The Office of the Coordinator of Information was an intelligence agency of the United States Government, founded on July 11, 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, prior to U.S. involvement in the Second World War. It was intended to overcome the lack of coordination between existing agencies which, in part, it did by duplicating some of their functions.
Roosevelt was encouraged to create the agency by British officials, John H. Godfrey, head of the British Naval Intelligence Division and William Stephenson, head of British Security Coordination in New York City. New York attorney and Distinguished Service Cross recipient William Joseph Donovan was appointed head of the new agency. The office acquired staff and offices from various existing departmental services, including the undercover branch of the Office of Naval Intelligence. The agency had a total staff of 600 and a budget of $10 million.
In 1942, following U.S. involvement in the war, the COI split in two, with covert operations coming under the control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the Office of Strategic Services, and propaganda operations being transferred to a newly formed Office of War Information.
- COI Came First, from the website of the CIA