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Timeline of the Office of Strategic Services (Record Group 226)

Date Ranges:

A review of organizational development within the Office of Stategic Services provides context for appreciating the origin, arrangement, and condition of the records.


July - August, 1940 First William Donovan mission to Europe
December - March, 1940 Second William Donovan mission to Europe
Spring - Fall, 1941 Establishment of Following: Foreign Information Service, Research and Analysis Branch, Visual Presentation Branch, Oral Intelligence Service, Undercover Collection, liason with British, special activities K and L funds
June 10, 1941

William Donovan's memo to the President proposing the creation of the Service of Strategic Information

June 25, 1941 Presidential order appointing William Donovan Coordinator of Strategic Information
July 11, 1941 Presidential order creating the Office of Coordinator f Information (COI)
Fall, 1941 Creation of the Army-Navy Joint Intelligence Committee
December 22, 1941 William Donovan paper on the British Commando System


March, 1942 Joint Psychological Warfare Committee created by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
June 13, 1942 Presidential order creates the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), places it under the JCS
June 21, 1942 JCS reorganizes the Joint Psychological Warfare Committee, with William donovan as chairman
August 25, 1942 Brigadier General John Magruder submits a "Proposed Plan for Joint Intelligence Bureau"
December 22, 1942 JCS abolishes the Joint Psychological Warfare Committee and gives its functions to the OSS
Winter, 1943 JCS creates the Joint Intelligence Collection Agency
January 19, 1943 The JCS supports Army and Navy position regarding the release of information to the OSS
July, 1943 General Magruder states his ideas on a permanent U.S. intelligence system to the Executive Secretary of the JCS
September 17, 1943 William Donovan gives details of his plan to General Walter Smith
October 27, 1943 JCS makes final revision of intelligence functions of OSS


Fall, 1944 Joint Intelligence Staff (JIS) produces a service plan and a civilian plan for permanent National intelligence service
November 18, 1944 William Donovan submits to the President a final draft of his plan for "permanent worldwide intelligence service"
December 22, 1944 Joint Intelligence Committee begins work of perfecting services and civilian plans
December 26, 1944 William Donovan leaves for Europe, having rejected the services plan but accepting most of the civilian plan
January 9, 1945

At a White House conference, President Truman decides in favor of the JCS plan.Indicates Signey Souers to become first Director of Central Intelligence (DCI)

January 18, 1945 Joint Strategic Survey Committee's report accepts the JIC plan as superior to William Donovan's plan
Feburary 9, 1945 Leak to the press of William Donovan's plan and JIC plan
April 5 - May 16, 1945 William Donovan's exchanges of letters with departmental secretaries concering proposed new intelligence agency
May 25 -27, 1945 Wartime commanders reply to inquiry of the House Appropriations Committee concerning the use of the OSS in the Pacific Theater
August 25, 1945 Budget Bureau advises William Donovan that continuation of the OSS is unlikely
September 19, 1945 JCS revives their plan and sends it to the Secretaries of War and Navy
September 20, 1945 The OSS ends by Presidential order. The Research and Analysis and Presentation Branches are sent to the State Department. All other activities are sent to the War Department where the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) is established


January 22, 1946 President's directive establishes the central Intelligence Group (CIG)
Feburary - March, 1946

Interdepartmental committee studies the problema nd recommends that the SSU should be liquidated, and partly taken over by the CIG

Summer - October, 1946 Liquidation of the SSU except for those personnel and foreign stations taken over by the CIG
July 26, 1947

National Security Act becomes law

September 18, 1947 The National Security Act establishes the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to replace the CIG