Katzenbach Committee Report
The 1967 Katzenbach Committee Report was approved by the CIA Director in March 1967 and was binding on any of CIA relations with American organizations. It specifically prohibits covert financial assistance or support, direct or indirect, to any US educational or private voluntary organization. Any relationship or operation the Agency had wwith an American organizatlon must be and was within these guidelines.
On February 15, 1967 President Johnson appointed a committee composed of Under Secretary of State Katzenbach (Chairman), Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare John W. Gardner, and Director of Central Intelligence Helms to inquire into the relationships between government agencies and private organizations operating abroad. The panel was established in response to press reports, particularly Sol Stern's article, "A Short Account of International Student Politics & the Cold War with Particular Reference to the NSA, CIA, etc.," Ramparts magazine, 5 (March 1967), pp. 29-39, of CIA secret funding over the years of private organizations, which became involved in confrontations with Communist-influenced groups at international gatherings. (The New York Times, February 16, 1967, pp. 1, 26) Text of an interim report, February 22, as well as the final report of the Katzenbach Committee, March 29, are in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 1214-1217. For text of the President's statement accepting the committee's proposed statement of policy and directing all agencies of the U.S. Government to implement it fully, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, pp. 403-404.
The Asia Foundation (TAF), a Central Intelligence Agency proprietary, was established in 1954 to undertake cultural and educational activities on behalf of the United States Government in ways not open to official U.S. agencies. Over the following twelve years TAF has accomplished its assigned mission with increasing effectiveness and has, in the process, become a widely-known institution, in Asia and the United States. TAF was experiencing inquiries regarding its sources of funds and connections with the U.S. Government from the aggressive leftist publication, Ramparts.
It was conceivable that such inquiries would lead to a published revelation of TAF's CIA connection. In the climate of national dissent and in the wake of critical press comment on CIA involvement with American universities, a public allegation that CIA funds and controls TAF would be seized upon, with or without proof, and magnified beyond its actual significance to embarrass the Administration and U.S. national interests at home and abroad. Some immediate defensive and remedial measures were required. Substantial private contributions and those of foundations are inhibited, if not precluded, by CIA association with such organizations as The Asia Foundation.
Pursuant to the recommendations of the Katzenbach Committee, as approved by the President of the United States, the Director of Central Intelligence ordered that covert funding of The Asia Foundation (TAF) be terminated at the earliest practicable opportunity. In anticipation of TAF's disassociation from the Agency the Board of Trustees on March 21, 1967, released to the American and foreign press a carefully limited statement of admission of past CIA support. In so doing the Trustees sought to delimit the effects of an anticipated exposure of Agency support by the American press and, if their statement or some future expose does not seriously impair TAF's acceptability in Asia, to continue operating in Asia with overt private and official support. The March 21 statement produced no serious threat to TAF operations in Asia, and the Trustees prepared to attempt to acquire the necessary support for TAF to go on as a private institution, partially supported by overt U.S. Government grants.
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