23 September 1947, in which he announces the establishment of CIA."

Document 2: "The final issue of the Daily Summary, dated 20 February 1951. It was the intelligence digest prepared by CIA for President Truman. The Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) replaced it."

Document 3: A note from President Truman to DCI Smith, dated 6 March 1951, stating that he was "highly impressed" by the new CIB.

Studies in Intelligence. Editors. "Historical Intelligence Documents: From COI to CIG." 37, no. 5 (1994): 111-123.

1. "Presidential Order establishing a Coordinator of Information (COI) on 11 July 1941."

2. "Roosevelt's Military Order of 13 June 1942 creating the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)."

3. "Roosevelt administration press release announcing the creation of the OSS on 13 June 1942."

4. "Executive Order 9621 of 20 September 1945 abolishing the OSS."

5. "Presidential Directive of 22 January 1946 establishing the Central Intelligence Group (CIG)."

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