Policy Planning Staff Files

Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Butler)

top secret

Notes on the JCS Paper 1

There is full sympathy with the concern of the JCS about the military security of the United States. Any real security for the American people can be achieved only under conditions of peace. If war should come, we naturally must overlook no measures that would assure victory in a military sense. However, it is very probable that even military victory, because of the nature of modern war, would mean defeat in terms of the welfare of the American people and a preservation of their way of life.

If this line of thought is accurate, the broad foreign policy of the United States must not be based substantially upon considerations of purely military security requirements. It must be based, as the Secretary of State has pointed out, on our determination “to wage peace vigorously and relentlessly”.

Many of the requirements and recommendations in the JCS paper appear to require a reversal or a substantial modification of approved policy decisions included in NSC papers. The following paragraphs summarize some of these policy decisions.

NSC Action 13 2

The basic objective of the foreign policy of the United States is the maintenance of world peace in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Before resorting to the actual, employment of force (referring to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East), the United States should exhaust political and economic means, including recourse to the United Nations. Any resort to force should [be] in consonance with the Charter of the United Nations and, so far as possible in cooperation with like-minded members of the United Nations. It should be the policy of this government to make evident in a firm but non-provocative manner the extent of the determination of the United States to assist in preserving in the interest of world peace the security of the area (Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East).

[Page 322]

NSC 9/3 3

Senate Resolution 239 should be implemented to the fullest extent possible insofar as its provisions apply to the problem discussed in this paper (Western Union). In the Resolution 239 the Senate reaffirms the policy of the United States to achieve international peace and security through the United Nations so that armed force shall not be used except in the common interest; and records the sense of the Senate that the United States should seek the progressive development of regional and other collective arrangements for individual and collective self-defense in accordance with the purposes, principles, and provisions of the Charter and should associate itself, by constitutional process, with such regional and other collective arrangements as are based on continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid and as affect its national security.

NSC 9/4 4

In the memorandum of guidance for United States military representatives for London Military talks on Western Union, it is observed that the political framework for U.S. participation in the London talks is evident in the NSC 9 series, in Senate Resolution 239, and in agreements respecting Western Germany reached between the U.S. and the Western Union nations in the recent London Conference. It is observed that actual negotiations for military rights should not be initiated, since the matter lies in the diplomatic rather than in the military sphere.

NSC 9/6 5

This JCS memorandum regarding developments with respect to Western Union observes that the basic objective of the Western Union defense policy is to convince Russia that war would not pay.

NSC 13/3 6

In connection with naval bases in Japan, it is stated that the retention of a naval base at Yokosuka does not preclude if, at the time of finalizing the United States position concerning the post-treaty arrangements for Japanese military security, the prevailing situation makes such action desirable and if it [is] consistent with United States political objectives.

[Page 323]

NSC 14/1 7

Any United States military assistance program should be predicated to the maximum practicable extent upon the self-help and mutual assistance of recipient states.

NSC 20/4 8

Soviet capabilities and the increases thereto would result in a relative increase in Soviet capabilities vis-à-vis the United States and the Western Democracies unless offset by factors such as: (a) the success of ERP, (b) the development of Western Union and its support by the United States, (c) the increased effectiveness of the military establishments of the United States, Great Britain, and other friendly nations. While the possibility of planned Soviet armed actions which would involve this country cannot be ruled out, a careful weighing of the various factors points to the possibility that the Soviet Government is not now planning any deliberate armed action calculated to involve the United States and is still seeking to achieve its aims primarily by political means, accompanied by military intimidation. In addition to the risk of war, a danger equally to be guarded against is the possibility that Soviet political warfare might seriously weaken the relative position of the United States, and hence strength[en] and either lead to our ultimate defeat short of war or force us into war under dangerously unfavorable conditions. To counter threats to our national security and to create conditions conducive to a positive and in the long-term mutually beneficial relationship between the Russian people and our own, it is essential that this government formulate general objectives which are capable of sustained pursuit both in time of peace and in the event of war. The political, economic and psychological warfare which the U.S.S.R. is now waging has dangerous potentialities for weakening the relative world position of the United States and disrupting its traditional institutions by means short of war, unless sufficient resistance is encountered in the policies of this and other non-communist countries. The capability of the United States either in peace or in the event of war to cope with threats to its security or to gain its objectives would be severely weakened by a lessening of United States prestige and influence through vacillation or appeasement or lack of skill and imagination in the conduct of its foreign policy or by shirking world responsibilities. Attainment of the alliance by which we [Page 324]should endeavor to achieve our general objectives through methods short of war requires, among other things, that the U.S.:

develop a level of military readiness which can be maintained as well as necessary as a deterrent to Soviet aggression, as indispensable support to our political attitude toward the U.S.S.R., as a source of encouragement to nations resisting Soviet political aggression, and as an adequate basis for immediate military commitments and for rapid mobilization should war prove unavoidable;
strengthen the orientation toward the United States of the non-Soviet nations, and help such of those nations as are able and willing to make an important contribution to U.S. security, to increase their economic and political stability and their military capability.

