Policy Planning Staff Files

Memorandum by the Acting Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Butler) to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)

top secret

NSC 7, dated March 30, 1948, a paper on “The Position of the United States with Respect to Soviet-Directed World Communism”, has been distributed to National Security Council members, but has not yet been put on the agenda for a Council meeting.

While recognizing the shortcomings of the paper, some members of the Planning Staff thought it contained a few specific recommendations of value and that Council approval would do no harm. Messrs. Bohlen,1 Rusk, Henderson,2 Hickerson3 and Butterworth think the paper is too general, that the recommendations are not clear and specific enough, and that it is not a satisfactory document for approval [Page 561] by NSC on an important problem. They do recognize the urgency of the problem but do not think this paper is the answer.

Mr. Kennan feels very strongly that the Secretary and he should have an opportunity to study and comment on the paper before the National Security Council members consider it. Mr. Bohlen concurs in this view. The Planning Staff so recommends.

If you approve, I will informally and orally request Admiral Souers to defer placing the paper on the agenda pending further clearance from State. He may need some moral support, since the Military Establishment wants a policy paper on this subject.4

[Here follows discussion regarding anti-communist measures within the inter-American system; for documentation on that subject, see volume IX, pages 193 ff.]

  1. Charles E. Bohlen, Counselor of the Department.
  2. Loy W. Henderson, Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs.
  3. John D. Hickerson, Director of the Office of European Affairs.
  4. The source text bears Lovett’s initial indicating approval of the suggested action. In a marginal notation, the Under Secretary made the following additional comment: “I think the paper is inadequate and will give a false Impression if not revised—as an initial study it may have value.”