Report by the Ad Hoc Committee to the State–Army–Navy–Air Force Coordinating Committee

top secret

SANACC 382/6

Policy Concerning Transfers to Non-Soviet Countries of Military Supplies of U.S. Origin 1

the problem

1. To determine what principles should govern the transfer to foreign countries of military supplies of United States origin.

discussion and facts bearing on the problem

2. The Committee’s instructions were in two parts—to examine into the factors affecting the armament situation of the non-Soviet nations (SANA–5827,2 Para. 1a), and to formulate a policy governing all transfers to foreign countries of military supplies of U.S. origin (SANA–5827, para. 1b).

3. With respect to the first part of the instructions, it was the Committee’s view that these factors had already been sufficiently investigated for its purposes. Reference is made particularly to the SANACC 360 series,3 which concerns policies, procedures, and costs of assistance by the United States to foreign countries.

4. A related paper, NSC 14/1,4 was approved by the President on [Page 578] 10 July 1948. The SWNCC 202 series5 deals with policy relative to the transfer to foreign countries of military supplies of United States origin, and SANACC 390 and related papers6 with the provision of United States equipment to the Italian armed forces. The question of the relative importance of programs of United States military assistance to foreign nations has been referred to the Rearmament Subcommittee (SANA–5975).7

5. Accordingly, the Committee excluded from its consideration these questions which are already resolved or are being considered elsewhere, and addressed itself to the general principles which the United States Government should apply in deciding whether to transfer military supplies of United States origin to a foreign country, in the absence of a controlling policy already established for that country. Conclusions reached by the Committee are therefore not directed to transfers made in pursuance of an established policy or program of military assistance.


6. Pending the achievement of conditions of international confidence which would make possible the putting into effect of a system for the regulation and reduction of armaments, it should be the policy of the United States to authorize transfers to foreign countries, by sale or otherwise, of military supplies of United States origin, whether such supplies are of government or private ownership, if the transfers are determined to be in the interest of the United States and not inconsistent with the security interest of the United States.

7. In addition to the primary requirement of being in the interest of the United States, such transfers should also be determined to be reasonable or necessary for one or more of the following purposes:

To enable a country to maintain internal order in the reasonable and legitimate exercise of constituted authority, or
To enable a country to provide for and to exercise its right of self-defense against armed attack, or
To assist a country to discharge its international responsibilities for:
Furnishing contingents to the Security Council pursuant to Article 43 of the Charter of the United Nations, and
Carrying out military occupation in enemy or ex-enemy territory.

[Page 579]

8. In determining whether a particular transfer of military supplies to a foreign country will be in the interest of the United States, the following factors should be considered, together with any others that may be appropriate at the time:

The purpose for which the supplies are intended. This will especially involve a consideration of paragraph 7.
Whether the country concerned will use the supplies for the purpose intended.
Whether the transfer would be consistent with the security interest of the United States. At present the chief security interest of the United States lies in supporting resistance to immediate or potential communist aggression.
The effect of the transfer upon the United Nations and upon relations between the United Nations, the United States, and other countries.
The stability and political nature of the country concerned.
The geographical and strategic location of the country concerned.
The availability of the supplies and the effect on the United States economy of providing them.
Whether it would be more advantageous for the United States to retain the supplies for its own use or to provide them for use by the country concerned.
Whether it would be more advantageous for the United States to transfer new military supplies or maintenance equipment for military supplies already provided.


The term “military supplies” is used herein to mean military or naval items of all kinds and types, including those which may be defined from time to time by or pursuant to Presidential Proclamation as arms, ammunition and implements of war.
The United States should continue to reserve the right to recapture all military supplies of U.S. lend-lease origin now held by foreign governments subject to this right, except such articles as may from time to time be sold outright to third governments or to other parties by or with the consent of the United States. The granting of consent by the United States to transfers by sale or otherwise by a presently-holding government to a third government shall be subject to the provisions of paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 above.


10. It is recommended that SANACC approve the above conclusions and transmit them to the National Security Council for information and to the Departments of State, Army, Navy and Air Force for information and appropriate action in connection with NSC 14/1.

  1. This report was prepared by an ad hoc committee appointed by the State–Army–Navy–Air Force Coordinating Committee on November 4, 1947, pursuant to a request by the War Department on August 5, 1947, that such a study be undertaken by a special committee. SANACC devoted considerable effort between the above dates to defining the terms of reference of the new ad hoc committee in view of the studies of a related nature previously undertaken by the Rearmament Subcommittee of SANACC (see SANACC 360/5, July 26, 1948, p. 597), and by the ad hoc Committee which was preparing the foreign assistance policy study SWNCC 360/3, October 3, 1947, not printed. For information regarding the preparation and implementation of papers in the SWNCC 360 series during 1947, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. i, pp. 725750, passim, and ibid., vol. iii, pp. 197249, passim.

    The new ad hoc Committee submitted its report, SANACC 382/5, on May 5, 1948. The present paper is a revision by the ad hoc Committee of that report, submitted to SANACC on June 18, 1948. The parent committee approved the revision on July 23, 1948, and transmitted it to the National Security Council. SANACC adopted on October 7 an amendment proposed by the Navy Member on September 8, to include reference to NSC 14/1, July 1 (p. 585). The text printed here reflects that amendment. (SANACC Files)

  2. Not printed.
  3. See footnote 1, above.
  4. Of July 1, p. 585.
  5. For SWNCC 202/2, March 21, 1946, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, p. 1145; SWNCC 202/4, Department of State views with respect to military assistance, was based upon document SC–208, December 20, 1946. For the text of the latter, see ibid., p. 1189. Subsequent papers in the series were cancelled, withdrawn, or superseded by other studies and are not printed.
  6. For the text of SANACC 390/1, January 16, 1948, see vol. iii, p. 757.
  7. Not printed.