S/SNSC Files: Lot 63D351: NSC 14 Series

Report to the President by the National Security Council

top secret
NSC 14/1

Note by the Executive Secretary on the Position of the United States With Respect to Providing Military Assistance to Nations of the Non-Soviet World

Reference: NSC 141

At its 14th Meeting,2 the National Security Council considered a draft report on the above subject (NSC 14) and adopted it in the revised form enclosed herewith.

The National Security Council recommends that the President approve the Conclusions contained herein and direct that they be implemented by all appropriate Executive Departments and Agencies of the US Government under the coordination of the Secretary of State.3

Sidney W. Souers

Executive Secretary

Report by the National Security Council on the Position of the United States With Respect to Providing Military Assistance to Nations of the Non-Soviet World

the problem

1. To assess and appraise the position of the United States with respect to providing military assistance in the form of supplies, equipment and technical advice to nations of the non-Soviet world.


2. The success of certain free nations in resisting aggression by the forces of Soviet directed world communism is of critical importance to the security of the United States. Some of these nations require not only economic assistance but also strengthened military capabilities if they are to continue and make more effective their political resistance to communist subversion from within and Soviet pressure from without and if they are to develop ultimately an increased military capability to withstand external armed attack. Although they possess [Page 586] considerable military potential in manpower and resources, these nations are industrially incapable of producing intricate modern armaments and equipment in the necessary quantities. Consequently if they are to develop stronger military capabilities it is essential that their own efforts be effectively coordinated and be supplemented by assistance in the form of military supplies, equipment and technical advice from the United States.

3. Such military assistance from the United States would not only strengthen the moral and material resistance of the free nations, but would also support their political and military orientation toward the United States, augment our own military potential by improvement of our armaments industries, and through progress in standardization of equipment and training increase the effectiveness of military collaboration between the United States and its allies in the event of war.

4. US military assistance to foreign nations since Lend-Lease does not appear to have sprung from any well-coordinated program. The practice in general has been to provide surplus US equipment to nations urgently in need of strengthening or as a measure of US political interest. In some instances, spare parts, ammunition, and means of maintenance have been furnished at the time of the original transfer, but no system for a continuing supply of ammunition and maintenance items has been evolved.

5. There is at present an extensive but not a comprehensive legislative basis for the provision of military assistance. The following legislative authorizations for transferring US military equipment to foreign nations are in effect:

The Surplus Property Act4 (which is not designed for support of military assistance programs), and
Certain special legislation applying to the following:
Philippine Republic
Latin American Republics (legislative basis not adequate for implementing a program)5
Greece and Turkey

The latter legislation provides in each case for assistance only to a specific nation or group of nations; it does not authorize the President to exercise broad discretionary powers as to which nations should be assisted, how, when and to what extent.

6. Effective implementation of a policy of strengthening the military capabilities of free nations would be facilitated by the early [Page 587] enactment of legislation broadening the authority of the President to provide military assistance under appropriate conditions. Title VI (not enacted) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948 was designed to provide this authority.6 The proposed Title VI would have authorized the President to furnish assistance to foreign governments, provided such assistance was determined to be consistent with the national interest, and was without cost to the United States except where appropriations are made by Congress. On the basis of legislation along these lines, it would be possible to work out, in the United States and in the course of possible military staff conversations with selected non-communist nations, a coordinated military assistance program in which the quotas of each recipient would be related to overall needs, production capabilities, political considerations and strategic concepts. Pending the complete formulation of such an overall program, funds might be immediately appropriated to meet the urgent requirements of selected non-communist nations.

7. The State–Army–Navy–Air Force Coordinating Committee has devoted considerable study to the problem of military assistance to foreign nations and related questions (SANACC 360 series, 382 series). The conclusions of the present Report are based in part upon these SANACC papers and are in substantial accord with the general trend of thought embodied therein.


8. Certain free nations the security of which is of critical importance to the United States require strengthened military capabilities, if they are to present effective political resistance to communist aggression now, and military resistance later if necessary.

9. Therefore, the United States should assist in strengthening the military capabilities of these nations to resist communist expansion provided they make determined efforts to resist communist expansion and such assistance contributes effectively to that end. For this purpose the United States should provide them with assistance in the form of military supplies, equipment, and technical advice under a coordinated program in conformity with the principles set forth in paragraph 12 below.

10. The United States should at the earliest feasible time:

Enact legislation which will broaden the authority of the President to provide military assistance for foreign states under appropriate conditions. Title VI (not enacted) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948 would be a suitable basis for such legislation.
Under this authority, appropriate funds for military assistance [Page 588] to selected non-communist nations to meet urgent requirements consistent with an over-all program.

11. Any US military assistance program should be predicated to the maximum practicable extent upon the self-help and mutual assistance of recipient states.

12. The military assistance program should be governed by the following considerations:

The program should not jeopardize the fulfillment of the minimum materiel requirements of the United States armed forces, as determined by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The program should not be inconsistent with strategic concepts approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Certain factors, such as the need for strengthening the morale and internal security of recipient nations and protecting various US interests abroad, may in exceptional cases become over-riding political considerations modifying the strict application of paragraphs a and b above.
Continuing support for the program should be planned to include supply of needed replacements, spare parts and ammunition so long: as our security interests dictate.
The program should be properly integrated with the ECA program, and should not be permitted to jeopardize the economic stability of the United States or other participating nations. The program should be subject to review and recommendation by the National Security Resources Board in order to insure a sound balancing of requirements under the military aid program with US domestic requirements.
The program should adequately safeguard US classified material.

13. In measures of military assistance additional to those already provided for in specific legislation or in existing governmental undertakings, first priority should be given to Western Europe.

14. Countries participating in military assistance programs should be encouraged so far as consistent with the progressive stabilization of their economies:

To cooperate in integrating their armaments industries with a view ultimately to maintaining and re-supplying their own equipment when economic conditions permit.
To standardize their weapons and materiel to the maximum practical extent and, so far as practicable in the future, to US accepted types.
To provide strategic raw materials to the United States in return for military assistance.
To compensate the supplying nation for the military assistance which they receive whenever and to what extent feasible.

15. The military assistance program, in conjunction with the materiel needs of the US armed forces, will require the partial rehabilitation of the US armaments industry.

  1. A Report by the Executive Secretary, June 14, 1948, not printed.
  2. July 1, 1948.
  3. The conclusions were approved by the President on July 10, 1948.
  4. PL 457, 78th Congress, October 3, 1944; 58 Stat (pt. 1) 765.
  5. For documentation on United States policy with respect to military assistance to Latin America, see vol. ix, pp. 207 ff.
  6. Regarding the proposed legislation, see footnote 3, p. 597.