SPA Files

Memorandum by the Associate Chief of the Division of International Security Affairs (Blaisdell)

Notes Regarding Status of SWNCC 219/8 “U.S. Guidance as to the Armed Forces To Be Made Available to the Security Council of the United Nations2

  • 1. Development of SWNCC 219/8; the paper originated with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was revised in collaboration with the State Department. In its present form it has the approval of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee which means the approval among other things of the Secretary of State. It has also been discussed informally [Page 770] by Mr. Acheson with the President, who has indicated his agreement.3
  • 2. Document 219/8 contains proposals which are political in character as well as military. For example, the proposal that the governments of the five permanent members of the Security Council provide the major portion of the security forces initially. The Security Council to which the Military Staff Committee report is composed of representatives of six other members as well as of the five permanent members.
  • 3. In view of paragraph 2 above, it has been felt that the Military Staff Committee should operate with respect to Article 43 under a Security Council directive setting out the principles to be followed in negotiating the agreements.
  • 4. The Security Council adopted a directive at its last meeting in London on February 16, 1946. There follows an excerpt from the Journal of the Security Council for its meeting of this date. Sir Alexander Cadogan, the United Kingdom, proposed: “… ‘that the Security Council should request the Military Staff Committee to meet at the temporary headquarters of United Nations simultaneously with the first meeting of the Security Council at the temporary headquarters in New York and that the Council should direct the Military Staff Committee as its first task to examine from the military point of view the provisions in article 43 of the Charter and submit the results of the study and any recommendations to the Council in due course.’…” This was agreed to without objection.
  • 5. After discussion among the Security Council group of the United States Department of State, a suggested procedure was developed for complying with this directive (see Mr. Rusk’s paper of March 22, 1946,4 particularly paragraph 2, a). The recommended principles, which it is felt the United States should advocate, have been extracted from SWNCC 219/8 and have been set out in a separate paper.5
  • 6. The Military Staff Committee has adopted the procedure suggested by the United States representative, the subcommittee has been set up, and it was agreed in the Military Staff Committee to have the subcommittee receive draft principles from each of the members represented. [Page 771] The principles extracted from SWNCC 219/8 are being presented to the subcommittee as the United States proposal.6
  1. SWNCC 219/8 was a basic interdepartmental statement of United States policy with respect to Security Council armed forces. It was a revision of SWNCC 219/6/D, a document circulated within the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on February 1. SWNCC referred SWNCC 219/6/D to the Ad Hoc Committee to Effect Collaboration Between the State, War, and Navy Departments on the Security Functions of the United Nations Organization which considered it on February 8 and recommended changes which were incorporated into SWNCC 219/7. SWNCC 219/8 represents the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommended text slightly revised and approved by the parent body on February 27.

    SWNCC 219/8 contained the following conclusions:

    “That the agreements establishing the numbers and types of forces, their degree of readiness and general location and the nature of the facilities and assistance to be provided should preferably be concluded between the Security Council and each individual member nation, although negotiations leading to individual agreements may be facilitated by dealing simultaneously with groups of nations in generally similar circumstances.”

    “That a standard form of agreement along the lines of the annexed draft agreement may be used as found convenient by the Security Council as a basis for negotiations with member nations.” A draft standard form of agreement was included; that draft was submitted to the Military Staff Committee as MS/58, May 18.

    The United States should provide one corps comprising two divisions, a balanced task force of 5 wings, one carrier task group, amphibious and sea transport lift for the above forces to the extent available, plus adequate surface support.

    “The contribution by any member and especially by smaller nations should not exceed their military capability of maintenance and should be based on the ability and willingness of each member nation to make available such force.”

    “No fixed limit should be set for the entire Security Force at this time. Therefore, the size and composition of the entire force cannot now be determined.”

    Transportation and other assistance and facilities should be provided for.

    “The permanent members of the Security Council should agree upon and announce their respective quotas initially.”

    “No reduction should be made in their quotas merely to maintain the total Security Force at a fixed over-all strength; any reductions in their quotas should be based on developments in the world situation and the ability and willingness of member nations to contribute.”

    “The Security Council should set the earliest practicable target date for the availability of the pool of forces to be furnished. Subject to legislative processes, it is now estimated that U.S. forces as far as military preparations are concerned might be ready by 1 January 1947.” (SWNCC Files)

  2. Mr. Acheson described his discussion with President Truman on March 27 in a memorandum of the same day. The President approved transmitting SWNCC 219/8 to Stettinius and to the United States Representatives on the Military Staff Committee as a tentative basis of discussion. During the same conversation, President Truman suggested that the views of Senators Connally, Vandenberg, and Thomas (of Utah), on SWNCC 219/8 be solicited. (501.BC/3–2646)
  3. Ante, p. 766.
  4. Ante, p. 769.
  5. The United States Representatives presented the principles under reference to the Military Staff Committee as MS/28, April 1.