BRIEFING OF CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP ON U-2 INCIDENT; 9 MAY 1960, 1415-1600, RO

Created: 5/10/1960

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MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD

SUBJECT: Briefing of Congressional Leadership

,apitol

from CIA were Mr. Dulles, General Cabell, Mr. Blssell and Mr. Lund;:hi anti group.

1. State

Herter opened the) briefing with the observation

that the incident involving the flight oflaneay had

ledreat deal of interpretation and, ln the process, of course,

some mis-interpretation. this comment with the readingreparedIssued to the press later (attached) Mr. Herter then introduced Mr. Dulles and stated that Mr. Dulles would Ijf: able to brief the Congressmen on what had happened and the

Allen W. Dulles "' Z1

. Dulles^gfu notreparedub spoke

real value of these overflights. 2. Mr. Allen W. Dulles

Mr,

et of notes^/JHe covered the following polntsT

For background on this operation, we should^s'tart

with eh Nationa>*fiecurity Act7 which ^ej^Mated CIA with collecting Int^illgencefra.gentlal toational security. Subsequently there had been--atybs^alecurity Council directives/Issued toImplementation of that mission.

he USSR has beenecret behind -ltd Iron Curtain. Obviously our national securibv requires

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;hat we have, for defensive and retaliatory purposes, an appreciation of Soviet military strength and capabilities as the location of military installations. If, fo/ example, the location and number of Soviet bases are kepte wouldn't know whereyto direct retaliatory blows.

5 Summit Conference the President offered the "opento the Soviets. Thie proposal not only was rejected By-the Soviets but they actua/ly reinforced their security measurVs thereafter. In the meanwhile, the Soviets continued to have, ready access to tjfilltary Information on ths United States since >juch of this yh open knowledge. We

ather/hg Intelligence on Soviet military capabilities and activities/were largely ineffective due to the controls imposed by them.

d. Early lna project was Initiatedup with an aircraft which would provide the type ofdesired to obtain this intelligence byas in being the 2nd of By that"open skies" proposal had been rejectedthe RussiansSuhnit Cjnlerepce. Meanwhile the USSR waa Continuingbases agS missilesighly secretive an Intolerable situation from the viewpoint ofbecause we did not have the facts or thewhich to plan our defensive and retaliatory forces oV This is essential information for thegreat State" .

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e-v olicy directive was Issued to CIA toonvl^al targets In the USSR byus. The detailsimingof>-tTtfa was left to onsldorabj^nomher of flights have been

nformation has beenon missiles,

bomber bases, nuclear sites, and other viral targetslj

[7lR. flSRTKIl: Mr. Herter Interposed at this point nnl QOftavJ

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Ltionajmisslonjuntilthe first ofMR. DULLES: In responseumber of questions from various

Congressmen, Mr. Dulles indicated the , ,

a. The first operational flight ofas en

Mr. rgllea haslfcu

specify-the total

over thisircraft had been loargn an

number of flights undertaken by .theiw^qh being prmiwii glatrtas resweJmui l

b. On the question of.:the- circumstances under which

Wwgg 'tiffin?.Powers was shot down,', Mr. ^Dulles stated that we tended not

to believe the story put out by Khrushchev. He said it

was quite possible that there hadlameout in which

case the pilot would have to descendower altitude

ore oxygen. It could have been that .the plane waa

shot down by anti-aircraftlower altitude

at some stage of the descent. He noted that pilot loss.

of oxygen was part of our original cover story.

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responseuestion on theof, Mr. Dulles noted that wewant to reveal thlahat It waa capable of level^nighT^YoToOO feet.

answeruestion as to whether or not he

t:ioaghi the Russians actually had the film from

Kr. Dulle3 answered that it was quite possible since film

ard to destroy.

a question Involving provisions forthe plane, Mr. Dulles noted that such existed butaction on the part of the pilot ln hisabandoning the plane. He explained that wewhether or not the pilot actually set theIn motion. Mr. Dulles added In thisaccording to the experts -afce* plane remnantsby the Soviets for news photographs may well not the remain, of the

CONGRESSMAN: ongressman stated that while he agreedshould be done to obtain this type offelt public acknowledgment we were doing this wasquite

CONGRESSMAN: Another Congressman responded at this Juncture that he felt public disclosure of this type of activity wouldeneficial effect upon. people. In his opinion, the American people,esult of thiswould know that we are not afraid of doing

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whatever is necessary to assure national security. He

also noted that, in his opinion, this would not affect

the Summit Conference.

