Policy Planning Staff Files
Draft Report by the National Security Council Staff 1
Measures Required To Achieve U.S. Objectives With Respect to the USSR
1. Introduction. To counter the threats to our national security and well being posed by the USSR and to achieve our general objectives with respect to Russia, the following measures are deemed essential. In implementing these measures, care must be taken to avoid unduly impairing our economy and the fundamental values and institutions inherent in our way of life. (See paragraph 11 below.)
2. Military readiness. The United States should develop a level of military readiness adequate as a basis for immediate military commitments and for rapid mobilization should war prove unavoidable. This [Page 272]level should be such that it can be maintained as long as it is necessary for United States forces to act as a deterrent to Soviet aggression.
In essence, the basic objectives should be to meet at least the requirements for effective emergency action and, to every practicable extent, to provide for extension of the scope of such measures to all-out war effort without avoidable delay.
To this end the National Military Establishment should, to the extent permitted by budget limitations, provide for the following:
- Forces in being or capable of prompt activation for the
accomplishment of the following tasks:
- To insure the integrity of the Western Hemisphere and to promote and develop its war-making capacity.
- In conjunction with our allies to secure such base areas as are essential for the projection of offensive operations.
- To secure, maintain, and defend in conjunction with our allies such bases, land and sea areas, and lines of communication as are required for the prosecution of the war.
- To conduct, at the earliest practicable date, a strategic air offensive against the vital elements of the Soviet war-making capacity, and other air offensive operations as are required for the prosecution of the war.
- To initiate development of the offensive power of the armed forces for such later operations as may be necessary for achievement of the national war objectives.
- To support the war efforts of our allies by the provision of all feasible military assistance.
- To exploit at the earliest practicable date the psychological warfare plans developed under the provisions of the NSC 43 series2 and the activities planned under the NSC 10 series,3 and to conduct other special operations.
- To fulfill our occupational functions and other international commitments.
- Improvement of our strategic potential to the extent practicable under existing or future agreements by arranging for the coordination of military effort between the United States and nations likely to be associated with us, and through appropriate reciprocal assistance.
- Improvement and exploitation of our technical potential through development of new or improved material and methods.
3. Economic potential and mobilization. The United States should develop and maintain a constant state of peacetime economic preparedness, a prerequisite for which is the continuous balancing of military, war-supporting industrial, and civilian requirements against the resources [Page 273]to be available for meeting them. Policies should be shaped toward the following essentials:
- Economic stabilization measures designed to strengthen the U.S. peacetime economy plus readiness measures which can be quickly invoked in the event of emergency.
- Industrial facilities and essential utilities sufficient to meet immediate requirements in the event of war, plus plans for additional capacity to meet peak war requirements and to offset estimated losses caused by sabotage or direct enemy action.
- Strengthening of the U.S. industrial potential thru encouragement of scientific research and technological improvements.
- Development of transportation and communication facilities adequate to serve current needs, plus planned reserves for estimated war requirements. Elimination of present bottlenecks where practicable.
- Dispersion of industries, services, governmental and military activities now dangerously vulnerable, without undue detriment to essential operations.
- Development of dependable sources of critical and strategic materials.
- Stockpiling in appropriate areas of essential quantities of critical and strategic materials.
- More efficient utilization through conservation, substitution, and limitation in use, of materials in short supply.
- More effective utilization and expansion where necessary of the nation’s health resources.
- Preparations for the provision and efficient utilization of manpower which will be capable of satisfying contemplated civilian and military requirements in the event of war.
- A program for housing and community facilities which will meet the requirements for economic mobilization and provide in so far as practicable for the relief of war-damaged areas.
- A program for economic warfare and related wartime economic activities.
- Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government to provide for efficient transition from peace to war and war to peace.
- Standby emergency powers legislation and executive orders required in the event of war.
4. Intelligence. The United States should increase and improve U.S. intelligence and counter-intelligence activity, and in particular assure that activities both at home and abroad are closely coordinated.
5. Internal security. In accordance with the provisions of the NSC 17 series,4 the United States should establish and maintain the-highest practicable state of domestic security preparedness, recognizing that further measures will be required in the event of war. The essential minimum requirements include:
- Establishing and maintaining more effective controls to prevent the penetration of the United States by potentially or actually dangerous persons through legal or illegal entry.
- Providing closer controls of imports and exports as well as of
incoming and outgoing travellers for the purpose of:
- Preventing the introduction into the United States of sabotage and espionage devices.
- Preventing the removal from the United States of information, materials and equipment which if in the possession of potentially hostile powers would adversely affect the national security.
