FACC Files

Policy Paper Approved by the Foreign Assistance Correlation Committee 1


Relationship of the Military Assistance Program to U.S. Strategic Interests

The Military Assistance Program for FY 50 is based on a studied appraisal of U.S. world-wide strategic interests, giving full consideration to the political, military, economic and psychological factors. In most instances, the basic consideration is the military factor with the assistance designed to strengthen the military posture of free nations to resist aggression and thus strengthen U.S. security. In other instances, however, political considerations are paramount, leading to the provision of military aid to withstand Communist inspired internal disorders and to enhance political stability. In all cases, the psychological factor is of major significance in that military assistance will increase the determination to resist and will raise the level of confidence in all countries stimulating them to greater efforts in their economic and military recovery and enabling them to diminish their dependence on the United States. The economic factor receives major consideration particularly in those countries included in the programs administered by the Economic Cooperation Administration. Countries in the process of recovery, particularly those devastated by war, recognize that recovery and security are closely interrelated. Most of these countries fully appreciate that it will avail them little to have revitalized their economies under conditions where at any time they may fall to an [Page 348]aggressor. Military assistance enables these countries to continue with economic recovery without being forced to divert much needed resources of manpower and material to meet their vital security requirements.
The military assistance programmed for FY 50 is based upon carefully studied appraisal by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the present and future security needs for our own country. They agree that our strategy, in case we are attacked, must rely on adequate integrated forces of land, sea and air power to carry the war back to the aggressor, ultimately destroying or controlling the sources of his military and industrial power. The United States cannot, without dealing a mortal blow to the civilized world, and risk of vastly increased U.S. and Allied casualties and cost, abandon Western Europe to enemy occupation with the later promise of liberation. Military strategy, in the long view, must, in the event of war, envisage the containment and thereafter the defeat of any aggressor. Since any aggression into Western Europe would threaten the security of the nations of the existing free world and expose them to the terrors of another enemy occupation, the current program aims to provide these nations at the earliest possible date with the urgently required means to modernize and balance the equipment of their relatively small forces.
With regard to military assistance to countries outside Western Europe, the political factor assumes rising importance. The Truman Doctrine of 1947 established the policy of the United States to assist free nations to maintain their independence. Outside of Western Europe, this doctrine has had its principal application in Greece and Turkey, and the reasons which led the United States to undertake the Greek-Turkish aid programs are still valid today. Our policy and our interests require continued military assistance to those countries. This assistance enhances the capabilities of Greece and Turkey to maintain their national integrity which is esssential to the preservation of order in the Near and Middle East. Both these nations with assistance can contribute to stability in this important area with consequent long-range strategic benefits to the United States.
The United States, through its adherence to the Cairo Declaration2 and the Potsdam Agreement,3 joined with the other great powers in declaring that, in due course, liberated Korea should become free and independent enabling it to ultimately join the world community of nations. In implementing its share of the responsibility for the resurgence of a Korean nation, the United States, despite the [Page 349]unnatural conditions occasioned by the division of Korea at the 38th parallel, is sponsoring an economic aid program and the provision of sufficient military assistance to enable it to effectively deter aggression and to maintain internal stability. Likewise, the continuation of military assistance to the Philippines is also predicated primarily on the political responsibilities the United States has borne on behalf of its former dependency. Stability in both these countries contributes to the long-range security interests of the U.S. in the Far East.
On balance, therefore, a summary of the strategic implications of the Military Assistance Program for FY 50 shows that its major portion is devoted to considerations of military and psychological aspects of strategy significantly contributing to the security of the United States both in the short and long views. The remainder of assistance provides primarily political benefits which contribute indirectly to the security of the United States in the long view through the enhancement of political stability and the fostering of the will to resist aggression. In all the recipient nations the United States reaps the economic and psychological benefits of increased confidence in the future stimulated by military assistance which contributes to a sound basis of security.

  1. This document, approved by FACC on July 1, was included in Part G of the MAP Hearing Book.
  2. For text, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, p. 448.
  3. Reference is to paragraph 8 of the proclamation issued by the Heads of Government of the United States, China, and the United Kingdom at Potsdam on July 26, 1945; for text, see Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, p. 1475.