The Secretary of Defense (Johnson) to the Secretary of State 1
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.
- 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).↩
- 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.↩
- 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.]↩
- 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.]↩
- Entitled “Summary of the National Military Establishment Position with Respect to Military Rights in Foreign Territories”; not reproduced.↩
- For documentation on U.S.
interest in military rights in French territory, see
iv, pp. 626 ff.↩
- For documentation on the question of military
rights in the Azores, see
ibid., pp. 1 ff.↩
documentation on the matter of military rights in Greenland and
iv, pp. 1 ff., pp. 618 ff., and pp. 693 ff.↩
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.↩
- For documentation on United States interest
in military rights in the former Italian colonies in Africa, see
iv, pp. 526 ff.↩
- 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.]↩
- 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.↩
- For documentation on the United States position respecting
military rights in Brazil, see
ii, pp. 549 ff.↩
- For information on this subject, see
ibid., editorial note, p. 794.↩
- 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.↩
- For test of the letter of
January 17, see
iv, p. 37.↩
- Of February 7, p. 250.↩
- FACC D–3/1, a draft paper on the application of basic MAP policies to programming and designation of recipients, is not printed.↩
- Entitled, “Facilities Envisioned for Category III—Required”; not printed.↩