NSC 36/1 9

It would be unwise at this time to seek an arrangement with the Turkish Government for the construction of airfields or for the stockpiling of aviation gasoline. The reason for this decision is that the construction of these airfields and the stockpiling of aviation gasoline would be regarded by the Soviet Government as a threat to the security of the U.S.S.R. and would stimulate further Soviet pressure on Turkey and perhaps Iran. Furthermore, it is clear that the Soviet Union is watching carefully for any developments which could be exploited to support the Soviet thesis that the North Atlantic Treaty is aggressive in intent and operation. The construction at this time of forward air bases in Turkish territory might be an important factor in leading the Soviet Government to the erroneous conclusion that the treaty is not solely defensive in character. It would also cause doubts among a considerable number of persons in other countries as to whether the treaty has a truly defensive character.

NSC 39 10

This directive to the Commander-in-Chief, European Command is another example of collective rather than unilateral action in military security planning.

NSC 41 11

One of the policy decisions regarding China is that the effective cooperation of other friendly governments should be sought wherever necessary to carry out U.S. policies.

FACC D–3 12

This paper regarding basic policies underlying military assistance programs has been cleared at the working level in State, NME and [Page 325] ECA. It is stated that these underlying policies are an essential and integral part of our basic foreign policies. In strengthening the free nations of the non-Soviet world, it is our purpose not only to reduce the likelihood of further Soviet-communist aggression and to improve the ability of those nations to resist if attacked, but also to create an atmosphere of confidence and security within which the chances for success of economic recovery programs may be enhanced and a more favorable atmosphere for the accomplishment of the principles and purposes of the United Nations established. The programs, particularly those relating to the short term future, must be viewed also from the standpoint of their effect in improving the chances for the maintenance of peace, on which the emphasis of U.S. policy is placed, as well as from their significance with respect to the winning of a possible war. It is our policy that economic recovery must not be sacrificed to rearmament and must continue to be given a clear priority. While the basic concept of this program is consistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter, measures for implementing the program must also conform to such purposes and principles.

FACC D–3/1 13

This paper applies the principles and policies of FACC D–3: (a) to produce general guidance for programming; (b) to list those recipients for whom military assistance should be programmed for Fiscal Year 1950, in groups, generally according to their political and strategic importance to the United States; and (c) to indicate United States objectives with respect to eligible recipients.

Mr. Lovett’s letter of January 17, 1949, to the Secretary of Defense14 calls attention to important political considerations involved in the question of military rights. It is pointed out that the unilateral maintenance of military bases by this country on the territory of other countries involves considerable disadvantage from the political point of view. A collective approach to the problem may result in the selection of the U.S. in many cases to man and maintain bases for the group in peacetime. Furthermore, the countries in which base rights are most important are not necessarily those most anxious to obtain military equipment. We do not envisage that the U.S. would unilaterally demand such rights from other members of the North Atlantic Treaty. This would be inconsistent with the spirit of the pact and would encourage the assumption of the very thesis we are trying to avoid: namely, that it is only the U.S. which has a real interest in thwarting Russian expansion and that the others are entitled to expect us to bargain with them to induce them to take measures essential to the defense of the North Atlantic community.

  1. Reference is to the JCS study on U.S. requirements for military rights in foreign territories, transmitted by Secretary of Defense Johnson to the Secretary of State on May 19, p. 300.
  2. The memorandum approved by the National Security Council in Action No. 13, November 21, 1947, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. v, p. 575.
  3. For partial text of NSC 9/3, “The Position of the U.S. with Respect to Support for Western Union and Other Related Free Countries,” June 28, 1948, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. iii, p. 140.
  4. NSC 9/4, “Guidance for U.S. Military Representatives for London Military Talks on the Western Union of Nations,” July 20, 1948, is not printed as such. However, an undated antecedent version which differs slightly from NSC 9/4 as circulated is printed ibid., p. 188, under a covering memorandum dated July 16, 1948.
  5. For text of NSC 9/6, “Developments with Respect to Western Union,” November 29, 1948, see ibid., p. 289.
  6. NSC 13/3, “Recommendations with Respect to U.S. Policy Toward Japan,” May 6, 1949, is printed in volume vii, Part 2.
  7. For text of NSC 14/1, “The Position of the U.S. with Respect to Providing Military Assistance to Nations of the Non-Soviet World,” July 1, 1948, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 585.
  8. For text of NSC 20/4, “U.S. Objectives with Respect to the USSR to Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. Security,” November 23, 1948, see ibid., p. 662.
  9. The text of NSC 36/1, “Construction of Airfields and Stockpiling of Aviation Gasoline in Turkey,” April 15, 1949 is scheduled for publication in volume vi.
  10. Not printed.
  11. NSC 41, “U.S. Policy Regarding Trade with China,” February 28, 1949; for text, see vol. ix, p. 826.
  12. Of February 7, p. 250.
  13. See footnote 15, p. 309.
  14. See footnote 13, p. 308.