FACC Files

Policy Paper Approved by the Foreign Assistance Correlation Committee 1



Strategic Objectives of the Military Assistance Program

To achieve peace and security by assisting to create world conditions that make it possible for the United States to preserve and continue to develop its way of life is the primary objective of our foreign policy. Military assistance is but one of the courses of action which must be pursued toward this aim. Its principal contribution to attain our ends will result from the extent to which it serves to deter aggression and to promote that sense of security which is essential to the establishment and maintenance of economic and political stability.

Thus, to obtain the maximum contribution from military assistance it is necessary that it be furnished in those amounts and kinds and to those countries where it will produce the sort of defensive strength which is capable of withstanding and thus deterring aggression from whatever quarter. This aim must of course be adjusted to the practical, political, economic and military realities of the world situation. We cannot attempt to create in every area and in every nation defensive forces which alone would be capable of withstanding an assault by the huge Soviet armies. To do so would involve economic burdens which neither we nor any other country can or should attempt to assume. Likewise, this would involve not only imperiling economic recovery and stability, but would provide a temptation for the use of military assistance for purposes other than defense against aggression. It is, however, practical and desirable to increase the collective defensive strength of those nations which are associated with us in collective defense areas and whose security is essential to our own.

The Military Assistance Program is carefully designed to provide the maximum defensive strength possible within the limits of existing resources and without adversely affecting the economies of the countries involved which must be defended for our own security and which contain the basic sources of power upon which an effective defensive strength can be built. It is designed to provide to each such nation that kind and amount of aid which will enable that nation to perform its logical and necessary role in a coordinated collective defense effort in the event of armed attack.

It is true that there does not presently exist any multi-lateral agreed strategic plan of defense to which these free nations have subscribed. It is probable that much time will be required to reach such agreement [Page 359]insofar as the North Atlantic area is concerned, even though the North Atlantic Treaty provides a basis for the evolution of such an agreement. Nevertheless, in the final analysis, a strategic plan for the most effective use of the available resources of the free nations for defense against attack must be predicated upon the basic facts of geographic location and power sources. The United States as the present primary foundation of the strength of the group can be expected to have a major part in the determination of strategic planning. Our military assistance is planned to conform to these realities and to the basic strategic factors inherent in the situation.

Thus, the program is concentrated on providing defensive strength in Europe. It is based upon a concept of division of labor consistent with the capabilities and situation of the free European nations. For example, it envisages the provision of air warning equipment in the most forward areas, the assignment of major sea defense to the main naval powers, the assignment of harbor and coastal defense to local naval forces, the development of tactical air defense on the Continent by the Continental powers and primarily supplied from British sources, the development of strategic air defenses by the United States and Canada, and the development of land forces primarily where ground strength must be immediately available. Thus, a foundation is being provided which should ease the work of the North Atlantic Defense Council and which will make possible the development of a collective defensive strength in which all parties will have greater security at less cost than it would be possible for any one of them to achieve alone.

In areas outside Europe the same basic considerations must be and have been applied. Thus military assistance for other countries is proposed to conform in amount and kind to their requirements for added strength, the practical possibilities of its employment for defense, the relative necessity for immediate help, and the ability of the United States to provide aid in the light of other needs and total availabilities.

  1. This document, approved by FACC on August 1, was included in Part D of the MAP Hearing Book.