- Scrutinizing, curtailing, and counteracting, to the maximum extent possible, the open and clandestine activities of communists and other subversive groups, whether party members or not.
- Safeguarding critical governmental, industrial and other installations and utilities, affording priority to those considered absolutely essential.
- Readying for application in the event of war, civil defense machinery to aid existing agencies in the protection of the nation’s population and resources.
- Insuring that the various statutes in the United States Code pertaining to internal security, particularly the Espionage Act of 1917, provide an adequate legal basis for the internal security of the United States in the light of present and probable future conditions.
- Readying a program for controlling the activities, in the event of a war-related emergency, of U.S. citizens and aliens who constitute threats to the nation’s internal security, by apprehension and detention or by other appropriate measures, this program to provide the greatest practicable procedural safeguards to the individual.
- Preparation of a censorship program to be invoked in the event of war or at such time as the Congress may authorize.
6. Collective strength of non-Soviet nations. The United States should take the lead in increasing the collective strength of non-Soviet nations by:
- Effectively implementing the provisions of the North Atlantic Pact.
- Seeking both through measures to increase production and prevent inflation and through the development of favorable trade, credit, and exchange relations, to facilitate economic recovery and promote multi-lateral commercial and financial relations among all parts of the non-Soviet world, to the end that their economic strength shall be mutually increased and self-sustained.
- Developing a balanced and coordinated program of economic and
military assistance to selected nations of the non-Soviet world able
and willing to make important contributions to our security. Such a
program should include:
- Continuing the Economic Cooperation program so long as U.S. security is thereby enhanced, to the extent that recipient nations demonstrate their ability and willingness by self-help and mutual cooperation to utilize U.S. assistance in establishing political and economic stability and thereby increasing the overall potential of the non-Soviet world.
- Providing a flexible and comprehensive program of military assistance in the form of supplies, equipment and technical advice in accordance with the approved conclusions of the NSC 14 series.5
- Coordinating the economic and military assistance programs and establishing flexibility of transfer between them, with a view to furnishing each recipient over-all assistance balanced to conform to changing circumstances and the requirements of U.S. security.
- Engaging in economic mobilization planning with selected nations when appropriate.
- To the extent that it increases world stability and U.S. security:
- Strengthening world organization by encouraging development of the United Nations and other international organizations, both regional and functional.
- Wherever practicable, utilizing international organizations for the handling of international problems and disputes.
- Securing, as soon as politically feasible, timely access to and use of those areas throughout the world considered strategically essential to U.S. security.
7. Political and economic activities. The United States should by all available means conduct an intensified campaign to:
- Encourage in all appropriate ways the political and economic unification of Europe.
- Seek to make the Kremlin fear that it is ideologically dangerous to keep an army abroad.
- Develop internal dissension within the USSR and disagreements among the USSR and Soviet orbit nations.
- Encourage, develop and support anti-Soviet activist organizations within the Soviet orbit.
- Defeat communist activities in countries outside the Soviet orbit where such activities constitute a serious threat to U.S. security.
- Minimize the export of strategic materials and equipment from the United States and other non-Soviet nations to areas within the Soviet sphere, and conversely, increase the flow of strategic materials now needed for U.S. production and stockpiling purposes.
- Prevent the USSR from achieving a dominant economic or political position in countries in which trade with the United States is essential to our national security.
8. Foreign information program. The United States should strengthen, maintain and intensify for as long as necessary, a vigorous coordinated foreign information program directed primarily toward the USSR and its armies, Soviet satellites, countries where there is [Page 276]a serious communist threat, and countries not sufficiently aware of real Soviet objectives. This program should:
- Stress the fact that the Western way of life increasingly offers the greatest and most enduring benefits to the individual, and is therefore destined to prevail over the communist ideology with its inevitable police state methods.
- Strive to eradicate the myth by which people remote from direct Soviet influence are held in a position of subservience to Moscow, and to cause the world at large to see and understand the true nature of the USSR and the world communist party, and to adopt a logical and realistic attitude toward them.
- Endeavor to strain the relationships between Moscow and satellite governments by encouraging the latter to take independent action within the United Nations and elsewhere.
- Encourage the revival of the national life of major national groups within the USSR without committing us to irrevocable or premature decisions respecting independence for national minorities.
- Discreetly convey to the Russian and Satellite peoples and soldiers the feeling that Americans are friendly to them, though not to their governments.