MR. HERTER: Mr. Herter Interjected that at one time ln the

history of this project we had seriously considered taking

the product ofndeavors before the United Nations

and surfacing It to show what the Russians were really

un to. *

MR. In responseuestion Involving altitude and ball-out height, Mr. Dulles noted our lack of knowledge on precisely what had happened and stated vre were otudylng avallabjo evidence to see if we could not reconstruct the circumstances. He said to one Congressman,specifically, that he would give him more details on altitude later.

MR. DULLr.S: In responseuestion concerning the kind of individual Powers was, Mr. Dulles stated that he had had an Air Force background reinforced by extensive training, and in general was eminently suited for the Job to be done. He also noted that some of Khrushchev's story as related to Powers doesn't seem to Jibe but we assume that In time we will get at the truth. He added that Powers had been with us four years and, during that period, hadather rigorous and confining life-without many outside contacts.

ongressman wanted to know whether It wouldice turnabout, if we coulded spy ln. a'c this time and surface him to take some of the play away

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i.-ja Kiii-uahchev by showing that this type of thing lo Leing done by both sides. MR. DULLES: Mr. Dulles brought up the Abel Case inery capable Russian spy was caught red-handed not too long ago with transmitting equipment, codes, etc. He mid that somebody might talk to J. Edgar Hoover on this

one.

MR. HAYBURN: Mr. Rayburn said that one facet of interest to him was who gave the order for this flight.

MH. DULLES: Mr. Dulles responded that sometimes the release of flights was made in the field and sometimes by Vishiniton. He elucidated on the field releases byumber of local factors were often Involved, plus rapidly changing weather conditions which necessitated some authority ln the field.

MR. RAYBURN: Mr. Rayburn wanted to know if thisather doubtful time to releaselight with the Summit

Conference coming on and being so close.

. DULLES: Mr. Dulles responded that this could be argued

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two ways: on the one hand, don'thance of disturbing the Conference; on the other hand, lt might provide some useful information for the Conference. MR. RAYBURN: Mr. Rayburn stated that this briefing was the

only time he had heard about any such flight and stressed that he had neverord about lt until today. He also reiterated that he questioned someone'3 Judgment

ending up the flight at this particular time.

MR.S: Mr. Dulles responded that he regretted that Mr. Rayburn had not been briefed."

CONGRESSMAN: Congressman Halleck stated that

obviously this technique was no longer secret and that

he had not been briefed either. He noted that he had gone

to the White Houseonference at some critical

v juncture during the Korean War and the question of Red

Cninese capabilities had come up. Nobody seemed to have any Idea of their capabilities because we could not fly over the Chinese Mainland. He had felt then that we ought to be ferreting out this type of Information. He concluded by stating that he, for one, agreed that we should find out by overflights where the Communist strength was in order to be able to defend ourselves.

SEKATOT BRIDGES: Senator Bridges wanted to know if there had been any Russian flights over our country.

MR. DULLES: Mr. Dulles stated that essentially the Soviets

did not need to overflyo-pbtaln their Information. Quite aside from the^fact^hat': the^Sovletsifficult problem ln overflight of. and return to Soviet territory ln one trip Mr. Dulles noted that theren aont Soviet flights over AlaskaiL*.l

CONGRESSMAN: ongressman wanted to know If powers' terminal point on this trip was In Norway.

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MR. DULLES: Mr. Dulles responded that we weren't sure because the pilot had various^alternatives, one of which, for example, was to go to Norway'and another, to loop back south againase south of the USSR.

MR. HERTER: Mr. Herter interjected that the Norwegianreally did not know that we were doing this andlinr; the truth when it denied official knowledge of our uoe of the flight base on its territory for this purpose. Mr. Herter added that this aspect of the matter wa3 quite sensitive and actually involved surreptitious evacuation.

