Under Secretary’s Meetings, Lot 53 D 250

Minutes of the Under Secretary’s Meeting. February 14, 1949, 10:00–11:10 A. M., Department of State1

top secret

UM M–4

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Present: Messrs. Webb, Under Secretary, Chairman
Rusk, G, Deputy Chairman
Allen, P
Armstrong, R
Bohlen, C
Butterworth, FE
Daniels, ARA
Gross, U/CFA (Legal Adviser)
Hickerson, EUR
Joyce,2 S/P (for Mr. Kennan)
Nitze,3 E (for Mr. Thorp) (after 10:30)
Norton, T
Radius,4 TRC
Saltzman, O
Satterthwaite, NEA
Hulten,5 A (for Mr. Peurifoy)
Hnmelsine, S/S
Reber,6 S/S–S

Economic Relations Between the United States and Yugoslavia (D–37)

Action: It will be recommended to the Secretary that he take the position set forth in this paper when it comes before the National Security Council, subject to the following changes:
  • a. The elimination of reference in recommendation 7 to government commodity credits with the understanding that at a later time it might be desirable to consider commodity credits and that any decision on that will be placed before the Secretary.
  • b. Reference to securing the U.S. Ambassador’s views will be deleted from the paper.
  • c. The Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Sawyer, should be invited to the NSC meeting at which this paper is considered.
Mr. Rusk and Mr. Hickerson will be responsible for the implementation of this policy in coordination with other parts of the Department. (The Secretariat will follow up.)
Discussion: In the discussion on this paper the following issues were raised:
  • a. The Under Secretary asked if it is the intention to provide the proposed assistance to Tito on the basis of a quid pro quo Mr. Hickerson said that is the intention and we are now discussing the possibility of getting lead and copper out of Yugoslavia. The quid pro quo would be mainly in the economic field. Consideration will be given to the political possibilities but this requires very careful handling. Mr. Satterthwaite pointed out that it will not be too difficult for Tito to discontinue support for the guerrillas in Greece. This will be watched carefully and quietly by us.
  • b. Mr. Hickerson believed that government commodity credits through the Eximbank should not be included at this time. Since developments will be constantly under review, there may come a time when we may wish to extend governmental credits. That question should be brought to the Secretary’s personal attention. Mr. Nitze inquired whether the Eximbank might be permitted to make unguaranteed loans to U.S. exporters for exporting goods to Yugoslavia. Mr. Hickerson believed that this should also be considered later as the situation is reviewed, and such a question should also be brought to the Secretary’s personal attention.
  • c. Mr. Norton believed that this proposal should be tied in with NSC–15,8 which deals with our policy on aviation matters in the satellite countries.
  • d. Mr. Daniels inquired what would be the probable reaction of European countries to the proposed policy? Mr. Hickersoist replied that the question has been discussed with the British and their reaction is good. It has not been discussed with the French for fear of a leak. The reaction of other countries with whom this has been discussed is favorable.
  • e. Mr. Gross inquired whether this policy should require Yugoslavia to enter into multilateral arrangements in the commercial credit field with the OEEC countries. Mr. Nitze replied that Germany is the principal supplier of Yugoslavia and that Clay will be making bilateral arrangements with Yugoslavia. To a less extent other individual countries in the OEEC area could make bilateral arrangements but not multilateral.
  • f. Mr. Rusk believed that the paper going to the NSC should not make reference to our discussions with the U.S. Ambassadors, which, of course, the Department will accomplish as a matter of internal administration.
  • g. Mr. Webb inquired how the interdepartmental relations would be handled in as much as there exists an interdepartmental committee on export control, headed by Commerce, which would be affected. Mr. Joyce suggested, and there was general overt and tacit approval expressed which satisfied Mr. Webb, that the Secretary of Commerce should be invited to the NSC when the consideration of this paper is on the agenda.
  • h. Mr. Norton expressed dissatisfaction with the coordination within the Department and within the missions abroad regarding our Yugoslavia policy that was put into effect last July. He proposed (1) that within the Department one person be assigned the responsibility for implementing the proposed policy, and (2) that it make certain the people in the missions abroad who need to know the policy in order to carry it out should be informed. Mr. Webb, agreeing with expressions by Mr. Bohlen and Mr. Hickerson and others, stated that within the Department he believed Mr. Rusk and Mr. Hickerson should take the lead on the implementation of this but that since all top officers were now informed of our policy it was their individual responsibility, as for example, Mr. Thorp’s area, for the Assistant Secretary to inform the people below him who need to know; in the field the ambassador must be made responsible for disseminating the information to the people who need to know within his mission.
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[The remainder of this meeting was devoted to the consideration of the Department of State’s responsibility for psychological warfare policy and planning, activities of the Policy Planning Staff, the control of the Ruhr, and certain Departmental resignations and assignments.]

  1. The first of the Under Secretary’s Meetings was held on the morning of February 3, 1949. The attendance at the first meeting included the following: Under Secretary of State James Webb (Chairman), Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk (Deputy Chairman), Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Administration John E. Peurifoy, Assistant Secretary of State for Occupied Areas Charles E. Saltzman, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Willard E. Thorp, Counselor of the Department of State Charles E. Bohlen, Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs Paul C. Daniels, Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs W. Walton Butterworth, Director of the Office of European Affairs John D. Hickerson, Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs Joseph C. Satterthwaite, Assistant Secretary of State for Transport and Communications Garrison Norton, Director of the Policy Planning Staff George F. Kennan, Legal Adviser Ernest A. Gross, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence William Park Armstrong, Jr., and Director of the Executive Secretariat Carlisle H. Humelsine. At the first meeting it was decided that future attendance would be confined to those officers present except on permission of the Under Secretary. (Attendance at meetings during subsequent weeks and months reflected changes in the structure of the Department of State as well as retirements and appointments of high-ranking officers.) The responsibility for inviting deputies and substitutes was to be exercised by the Under Secretary. It was further agreed that meetings would generally be held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and would be confined to an hour. Under Secretary Webb explained that he expected these meetings to provide a closer relationship between the members and himself, to permit the exploration of problems at an early stage, to make certain that lines of responsibility were clearly understood, and where practicable to reach agreement on policies under which each officer could effectively carry out his responsibilities.

    The Under Secretary’s Meetings subsequently considered a series of documents brought before it and designated UM–D documents or D documents. Minutes of the Meetings were prepared by the Secretariat headed by Humelsine. (The series designation UM–M was used for the earliest of these minutes.) A complete set of UM–D documents and a partial set of minutes of Under Secretary’s Meetings for 1949 are included in Under Secretary’s Meetings, Lot 53 D 250.

    The source text bears the following handwritten note from Humelsine to Secretary of State Acheson: “This is the complete brief on yesterday’s staff meeting. I understand Mr. Webb is going to discuss this activity with you tonight.” Secretary Acheson’s handwritten initials appear next to Humelsine’s note.

  2. Robert P. Joyce, Member, Policy Planning Staff.
  3. Paul H. Nitze, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.
  4. Walter A. Radius, Director, Office of Transport and Communications.
  5. Charles M. Hulten, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Administration.
  6. James Q. Reber, Special Assistant, Executive Secretariat.
  7. Infra.
  8. For text of document NSC 15/1, July 12, 1948, “U.S. Civil Aviation Policy Toward the USSR and Its Satellites”, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. iv, p. 451.