The Secretary of Defense (Johnson) to the Secretary of State 1

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My Dear Mr. Secretary: The National Military Establishment has made a comprehensive review of its requirements for military [Page 301]rights in various foreign areas and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have prepared a study of the military rights and privileges which we desire to obtain. Copies of this study are forwarded herewith. We believe that prompt action should be taken to acquire military rights that are urgently required and measures should be initiated to obtain the other rights which are required as well as those considered desirable.

Since the war the military forces have from time to time requested the Department of State to obtain, through diplomatic channels, various military rights, including base rights in foreign territories. Some of these negotiations have been successful; others have not made available to U.S. Forces the military facilities which are considered essential for national security. With the thought in mind that a complete review and survey of what we require in the way of foreign military rights would be extremely useful to the Department of State, Secretary Forrestal several months ago requested the Joint Chiefs of Staff to study the matter and place in one broad pattern the various requirements and desires of the military forces. This project has just been completed and the requirements stated supersede all previous requests for military rights which have been submitted by the military departments.

A careful analysis of the attached JCS paper reveals that all of the stated requirements are from countries with which the United States has satisfactory diplomatic relations. Some of them are located in nations which are prospective recipients of our military assistance; others have recently joined with us as signatories of the North Atlantic Treaty or the Rio Treaty. All have a community of interests in the effective defense of freedom-loving nations all over the world.

The National Military Establishment is charged with the responsibility of providing an adequate defense for the United States, to assist in preserving international security, and if war comes, to wage war successfully. In planning our strategy for carrying out these functions we require suitable positions from which to employ the manpower and materials which make up the national military effort. We must have certain positions available and adequately developed prior to any attack. In Some cases the continental defense of the United States will require foreign facilities. In other cases, our capability for retaliatory action, which may be one of the indispensable elements of our strategy in a future war, will depend importantly on foreign bases. I am sure that it is not necessary to belabor the point, but I do wish to urge upon you a thorough study of this document which has been strongly recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a basis for your action.

You will note in one portion of the JCS study that certain specific proposals, including suggested terms of bilateral agreements, have been made. These are forwarded in the hope that they may be helpful [Page 302]to you in contriving the most effective means of acquiring the desired rights and privileges. From the political point of view, there may be other far better ways of achieving our objectives, but these proposals appear to be worthy of your consideration.

With regard to the security of the strategic information contained in the JCS study, I want to tell you that we are giving this paper only a very limited distribution within the NME and trust that it will be possible for you to take special precautions appropriately restricting the distribution and use of the five copies which are enclosed.

In the light of the foregoing and the strong recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I would like to suggest that after you and your staff have had an opportunity to study these recommendations that you may desire to define the general principles and to outline a course of procedure to be followed in the acquisition of military rights for the United States.

We in the Military Establishment recognize the need for the closest correlation of our strategic planning with matters of U.S. foreign policy. In this instance we regard prompt and effective cooperation to be particularly important and, for this reason, we are planning to coordinate in my office the handling of matters connected with these requirements, including such review and revision as may become necessary. It is anticipated that a specific agency or individual will be assigned to cooperate with your representatives in working out the details in each case. Thus, if you would outline a course of action, I will immediately arrange for the expeditious performance of whatever functions need to be performed by the Military Establishment.

Sincerely yours,

Louis Johnson

Study Prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff 2

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Views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Military Rights in Foreign Territories

1. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have prepared this study to serve as a basis for their recommendations as to required and desired military rights. They consider that the matter of base rights is inseparably related to that of military rights of all types, and have covered, therefore, the broader requirement in their over-all review. Accordingly, they [Page 303]have reviewed the over-all situation with respect to military* rights, including base rights, in foreign territories.

2. Categories. For clarity in determining and analyzing the rights requirements of the National Military Establishment, these are summarized on Chart, Annex “A”,3 in three categories as defined below:

a. Category I: Normal Peacetime Conditions: Those rights, the exercise of which is required or desired for the fulfillment of the continuing peacetime commitments and responsibilities of the National Military Establishment.

b. Category II: Wartime Requirements: Those rights, the exercise of which is required or desired for the implementation of war plans, subsequent to the outbreak of hostilities.

c. Category III: Peacetime Implementation of Plans: Peacetime rights required or desired for the implementation of war plans. These rights consist of a prewar extension in selected instances of wartime rights above.

