Editorial Note

The National Security Council (NSC) was established by the National Security Act of July 26, 1947 (P.L. 253, 80th Congress; 61 Stat, (pt. 1) 495). Its membership included the President, the Secretaries of State, Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, and the Chairman of the National Security Resources Board.

The duties of the NSC as specified by the National Security Act were: [Page 761]

to assess and appraise the objectives, commitments, and risks of the United States in relation to our actual and potential military power, in the interest of national security, for the purpose of making recommendations to the President in connection therewith; and
to consider policies on matters of common interest to the departments and agencies of the Government concerned with the national security, and to make recommendations to the President in connection therewith.

For additional information on the operations of the Council, see Henry M. Jackson, ed., The National Security Council: Jackson Subcommittee Papers on Policy-Making at the Presidential Level (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, 1965), and James S. Lay, Jr. (Assistant Executive Secretary of the NSC), “The National Security Council”, in The American Foreign Service Journal, March 1948, page 7.