In This Review

The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument Of Government, To 1950
The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument Of Government, To 1950
By Arthur P. Darling
Penn State University Press, 1990, 509 pp

With what has to be called intrepid diligence, the CIA Historical Office is finally registering success in its six-year campaign to unscrew the secrecy lids on its own studies of the American intelligence system. First fruit is this authoritative account of the bureaucratic struggles that led in 1947 to the establishment of the CIA, and the ensuing battles for turf among the military services, the State Department and the controversial new agency. The late Arthur Darling, a revered teacher of history to generations of Phillips Andover boys (including George Bush), was brought in as the first official CIA historian. His detailed study, written in 1952-53, has the virtues and limitations of the iconoclastic outsider's perspective on a consummate in-group-but based on full access to materials that are still classified. Allen Dulles, for one, was so upset with the irreverence of a member of his own staff-Darling is almost catty, if one reads between the lines, about Dulles himself-that he restricted access to the study even within the agency. Penn State University Press performs a notable service by making this declassified document available to a wide audience and in providing the sensitive annotations by Bruce D. Berkowitz and Allen E. Goodman. More volumes will follow as documents are released from the agency's archives.