3. Priorities. For purposes of indicating priorities the rights have been regrouped, regardless of category, into three general priorities: those required as a matter of urgency, those required, and those desired. No priority is indicated or considered necessary between items in each class priority.

4. Explanation of Priorities. Required peacetime rights are limited to those which are needed in the performance of assigned missions. No rights have been shown as required unless the need has been established and an interested Service (or Services) has indicated intent to exercise them subject to the availability of funds, where pertinent, or quid pro quo arrangements in lieu thereof. Conversely, desired rights are furnished for guidance only. Desired rights are of less importance than those set forth as required; and the interested Service (or Services) has not necessarily indicated an intent to exercise these rights within a specified time. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that it is most important to obtain all required rights listed in this study at the earliest practicable date and by the most propitious means. All required rights set forth, however, are not needed as a matter of urgency, timewise. Military rights required as a matter of urgency include only [Page 304]those which have been determined, in the military view, to be essential in the national interest, and those considered necessary in the light of current joint war planning or for the discharge of peacetime responsibilities for which no satisfactory provision has been or is likely to be made through temporary agreements or alternate arrangements.

5. Military rights which are required as a matter of urgency, timewise:

a. A firm, recognized agreement assuring, at minimum, United States long-term rights in Greenland equivalent to those now exercised, and in addition, the right to install and operate a Loran Navigation facility.

b. The right to supplement the British effort to improve the medium bomber bases of Abu Sueir, Suez Canal Zone; Khormaksar, Aden; and such other air bases in this area as may be necessary to implement current emergency war plans; and the following bases in the U.K.: Brize Norton, Upper Hey ford, Fairford, and one additional base, in the United Kingdom.

c. Unlimited landing rights at Port Lyautey, Morocco.4

d. The right to use, jointly or on a lodger basis, and improve the French North African naval air bases of Karouba/Sidi Amed, Thiersville, and Tafaraoui/Lartigue.

e. The right to develop and use an amphibious training base, in French North African territory, preferably at Arzeu Bay near Oran.

f. The right to additional space at or near that currently granted at Lagens Field, Terciera Island, Azores, and to erect and operate Air Force and Navy communication facilities thereon.5

g. The right to erect, maintain, and operate Air Force and Navy communication facilities on the Island of Ceylon.

h. The continuation of present U.S. rights in Saudi Arabia on a long-term basis.

i. The right to conduct security and defense planning at military level with the Dutch Colonial authorities in Aruba and Curacao, Dutch West Indies.

j. The right to install, maintain and operate an Air Force communication facility in Aden.

6. Required Military Rights. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the following required military rights, although not required as a matter of urgency, timewise, are of equal importance as those in paragraph 5 above, and should be obtained on the highest priority with due regard to the appropriateness of the means and timing of negotiations.

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a. Greenland, Iceland,6 and Azores: Interminant rights to establish, occupy, maintain and operate military installations and facilities as considered essential to the security of the United States and the defense of these areas.

b. Canada:

Continuation on a firm basis of rights presently exercised at Goose Bay, Labrador.
Reaffirmation on change of sovereignty of the military rights held in Newfoundland under 99-year base agreement.7
The right to develop, maintain, and operate a heavy bomber base and a jet fighter base in Newfoundland.
Additional rights as necessary to cover the use, operation, and maintenance of communication facilities (pole lines) to and between leased bases in Newfoundland.

c. Eritrea: 8 A firm long-term agreement assuring the continued right to maintain and operate existing communication facilities at Asmara, Eritrea.

d. Libya: Right to maintain, develop, occupy and use an airfield and military base at Tripoli on a long-term basis.

e. United Kingdom:

Indefinite continuation of rights to base and maintain United States Air groups in the United Kingdom.
Right to supplement British effort to maintain and improve communication, port, and logistics facilities.
Rights to provide by cooperative effort a long-range proving ground in and over the territory and territorial waters of the Bahama Islands to be utilized by the United States and the United Kingdom for the flight-testing of, and training with, guided missiles and other equipment.

f. French Territories:

Limited development and use of a military base in the Casablanca-Port Lyautey area.
Unlimited rights of air transit and technical stop throughout North Africa.
Clarification of the application of rights granted in the Civil Affairs Agreement with respect to French Pacific Island possessions.

g. The right to maintain stockpiles of Avgas, navy fuels, materiel, and ammunition as necessary, is required in the following areas. This right is currently being exercised under local agreements at those sites [Page 306]underlined below, in which cases long-term confirmation of the rights is necessary.

