Record of Discussions at the Meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, April 21, 1949 1


Following are off the record discussions at the meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Thursday, April 21, 1949. All members were present except Senators Green2 and Wiley.3

Need for Information on MAP . Senator Vandenberg4 began by asserting that the temper of the Congress concerning funds proposed for MAP was “damned bad” and that a breakdown of the whole amount would be needed before favorable action could be taken. He said that the demand for much more information than was current still existed, and that the Department had to tell Congress a good deal more than was already known if the bill was expected to pass. Senator Lodge5 added that information would be required on what the program proposed not for only a year but for the next four to five years. Secretary Johnson then declared that the Joint Chiefs of Staff would argue that a breakdown was necessary [unnecessary?], saying that to admit what was being sent to each country was bad strategy from a military sense. In this view he was supported by Secretary Acheson who, on a question from Senator Vandenberg asking how far the State Department was prepared to go on public cross-examination in public about nation-to-nation allocations, answered that it would go fairly far, of course, but that it was a mistake to announce a nation by nation breakdown, since this put many of the participating countries “on the spot”. Senator Vandenberg then read from Article 54 of the United Nations Charter concerning the reporting to the UN of world arms movements, and after being told that this Government had never reported [Page 289]strategic information to the UN, Vandenberg said he was glad to hear of such a precedent.

Designation of Countries Receiving MAP Assistance. Senator Smith6 wished to know if the Department, in public hearings, would name the recipient countries and was told that it would. When Vandenberg pointed out that this would lead to specific questions as to amounts of aid promised, i.e., how much would Great Britain get, Secretary Acheson declared that again to make such information known, for tactical reasons, would be unwise. Vandenberg then declared that the Atlantic Treaty presupposes self-activity and self-help and he would like to know, as it would be asked in public hearings, how much self-help was contemplated under MAP, and if this could be mentioned in the public hearings. The Secretary thought that in some measure this would be possible.

Methods and Contributions Under MAP . The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Tydings,7 questioned Secretary Johnson closely on what amount of the total appropriation would be used for rehabilitation of arms, and what would be old weapons drawn from stocks available in the United States. To these questions he was told there had not been time to provide answers but that they would be forthcoming from the Secretary of Defense in forty-eight hours. Senator Tydings also pointed out that the United States is superior in heavy bombers and other such weapons, that the UK is better known for its fighter planes, and so on. He hoped that the defense plan proposed under MAP would be completely integrated and useful, in which no nation would receive weapons from this country in order to satisfy its national pride but only those arms which would fill its defense needs and fold in with strategic concepts of our Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this Secretary Johnson said he was thinking “right down his alley”; that naturally only those weapons which the Joint Chiefs of Staff here felt would fit into a pattern of mutual support and world defense would be shipped or procured abroad under the Program. Senator Tydings again wondered how much of the requirements would be provided out of the stocks here and how much of those abroad. Secretary Johnson replied that the figures he had were too new to give an accurate reply.

Senator Tydings then declared that France would have a standing army of 410,000 this year and after and that certainly could be held typical as a problem under MAP, this army because of wartime depletion, needed arms. Secretary Johnson, in response to a suggestion from Senator Lodge, thought that many of the 1943 arms given France by the Allies were still in use, and that therefore the case was not exactly typical. When Senator Tydings, pressing the point, asked that in the case of France how much would be filled of its requirements by [Page 290]us and how much by France, Secretary Acheson said that he had considered that the Committee had agreed not to release actual country-by-country figures. Senator Tydings then returned to his first hope—that we had an over-all plan into which our heavy bombers and tanks and European fighters and divisions would figure in a regular, useful pattern, and that if he could not rest assured that such was the case, he then thought he might have to vote against MAP. Secretary Johnson said that he could have that assurance, and that he personally could say that the prime aim of MAP was ultimately to secure military security and peace up to a point where this nation might begin reducing its arms program and taxes. All US contributions were to these ends, he said. Senator Connally,8 the Chairman, hoped that they would be if the other nations do their part.