9. Psychological warfare. In accordance with the provisions of the NSC 43 series, the United States should plan and make preparations for the conduct of foreign information programs and overt psychological operations abroad, in the event of war or threat of war as determined by the President. Such plans and preparations should be consistent with U.S. policy and be coordinated with related planning under the NSC 10 series and with approved plans for military operations.
10. Domestic information. The United States should establish programs to:
- Keep the United States public fully informed of Soviet aims and tactics and the threats to our national security arising therefrom, so that the public will be prepared to support measures which we must accordingly adopt.
- Explain and support the need of:
- U.S. world leadership and U.S. willingness to assume the responsibilities arising therefrom.
- Non-partisan support of our foreign policy.
- Keep the U.S. public informed of the specific nature and types of domestic security threats existing, and of the measures which should be adopted to counteract them.
- Provide for a wartime domestic information service in accordance with the provisions of the NSC 43 series.
11. Economic soundness. In carrying out the above measures, the greatest possible attention must be paid to evaluating essential military, foreign aid, and other national security requirements in the light of the ability of the United States to support such requirements, with [Page 277]the realization that military preparedness and foreign aid on a scale larger than we have been accustomed to may have to be continued indefinitely. The relative share of government in the total national product and the direction of investment at home and abroad must be carefully scrutinized. The size, timing, and distribution of drafts on materials, facilities, and manpower must be articulated with the operating needs and practices of industry, commerce, and finance so as not to fan inflation, demoralize markets, or weaken incentives to production, any one of which would eventually impair our military capability.
The United States should endeavor to restrict national security programs from going beyond the level at which fiscal and monetary measures, selective voluntary allocation and standby mandatory allocations meet the needs. If it should be decided to raise expenditures beyond this sensitive zone, this should be done with the full awareness that more comprehensive controls, including price and wage controls may be required, which if long continued might develop resistance to decontrol.
12. Postwar objectives. In the event of war the National Security Council should, as soon as possible after the outbreak thereof, formulate measures to accomplish the postwar objectives indicated in paragraphs 22 and 23 of NSC 20/4.
In NSC 20, a report to the National Security Council circulated on July 12, 1948, Secretary of Defense James Forrestal requested the formulation of a comprehensive statement of national policy regarding the degree and character of military preparedness required by the world situation. For text of NSC 20, see
Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 589.
At its 17th Meeting, August 5, 1948, the National Security Council
a. Agreed that the Department of State will prepare for Council consideration the following studies:
- A current estimate of the existing or foreseeable threats to our national security, with particular reference to the USSR, including the probable nature and timing of these threats.
- A statement of the objectives which this nation should pursue in the foreseeable future in order to safeguard its national security and to counter the existing or anticipated threats to that security.
b. Directed the NSC Staff to prepare the following study after completion of the above studies:
A program of specific measures which, in the light of our existing commitments and capabilities, should and can be planned at this time to promote the achievement of our current national security objectives, with particular reference to those measures which should be included in our planning for the fiscal year 1950. (Department of State Executive Secretariat Files: NSC Action No. 88)
Pursuant to Part A of Action 88, the NSC adopted report NSC 20/4, “U.S. Objectives with Respect to the USSR to Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. Security,” November 23, 1948. That report, approved by President Truman on November 24, 1948, is printed
ibid., p. 662.
The draft report printed here was prepared by the NSC Staff in accordance with Part B of Action 88. An earlier version, dated January 11, 1949, not printed, was circulated to the Consultants of the NSC (representatives of the constituent government agencies concerned) with the suggestion that if the report were concurred in by the Consultants and adopted by the Council, it be submitted to the President with the recommendation that he approve the report and direct its implementation by appropriate Departments and agencies. The Secretary of State was to be particularly responsible for paragraphs 6, 7, 8, and 9 a and b (Department of State Executive Secretariat Files). The Consultants met on January 17 to consider the January 11 version of the draft report; regarding that meeting, see Kennan’s memorandum of April 14, p. 282. The present text was circulated to the Under Secretary of State’s Meeting as document UM D–28, April 14, and was considered by that body on April 15 (see p. 283).↩
- NSC 43, “Planning for Wartime Conduct of Overt Psychological Warfare,” approved by the NSC on March 23, 1949, and NSC 43/1, “General Principles Governing the Conduct of Overt Psychological Warfare in the Initial Stages of War or Emergency,” August 2, 1949, upon which the NSC took no final action, are not printed.↩
- No documents in the NSC 10 Series have been found in the files of the Department of State.↩
- None of the documents in the NSC 17 Series, which dealt with the internal security of the United States, is printed.↩
- For text of NSC 14/1, July 1, 1948,
“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,” approved
by President Truman on July 10, 1948, see
Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 585.↩