Official Reports By The US Government On The CIA - 1956 Bruce-Lovett Report

1956 Bruce-Lovett Report

Soon after President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Actitivites, that Board requested that Robert A. Lovett and David K.E. Bruce examine CIA's covert operations. This information comes from Arthur Schlesinger's book about Robert F. Kennedy, cited by cryptome.org. ""Bruce was very much disturbed," Lovett told the Cuba board of inquiry in 1961. "He approached it from the standpoint of 'what right have we to go barging into other countries buying newspapers and handing money to opposition parties or supporting a candidate for this, that or the other office?' He felt this was an outrageous interference with friendly countries... He got me alarmed, so instead of completing the report in thirty days we took two months or more.""

"The 1956 report, written in Bruce's spirited style, condemned

the increased mingling in the internal affairs of other nations of bright, highly graded young men who must be doing something all the time to justify their reason for being.... Busy, moneyed, and privileged likes its "King Making" responsibility (the intrigue is fascinating – considerable self-satisfaction, sometimes with applause, derives from "successes" – no charge is made for "failures" – and the whole business is very much simpler than collecting covert intelligence on the USSR through the usual CIA methods!).

According to cryptome's account of the Schlesinger book, "Bruce and Lovett could discover no reliable system of control. "there are always, of course, on record the twin, well-born purpose of 'frustrating the Soviets' and keeping others 'pro-western' oriented. Under these almost any action can be and is being justified.... Once having been conceived, the final approval given to any project (at informal lunch meetins of the OCB inner group) can, at best, be described as pro forma." One consequence was that "no one, other than those in the CIA immediately concerned with their day to day operation, has any detailed knowledge of what is going on." With "a horde of CIA representatives" swarming around the planet, CIA covert action was exerting "significant, almost unilateral influences... on the actual formulation of our foreign policies... sometimes completely unknown" to the local American ambassador." Bruce and Lovett concluded with a plea about taking control of covert operations and their consequences:

Should not someone, somewhere in an authoritative position in our government, on a continuing basis, be... calculating... the long-range wisdom of activities which have entailed a virtual abandonment of the international "golden rule," and which, if successful to the degree claimed for them, are responsible in a great measure for stirring up the turmoitl and raising the doubts about us that exist in many countries of the world today?... Where will we be tomorrow? | "Bruce was very much disturbed," Lovett told the Cuba board of inquiry in 1961. "He approached it from the standpoint of 'what right have we to go barging into other countries buying newspapers and handing money to opposition parties or supporting a candidate for this, that or the other office?' He felt this was an outrageous interference with friendly countries....

The CIA itself would like more detail on this report, a copy of which could not be found, in 1995, by the Agency's History Staff. Referring to reports such as the Dulles-Jackson-Correa, Doolittle, Pike, Church, and Rockefeller reports, the Staff "recently ran across a reference to another item, the so-called "Bruce-Lovett" report, that it would very much like to read—if we could find it! The report is mentioned in Peter Grose's recent biography Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles. According to Grose, prepared a report for President Dwight Eisenhower in the fall of 1956 that criticized CIA's alleged fascination with "kingmaking" in the Third World and complained that a "horde of CIA representatives" was mounting foreign political intrigues at the expense of gathering hard intelligence on the Soviet Union.

The History Staff checked the CIA files on the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities (PBCFIA). They checked with the Eisenhower Library. They checked with the National Archives, which holds the PBCFIA records. They checked with the Virginia Historical Society, the custodian of David Bruce's papers. None had a copy.

"Having reached a dead end, we consulted the author of the Dulles biography, Peter Grose. Grose told us that he had not seen the report itself but had used notes made from it by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger for Robert F. Kennedy and His Times (1978). Professor Schlesinger informed us that he had seen the report in Robert Kennedy's papers before they were deposited at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. He had loaned Grose his notes and does not have a copy of these notes or of the report itself.

"This raises an interesting question: how did a report on the CIA written for President Eisenhower in 1956 end up in the RFK papers? We think we have the answer. Robert Lovett was asked to testify before Gen. Maxwell Taylor's board of inquiry on the 1961 Bay of Pigs operation. Robert Kennedy was on that board and may have asked Lovett for a copy of the report. But we do not have the answer to another question: where is the "Bruce-Lovett" report? The JFK Presidential Library has searched the RFK papers without success. Surely the report will turn up some day, even if one government agency and four separate archives so far haven't been able to find it. But this episode helps to prove one of the few Iron Laws of History: the official who keeps the best records gets to tell the story."

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