Ceylon (Trincomalee)
Greenland (Selected bases)
Iceland (Meeks Field and Reykjavik)
Italy (Amendola, Naples, Pozzuoli)
Labrador (Goose Bay)
Azores (Lagens, Ponta del Gada, Horta)
Turkey (Selected air bases)
United Kingdom (As mutually agreed)
Malta (As mutually agreed)
Gibraltar (As mutually agreed)
Eritrea (Massawa, Asmara)
Morocco (Casablanca, Port Lyautey)
Algeria (Mers el Kebir, Oran, Algiers)
Tunisia (Bizerte, Tunis)
Libya (Wheelus Field)
Saudi Arabia (Dhahran)
Egypt–Suez Canal Zone and Aden Protectorate (As mutually agreed)

h. Saudi Arabia: Rights as necessary to the limited development, manning, and stockpiling of a military base in this area to include the stationing of defensive forces thereat. (In the event these rights are denied at Dhahran, they should be obtained at Bahrein Island.)

i. Egypt:

Right to base fleet units, including carrier and patrol aircraft in the Alexandria Harbor–Abu Qir Bay area, and to make necessary improvements to naval and naval air facilities in that area.
Renewal of 1947 rights of air transit and technical stop to include unlimited rights of overflight as necessary for access to British bases in the Suez Canal Zone.
Right to survey the Alexandria-Cairo-Suez area for Army garrison and base facilities.

j. Belgium, Luxemburg, Metropolitan France and Netherlands:

Continuation of present rights for the duration of occupation of Germany and Austria is a minimum requirement.
French governmental confirmation is required of military plans for the utilization of ports and Line of Communications facilities necessary to establish a LOC through France for the support of occupation forces in Germany and Austria, should its use become necessary.

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k. India, Pakistan, Dutch Guiana, Iraq, Trans Jordan, Burma, and Ceylon: Continuation on a long-term basis of air transit rights and technical stop.

l. China: Continuation of present rights in Nationalist China.

m. Italy:

The right to supplement, if necessary, Italian Air Force efforts to maintain and stockpile Amendola air base, Foggia, Italy.
Continuation of present rights for duration of U.S. occupation of Trieste and Austria.
Italian governmental confirmation is required of military plans for the utilization of ports and LOC facilities necessary to establish a LOG through Italy for the support of occupation forces in Trieste and Austria should its use become necessary.

n. Christmas and Canton Islands: 9 Permanent rights for the use of military facilities on these islands are required regardless of the settlement which may be made with respect to sovereignty claims.

o. Greece and Turkey:

Continuation of present rights for the duration of aid programs,
Right to supplement through the current Turkish aid program Turkish effort in the development of a military base in the Iskenderon–Adana area,

p. Latin American Republics:

Continuation of current agreements with Central American countries, relative to air transit and technical stop on the air route between the United States and the Canal Zone.
Continuation on a long-term basis of military rights, privileges and arrangements with Brazil equivalent to those provided under present agreements.10
Rights to conduct security and defense planning with Venezuela as necessary to assure the protection of oil areas.11

7. Desired Military Rights. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that certain additional rights of lesser immediate importance than those above, are desirable in peacetime. These, together with the military rights required or desired in wartime, have not been included above, but are summarized on Chart, Annex “A”. These desired military rights are set forth as guidance to indicate the lesser immediate needs of the National Military Establishment which should be met whenever the political opportunity presents itself and which may be introduced, where pertinent, within the machinery of regional defense agreements when established.

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8. Present Military Rights. The military rights currently enjoyed, other thaji 99-year leases, consist principally of rights obtained for the support of occupation forces. It is not considered that these rights can be materially reduced at this time.

9. Standardization. Existing rights of air transit, technical stop, naval visit, and for the functioning of military missions are not uniform among the several countries with which such agreements are in effect. To date, these rights have been negotiated through agreements varying from treaties to informal understandings. The provisions of agreements for rights of this nature vary widely with different countries, and the limitations imposed by, and limited duration of, many of these agreements necessitate constant correspondence, negotiations and modifications by the National Military Establishment and the Department of State. The provisions of all of these rights should be standardized in nature, scope and duration to the greatest extent possible. These rights should be on a reciprocal basis wherever pertinent in order to reduce the barriers to friendly intercourse with signatory nations.

10. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend, therefore, that the Department of State review existing agreements for rights of air transit, technical stop, naval visit, and the functioning of military missions. The North Atlantic Pact, military aid agreements, and existing regional agreements appear to provide a suitable basis for the adoption by signatory nations, where pertinent, of standard, long-term, reciprocal agreements for rights of this nature. As practicable, existing agreements with other nations should be revised and opportunity taken to reach such agreements when none exist. The form and provisions of standard agreements proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff are set forth in Annexes “B”, “C”, and “D”.12 These are provided as a suggested form for use by the Department of State in obtaining, from foreign nations, acceptance of the principle of standardizing these rights.

11. Negotiation for Military Rights. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the opportunity which may be presented by the North Atlantic Pact and military aid programs to obtain military rights of all categories. Cognizance has been taken of the comments of Mr. Lovett, the Acting Secretary of State, with respect to the desirability of bilateral and multilateral negotiations for rights, as set forth in his letter of January 17, 1949, to the Secretary of Defense.13 The Joint Chiefs of Staff have also considered the proposed statements [Page 309]of United States policy concerning the foreign military assistance programs (FACC D–314 and FACC D–3/115) as forwarded on February 8, 1949, for their comments by the Secretary of Defense.

12. In general, military rights required should be obtained by the most propitious means available. Bilateral agreements are desirable for the achievement of required rights and are essential for the achievement of rights required as a matter of urgency or wherever it may be subsequently determined that sole rights are desired. The negotiation of military rights through the machinery of regional defense agreements has not been successful under past agreements of this nature. The use of this means, therefore, in the future must be contingent on recognition, in regional defense agreements, that military rights will be considered, and on the establishment of adequate machinery to assure that negotiations are undertaken promptly.

13. Rights currently required should be negotiated bilaterally insofar as possible, utilizing as appropriate the principle of quid pro quo in all countries where military or economic aid is provided. Even though the interested Service (Services) has (have) indicated an intent to exercise any required peacetime right (as listed herein) obtained, subject to the availability of funds, the Joint Chiefs of Staff wish to emphasize that the principle of quid pro quo or of mutual assistance should be applied wherever possible, not only to the obtaining of rights, but also to the fulfillment of U.S. requirements envisaged under those rights. Wherever possible the provision and maintenance of facilities for the use of U.S. military forces as envisaged herein should be undertaken by the country of sovereignty.

14. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that henceforth provisions must be made in military aid agreements and regional defense agreements for the continuing consideration of military rights. Such provisions should take the form of articles recognizing the principles involved and providing the necessary terms of reference to bind the signatory nations to positive action. The following draft articles are set forth as being indicative of the nature of guarantees required. It is not intended that the exact wording of these articles be adopted, but it is considered that provisions in each treaty of agreement should provide the equivalent of these guarantees.

Category I: Normal Peacetime Conditions:

Article: The signatory nations agree that peacetime rights of air transit and technical stop of military aircraft and for visit and anchorage of naval vessels (and provision for military missions and advisory groups where pertinent) should be set forth and standardized (under the terms of this pact or in long-term, [Page 310]reciprocal, collective agreements). In recognition of this requirement, the several nations agree to institute talks, at a military level, as necessary, to develop mutually satisfactory agreements for consideration of their respective governments. (Proposed provisions for such an agreement are furnished as a guide, Annexes “B”, “C” and “D”)

Category III: Peacetime Implementation of Plans:

(1) In collective defense pacts.

Article: The several nations recognize that implementation of Article ——— (mutual defense or support article) in the event of war will require, in certain selected instances, peacetime preparation of a military nature, for the maintenance of an acceptable degree of readiness for defense. To assure that the forces of said nations can be suitably employed in any or all of their territories for the common defense, it is agreed that any nation may grant to another military rights in its sovereign territories in peacetime, subject to the collective approval of such agreements, by signatory nations.

(2) In bilateral aid agreements.

Article: The signatory nations agree that in furtherance of the common defense interests, each nation recognizes the need which the other may have from time to time to effectuate preparations within the territory of the other, in time of peace to permit the rendering of timely aid to each other. In recognition of this interest, the signatory nations agree to conduct talks, at military level, as necessary to develop mutually satisfactory agreements for military rights to fulfill this requirement.

15. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognize that the Department of State cannot be expected to negotiate for pertinent military rights on foreign soil on a blank-check basis. The nature of these rights necessitates that the United States set forth, in each instance, its intentions with respect to exercising these rights should they be granted. The National Military Establishment, however, cannot commit itself to the budgetary expenditure requisite to the use of such rights without approval from the legislative branch and the legislative branch cannot be expected to grant such approval unless adequate security for the investment, in terms of rights, can be assured. Hence, it is considered that diplomatic negotiations must be directed toward obtaining initially, in each instance, the rights desired in broad terms, indicating for bargaining purposes what the National Military Establishment hopes to accomplish. Within these broad terms detailed planning can and will be conducted at military level or within the machinery of regional defense agreements if pertinent, A general outline of the actions envisioned as being taken to implement the more important rights requested is set forth in Annex “E”16 as guidance for negotiating such rights.

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16. If further background information is required by the Department of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are prepared to furnish the necessary information on specific areas to selected representatives of the Department of State.

17. The Department of State may be advised that the requirements herein supersede all previous requests for military rights submitted by the National Military Establishment.

  1. In a letter of May 31 to Secretary Johnson, Acting Secretary of State Webb acknowledged receipt of this letter and indicated that a careful analysis of the enclosed JCS study had been initiated in the Department of State (811.24500/5–1949).
  2. This enclosure does not accompany Secretary Johnson’s covering letter in the central files of the Department of State. The source text is located in the Policy Planning Staff Files.
  3. The word “military” when used in this report, as a modifier, is a descriptive adjective referring to any or all of the military Services. Its use in connection with bases, missions and rights is intended to permit exercise or participation in such bases, missions or rights by any two or more of the Services and such other governmental agencies as may operate with or in support of the Services in peace or in war. For example, in accordance with the above, “Military air” is used to include Air Force and Naval Air. When it is intended that only one Service exercise rights referred to, that Service will be so indicated. [Footnote in the source text.]
  4. Areas occupied by, or mandated to, the United States are not considered herein since they are still subject to treaty agreements and should be studied separately at the appropriate time. [Footnote in the source text.]
  5. Entitled “Summary of the National Military Establishment Position with Respect to Military Rights in Foreign Territories”; not reproduced.
  6. For documentation on U.S. interest in military rights in French territory, see vol. iv, pp. 626 ff.
  7. For documentation on the question of military rights in the Azores, see ibid., pp. 1 ff.
  8. For documentation on the matter of military rights in Greenland and Iceland, see vol. iv, pp. 1 ff., pp. 618 ff., and pp. 693 ff.
  9. For texts of agreements signed in London, March 27, 1941, providing for the establishment by the United States of naval and air bases in areas leased from the United Kingdom, and for the defense of Newfoundland, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 235, or 55 Stat. (pt. 2) 1560, 1595, 1599. For related documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iii, pp. 53 ff.
  10. For documentation on United States interest in military rights in the former Italian colonies in Africa, see vol. iv, pp. 526 ff.
  11. Line of Communications (LOC) is defined as: Land, water and air routes which connect an operating military force with its base of operations, and along which supplies and reenforcements move. Terminal and inter-route facilities are a part of the line of communication. In a broad sense LOC’s include trade and supply routes necessary to support the war economy. [Footnote in the source text.]
  12. For documentation on discussions between the United States and the United Kingdom concerning the sovereignty of Canton, Christmas, and other islands in the Pacific, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. vi, pp. 16 ff.
  13. For documentation on the United States position respecting military rights in Brazil, see vol. ii, pp. 549 ff.
  14. For information on this subject, see ibid., editorial note, p. 794.
  15. Entitled “Air Transit and Technical Stop (including Proposed Terms of Multilateral Air Transit and Technical Stop Agreement)”; “International Reciprocal Agreements Covering Visits of Naval Vessels (including draft Items of Agreement); and “Proposed Terms of Agreement for Assignment of Missions to Foreign Nations”, respectively. None printed.
  16. For test of the letter of January 17, see vol. iv, p. 37.
  17. Of February 7, p. 250.
  18. FACC D–3/1, a draft paper on the application of basic MAP policies to programming and designation of recipients, is not printed.
  19. Entitled, “Facilities Envisioned for Category III—Required”; not printed.