Editorial Note

On March 22 the National Security Council adopted a report to President Truman designated NSC 42/1 and entitled “U.S. Objectives with Respect to Greece and Turkey to Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. Security.” President Truman approved the report the following day. For the text of NSC 42/1, March 22, see page 269. The circumstances attending the preparation and approval of this report are reviewed in footnote 2 to NSC 42/1.

In its original version (NSC 42, March 4, 1949), this report included several paragraphs recommending negotiations with the Turkish Government on the building of airfields in Turkey. These recommendations had originally been advanced in NSC 36, December 1, 1948, a report by the Secretary of the Air Force to the National Security Council entitled “The U.S. Position with Respect to Turkey [Page 1645]in the Light of U.S. Security Interests in the Middle East, Particularly as Respects Air Power and the Greek and Turkish Aid Programs,” not printed (S/SNSC Files, Lot 63 D 351 NSC 36 Series). The National Security Council Staff, acting in accordance with the instructions of the Council, had taken NSC 36 into consideration in the preparation of the report presented in NSC 42. According to the NSC Action 196, March 22, the National Security Council adopted the report subject to the deletions of those paragraphs dealing with the construction of airfields in Turkey. The Council further agreed that the Department of State should submit for Council consideration its latest views on the desirability of seeking such an arrangement. (S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files, Lot 66 D 95, NSC Records of Action)

An early draft of the requested report, prepared by the Policy Planning Staff and concurred in by the principal interested officers of the Department of State, was ready on April 1 (S/SNSC Files, Lot 63 D 351, NSC 42 Series). That early draft was largely the same as the Report by the Department of State to the National Security Council, NSC 36/1, April 15, page 1654.

In a memorandum of April 2 to the National Security Council, not printed, Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson suggested that the Council consider in conjunction with the question of United States airfield construction a project to stockpile aviation gasoline in Turkey. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had recommended that CINCNELM be authorized to proceed with negotiations on the stockpiling project, subject to Department of State clearance in view of the political considerations involved. (S/SNSC Files, Lot 63 D 351, NSC 42 Series)

The Department of State’s draft report of April 1 on airfield construction in Turkey was slightly revised to deal also with the question of gasoline stockpiling and was circulated to the Under Secretary’s Meeting (regarding the Under Secretary’s Meeting, see footnote 2 to NSC 42/1, March 22, Page 269) as document UM D–15/1, April 7. UM D–15/1 was identical with NSC 36/1, April 15, page 1654. The Under Secretary’s Meeting of April 11 approved UM D–15/1 (Under Secretary’s Meetings, Lot 53 D 250). The Department of State’s revised report was submitted to the National Security Council by the Secretary of State under cover of a brief transmittal memorandum of April 14 and was subsequently circulated to the Council as document NSC 36/1, April 15, page 1654. According to NSC Action 205, the Council at its meeting on April 21 concurred in the conclusions set forth in the report (S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files, Lot 66 D 95, NSC Records of Action). The President approved the report the same day.

The lot files referred to above are described as follows: Lot 63 D 351 is a serial master file of the National Security Council documents and [Page 1646]correspondence and related Department of State memoranda for the years 1947–1961, as maintained by the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State. Lot 66 D 95 is a collection of administrative and miscellaneous National Security Council documentation for the years 1947–1963, also maintained by the Executive Secretariat. Lot 53 D 250 is a master file of records of meetings, documents, summaries, and agenda of the Under Secretary’s meetings for the years 1949–1952, also maintained by the Executive Secretariat.