Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA]


(Record Group 263)
1894-1993 (bulk 1947-74)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 263.1 Administrative History
  • 263.2 General Records of the Central Intelligence Agency 1894-1980
    • 263.2.1 Intelligence studies
    • 263.2.2 Records of the Historical Staff
    • 263.2.3 Records of the Shanghai Municipal Police
  • 263.3 Records of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service and its Predecessors 1941-74
  • 263.4 Records of the Foreign Documents Division 1920-60
  • 263.5 Textual Records (General) 1946-93
  • 263.6 Cartographic Records (General) 1971-86
  • 263.7 Motion Pictures (General) 1952
  • 263.8 Sound Recordings (General) 1963-64

263.1 Administrative History

Established: In the National Security Council, effective September 18, 1947, pursuant to the National Security Act (61 Stat. 495), July 26, 1947.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Office of the Coordinator of Information (OCOI, 1941-42)
  • Office of Strategic Services (OSS, 1942-45)
  • Strategic Services Unit (SSU), Office of the Assistant Secretary of War (1945-46)
  • Central Intelligence Group, National Intelligence Authority (NIA, 1946-47)
Transfers: With the National Security Council to the Executive Office of the President by Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1949, effective August 20, 1949; to independent agency status by EO 12333, December 4, 1981.

Functions: Advises the National Security Council and other Executive branch agencies concerning intelligence matters. Coordinates federal intelligence activities and provides centralized services for other agencies. Develops and disseminates intelligence, counterintelligence, and foreign intelligence information. Engages in intelligence and counterintelligence activities outside the United States.

Finding Aids: Harry Schwartz, comp.,"Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Central Intelligence Agency," NM 40 (1964); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records:
Record copies of publications of the Central Intelligence Agency in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Records of the Office of Strategic Services, RG 226.
Records of the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, RG 262.

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263.2 General Records of the Central Intelligence Agency
1894-1980

History: Office of the Coordinator of Information established with the appointment of William J. Donovan as COI by Presidential order, July 11, 1941, to collect and analyze intelligence information and make it available to the President and selected agencies. Simultaneous with the transfer of Foreign Information Service Branch of OCOI to newly established Office of War Information, by EO 9182, June 13, 1942, remaining OCOI units were redesignated Office of Strategic Services by Presidential military order, June 13, 1942; placed under Joint Chiefs of Staff jurisdiction; and given responsibility for both collecting and analyzing intelligence, and planning and executing special operations. OSS abolished, effective October 1, 1945, by EO 9621, September 20, 1945, with intelligence research, analysis, and graphic presentation functions transferred to Department of State, and general intelligence functions transferred to newly established Strategic Services Unit of Office of the Assistant Secretary of War.

Central Intelligence Group established under the National Intelligence Authority by Presidential directive, January 22, 1946, to plan and coordinate foreign intelligence activities. By National Intelligence Authority Directive 4, April 2, 1946, NIA assumed supervision of the SSU dissolution during spring and summer 1946, assigning some components to Central Intelligence Group at request of Director of Central Intelligence, and effecting incorporation of the remaining units into other War Department organizations. SSU officially abolished by General Order 16, SSU, October 19, 1946.

Central Intelligence Group and National Intelligence Authority abolished by National Security Act, which created the CIA, 1947. SEE 263.1.

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263.2.1 Intelligence studies

Textual Records: Study of the Soviet espionage network in Europe ("Rote Kapelle," 1936-45), 1973. Study of intelligence and counterintelligence activities on the eastern front during World War II (1941-43), n.d. Study of German intelligence activities in the Near East prior to and during World War II (1938-44), n.d.

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263.2.2 Records of the Historical Staff

Textual Records: Unclassified (sanitized) version of CIA historian Arthur B. Darling's The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government, to 1950 (CIA Historical Series, HS-1), 1953; CIA historian Ludwell Lee Montague's General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence, October 1950- February 1953 (CIA Historical Series, DCI-1), 1971, the latter with index; George S. Jackson's and Martin P. Claussen's Organization History of the Central Intelligence Agency, May 1957; and Wayne G. Jackson's Allen Welsh Dulles as Director of Central Intelligence, 26 February 1953 - 29 November 1961 (HRP 91-2/1), 1973. Formerly security-classified Historical Staff collection of primary source materials used in the compilation of security-classified CIA histories ("History Source Collection," 96 ft.),1946-73. Background records relating to Organization History of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1950-1953, by George S. Jackson and Martin P. Claussen (DCI Historical Series, HS-2). Background papers for CIA staff officer Thomas F. Troy's Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency (1981), 1940-80. The Raymond E. Murphy Collection on International Communism, 1917-58.

