Executive Secretariat Files, Lot 63–D351

Memorandum by the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Kennan)

top secret

Subject: Meeting of the National Security Council, January 13, 1948

Item 1—The Position of the United States With Respect to Greece (NSC 5)

Consideration of the subject report by the Executive Secretary, dated January 6, 1948.

Mr. Lovett1 stated that the Secretary of State was not able to be present but that he had discussed with the Secretary the document under reference. He said that the Secretary felt that the document ought to be re-worked; that it dealt in too abstract terms with the dispatch of troops; and that it contained no adequate appraisal of the likely consequences of the action envisaged, in Greece and elsewhere outside this country, and within this country as well. The Secretary felt that before we could make judgment on this subject we would have to have a definition of the purpose of any action involving armed forces, an assessment of what would be required in the way of forces and of what logistical support would be needed, an estimate of the probable effects on domestic economy and on public opinion in this country, and a judgment as to whether we would be prepared to accept these implications. With regard to the situation with respect to our representatives in Greece, the Secretary felt that we had enough advice at present on non-military phases of our action there; that for this reason we did not require any new civilian to head things up, as suggested in Article 18 of the NSC 5, and that representatives of all three armed services should size the situation up and make their recommendations.

Mr. Lovett explained that all this was predicated on the absence of any open aggression from the satellite side.

He concluded by suggesting that the paper be referred once more to the Staff of the National Security Council for further consideration there.

[Page 28]

This suggestion was accepted by the members of the Council. It was agreed that Articles 17 and 18 did not belong in the paper and should be omitted entirely.2

[Here follows a discussion of matters other than Greece.]

George F. Kennan

Approved: Robert A. Lovett

Date: January 14th

  1. Robert A. Lovett, Under Secretary of State.
  2. The Council’s Record of Actions No. 22, January 13, states that the Council

    • a. Directed the NSC Staff to study the report … by the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State.
    • b. Directed the NSC Staff to rework NSC 5 in the light of the Policy Planning Staff’s report and the discussion at this meeting.
    • c. Agreed unofficially that the Army, Navy, and Air Force would endeavor to send competent military men to Greece to survey the situation and report their findings and recommendations.” (711.68/1–1348)