In agreeing, Senator Tydings declared the main issue with him was that all the nations were not able to supply themselves in all categories, and that therefore they ought to, and must willingly, accept those which we designate for them as the best way universally to resist the Soviet Union. Even if this meant a greater commitment by them of men than the United States is ready to furnish, these nations must go along and play the role fitted for them by the United States. Senator Lodge interjected by saying that even the most optimistic intentions for MAP, whatever its world strategy, did not equip Western Europe for offensive operations but made it capable of holding the lines until this country got moving. He then asked why we were pulling troops out of Korea9 and was told that it was in accordance with a UN resolution. He made the same inquiry, why our complements were being reduced in Japan,10 and Secretary Johnson thought that since this represented a tactical problem in the United States military establishment, and had several secret angles, he would like to talk to Lodge alone about it.

Atomic Warfare. Senator McMahon11 brought an atomic warfare note into the discussion with the mention of the recent Churchill statement at Boston12 that it was the threat of the United States atomic weapon which had so far held Russia in leash. He visualized the MAP as a program which stiffened morale as it tentatively rearmed many nations, but he questioned what security it gave these nations so far. He said that the next war, being atomic, would submerge and might [Page 291]even waste all the programs undertaken by MAP, and that we would have ended up making the European countries feel better with MAP rather than doing them any real good. He, like Senator Vandenberg, also was not too sure of the impact of the MAP on the economy of the United States. At this point, Senator Vandenberg desired for the record it to be known that there was danger of the Pact being made over into a vast military alliance, rather than using it as an instrument of peace, and he wanted Secretary Johnson in particular to know, and acknowledge, that its basis was a hope of peace, and not the prospect of inevitable war. Senator McMahon returned to the appropriations scheduled by the program, and said he questioned their efficiency unless it was foreseen that atomic warfare would change future tactical concepts. This Secretary Johnson construed as being criticism of the planning of the program and also an attempt by the Senator to gain classified information. He rebuffed the Senator on several answers, declining to continue to answer points raised by Senator McMahon, saying that his oath as Secretary of Defense forbade him from making public any more information. Senator McMahon declared that he was not attempting to make public classified material, but only, in the name of the American taxpayer, trying to make a determination of what the U.S. defense forces proposed as wise spending. Again he was rebuffed, and Senator McMahon ended by saying that if Johnson would not furnish answers then, this would not keep the Senator from asking the identical questions at the Pact hearing.

  1. Drafted on April 22 by Darrell St. Claire, Congressional Liaison Officer, Department of State.

    This discussion occurred in the following context. On April 4, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington. On April 5, the Brussels Treaty Powers entered a request with the United States for military assistance. The same day, the United States replied that the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government was prepared to recommend to Congress that the United States extend military assistance to the countries signatory to the Brussels Treaty. The North Atlantic Treaty text, the request for military aid, and the United States response are printed in vol. iv, pp. 281, 285, and 287.

    At the present closed meeting, Secretary of State Acheson and Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson informed the Committee that Congress would soon be requested to authorize $1,450,000,000 for military assistance, $1,130,000,000 of which would go to Western Europe under the North Atlantic Treaty. These figures were released to the press and were repeated by Secretary Acheson in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the North Atlantic Treaty and the role of the military assistance program, April 27; for the text of the April 27 statement, see Department of State Bulletin, May 8, 1949, pp. 594–599 (an extract appears in vol. iv, p. 296).

  2. Senator Theodore Francis Green of Rhode Island.
  3. Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin.
  4. Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan.
  5. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., of Massachusetts.
  6. Senator H. Alexander Smith of New Jersey.
  7. Senator Millard E. Tydings of Maryland.
  8. Senator Tom Connally of Texas.
  9. Documentation on United States policy respecting Korea appears in volume vii, Part 2.
  10. Documentation on United States policy with respect to the occupation and control of Japan appears ibid .
  11. Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
  12. Reference is to an address delivered by Winston S. Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1940–1945, and leader of the opposition since 1945, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, March 31, 1949; for text, see the New York Times, April 1, 1949, p. 10, col. 1.