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263.2.3 Records of the Shanghai Municipal Police

Textual Records: Investigation files, 1894-1947 (50 ft. and 67 rolls of microfilm). Records relating to espionage activities in Shanghai, 1926-48. Microfilm copy of Russian emigrant registration cards and certificates, 1940-52 (16 rolls). Microfilm copy of Tsingtao registration forms, 1946-49 (4 rolls).

Microfilm Publication: M1750.

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263.3 Records of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service and its Predecessors
1941-74

History: Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service established in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by Presidential directive, February 26, 1941, to record, translate, and analyze foreign radio broadcasts. Redesignated Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service by FCC order, July 28, 1942. Transferred to the Military Intelligence Division, War Department General Staff, by order of the Secretary of War, December 30, 1945; and to the Central Intelligence Group, National Intelligence Authority, August 5, 1946. Renamed the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, October 31, 1946, and Foreign Broadcast Information Branch, December 31, 1946. Transferred to CIA, and assigned to Directorate of Intelligence, September 25, 1947. Redesignated Foreign Broadcast Information Division, December 13, 1950, and transferred, as the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, to the Directorate of Science and Technology, July 1, 1965.

Textual Records: Daily transcripts and summaries of monitored foreign radio broadcasts, and daily teletypes of material selected for transmission to government agencies, 1947-48 (144 ft.). Summaries, miscellaneous reports, and notes of broadcasts, 1947-48. Daily reports, 1941-59. Transcripts of monitored broadcasts relating to the Vietnam War, 1957-74 (114 ft.).

Related Records: Records of the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, RG 262. Record copies of publications of the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (CIA) in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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263.4 Records of the Foreign Documents Division
1920-60

Textual Records: Scientific information reports, 1958-60. Reports relating to Soviet bloc International Geophysical Year activities, 1958-60. Index of names from selected German documents captured during World War II, 1920-45 (21 ft.). Reference materials relating to German documents during World War II, 1933-45. Captured Italian registers of suspected foreign intelligence agents in Italy, 1920-40.

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263.5 Textual Records (General)
1946-93

Selected records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1964-93. Unclassified Directorate of Operations personality files on Lee Harvey Oswald, 1963-93; and Raoul Wallenberg, 1945-93. Office of National Estimates publication, "The Law and Custom of the National Intelligence Estimate" by Sherman Kent. Estimates of the Office of Research and Estimates (ORE), 1946-50. National intelligence estimates concerning the Soviet Union, 1950-83; and Soviet military power, 1956-84. Directorate of Intelligence records relating to CIA reporting on the Soviet Union, 1957-79. Miscellaneous studies, 1954. Team A/Team B estimates of Soviet offensive threat, 1976. Articles, 1955-92, from Studies In Intelligence. Studies and other records relating to the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency in Guatamala, 1952-54. Records relating to the paramilitary Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, 1961. Daily calendars and telephone logs for Directors Sidney Souers and Hoyt Vandenberg, 1946-47.

Subject Access Terms: Kennedy, John F.; Oswald, Lee Harvey; Wallenberg, Raoul; Cuba; Bay of Pigs.

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263.6 Cartographic Records (General)
1971-86
440 items

Maps: Published maps of various countries, showing topography, population, administrative divisions, land utilization, economic activity, and ethnology, 1971-86.

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263.7 Motion Pictures (General)
1952
3 reels

Films alleging the use of bacteriological or germ warfare by the United States during the Korean War, produced by the Peking Film Studio (with English-language narration) and by the National Film Studio of North Korea (English-language subtitles), 1952.

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263.8 Sound Recordings (General)
1963-64
1 item

Audiotape of Lee Harvey Oswald on the WDSU radio station program "Carte Blanche."


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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