3. Mr..Art Lundahl

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Art Lundahl proceeded toeries of photographs (See attached for list of charts used) and charts/to demonstrate the unique value of this intelligence

technicj'ie an'l to demonstrate its significance for purposes of

national security.

SENATOR MANSFIELD: Senator Mansfield interrupted to inquire whether any Cabinet members knew of this flight. The response from Mr. Dulles was that he believed not. Senator Mansfield then wanted to know whether Powers operated under the 'cotnmand";vof the Colonel in Turkey.

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While Mr. Dulles was-attempting to respond to this question by noting certain-areas of field authority for rileaalns flights, Mr. Mansfield rephrased hiB question by asking who was Powers' boss? Mr. Dulles began by

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ine that the flight patterns were established here In

field ViMr} Wans-/jthen asked whether or not the

Air Force Colonel knew of .'Powers' mission? Mr. Dulles

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replied that the Colonel-did'Icnowof^Powers' mission but there were certain local authorities Involving Heather and local conditions. CONGRESSMAN: In responseuestion askedongressman at to tha ranee of, Mr. Bissellautical miles.

CONGRESSMAN: ongressman noted that by and large the Khrushchevstory seemed accurate.

MR. BISSELL: fir. Bissell responded that it was by and large lthough weeeling there are some deliberateon the circumstances involved in the loss of tho aircraft..

SENATOR T'ANSFIELD: Senator Mansfield wanted to know whether t'ltn salaryonth for Powers wa3 correct.

MR. BISSELL: Mr. Bissell stated that the figure was correct,ongressman noted that under the circumstances it was well worth it.

MR. BISSELL: Mr. Bissell stated that on many flights there had been interception attempts by Red aircraft but they could net get close enough to do any good. During one of the earlierussian interceptor had been caughtph and our photo interpreters put the interceptor

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oint0 feet below. Some of the

characteristics and uses ofere Indicated by

Hr. Bissell as being the following:

speednots.

photography into the USSR fromborders.

film to provide forocoverage dependent upon several

1 d. Use of recorders on overflights to pick up 1usslan electronicThis was useful in providing data on the.characteristics, location, and other features of the, USSR radar system.)

a. ^Actual use for weather flights. (NASA, for' example, hadjdohe considerable weather research withnd also usedfor upper atmospheric sampling of nuclear debris.)

f. Installation of .special electronic gear for

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flights south of the"Soviet'border to pick up missile telemetry.

CONGRESSMAN: ongressman wanted to know how far we can see into the USSReripheral flight.

MR. LUNOAHL: Art Lundahl stated that it depended upon a

number of variables but, for example, if we wereiles outside the border we could certainly take oblique photographs covering up toiles Inside Soviet territory.

SSCHETftHY HEirfER: Secretary Herter emphasized that the

President had not been Involved inay flight but Khrushchev was probably adopting this line in view of the forthcoming Summit Conference. Mr. Herter added that it was very hard to tell what Khrushchev had in mind and, although idid not personally believe it, there was some speculationICiiushchev did not want to go to the Summit Conference.

*, Hr. Herter also noted that there was some opinion Khrushchev

was not finding "all easy going" at homeonsideration

in his attitude onncident was strengthening his

personal position at home as well as the possibility of a

Summit failure. I

MR. LUMDAHL: Art Lundahl then continued with the balance of his briefing which involved photographs of the Soviet provingound for nuclear testing.

CONQHJSm&IANi ongressman wanted to know how much of the USSR-vc had photographed during this periodlights.

MR. DULLES: Mr. Dulles respondedreat deal of the USSR vras of no particular interest to us and indicated that it would be difficult to state what percentage of coverage PS had obtained of the percentage of Soviet territory inere interested.

Tlu: briefing concluded with Senator Dirksen bringing

up the point that the participants should have some kind of agreement with respect to the great clamor for news on this subject. Mr. Dulles stated that for obvious reasons CIA would

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like i'cs section of the briefing considered off-the-record. Secretary Herter stated that his opening statement had been prepared for release to the press. Mr. Rayburn stood up and announced to all Congressional participants that he would give the not naen no comment whatsoever. The balance of those present seemcit co accent thla as their guideline.

Attachments

Secretary Herter Press Statement.

List of photos and charts.

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Original document.

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