The Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and African Affairs (McGhee) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations (Gross)


Subject: Military Assistance for NEA Countries

In recent discussions with Dr. Berkner, S/CFA, this office has been informed that legislation could be submitted to the next session of Congress for the purpose of obtaining authority to extend military assistance on a reimbursable basis to certain NEA countries. Presumably, the request for such authority would be proposed in legislation supplementary to the Foreign Military Assistance Act of 1949.

As you may recall, the MAP legislation, as originally introduced by the Administration, contained a provision which would have made it possible for the President to provide aid on a cash-reimbursable basis to any country associated with us in a collective or regional defense arrangement, or to any other nation whose increased security was in the national interest of the United States. The latter part of this provision was omitted from the legislation by the Congressional [Page 48]Committees and the omission was approved by the Secretary and the Secretary of Defense since it was considered that insistence on its inclusion might jeopardize the entire bill.

At the request of S/CFA, this office is currently preparing definitive statements as to the need for military assistance by certain NEA countries to be used as a basis for preliminary work with the Congress to assure that supplementary legislation, when requested, will not again be the subject of misunderstanding.

As indicated in the attached memorandum of August 16 to Dr. Berkner, it is extremely important that supplementary legislation be obtained in 1950 both as regards our foreign relations with certain of the NEA countries and as to certain US strategic objectives we are seeking in these countries.

In connection with action which NEA is urgently planning, it would be appreciated if you will advise this office whether the Secretary’s agreement to eliminate the above mentioned provision from MAP legislation currently being considered in the Congress has any bearing on the Department’s plans to seek supplementary legislation in 1950.1

  1. Mr. Gross replied to Mr. McGhee in a memorandum of October 3, in which he stated: “It does not seem to me that the decision of the Administration to restrict the reimbursable aid provision in the Military Assistance Bill this year precludes the Department from proposing an amendment to the Military Assistance Legislation when it is submitted next year for a new authorization.

    “Before the Department goes back next year for a further authorization for the Military Assistance Program careful consideration must be given as to whether any additional countries should be added to the Program and, if so, on what basis. Any such determination would heed to be based upon a careful analysis of specific proposed programs of the type which NEA is presumably preparing.” (840.20/8–1649)

    A marginal notation by Carl Marcy, the Assistant Legislative Counsel, states that Mr. Gross’ memorandum was “Not sent formally but copy given Robertson as setting forth our views.” David A. Robertson was Politico-Military Adviser in the Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs.