S/SNSC Files: Lot 63D351: NSC 79 Series

Report to the National Security Council by the Secretary of Defense (Johnson)

top secret

NSC 79

Note by the Executive Secretary to the National Security Council on United States and Allied War Objectives in the Event of Global War

References: A. NSC 20/41
B. NSC 682
C. NSC 73/43

At the request of the Secretary of Defense, the enclosed memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the subject is circulated herewith for the information of the National Security Council and the Secretary of the Treasury and referred to the NSC Staff for use in the preparation of a report for Council consideration.

In transmitting the enclosure the Secretary of Defense requested that action be initiated in the National Security Council as recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a clear-cut statement of the war objectives of the United States and that further action be taken leading to the adoption of a concerted statement of the war objectives of the United States and its allies, all in the eventuality of possible global war.

James S. Lay, Jr.
[Enclosure]

Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense (Johnson)

top secret

Subject: Statement of United States and Allied War Objectives in the Event of Global War.

1.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that, from the military point of view, there are certain compelling reasons for an early determination of clear-cut United States objectives in the event of war. Such a clear-cut statement of war objectives is necessary to serve as a basis for military planning, both prior to and during hostilities, in order [Page 391] to provide that our military efforts are directed toward the winning of the ultimate peace as well as to the winning of the war. Such a statement would be of major military value, in the event of hostilities, in order to assure for the war effort that degree of popular support which is essential to the fighting spirit of military forces, regardless of their numbers. Further, a well considered statement of allied war objectives would be of importance in insuring that our military operations would be supported by the forces of our allies, as nearly as possible with the same determination as we would expect of our own forces.
2.
An effective statement of war objectives should not only be so worded as to arouse the American people and our allies to concerted support of the war effort but should also be so expressed as to cause enemy dissidents to oppose the Kremlin actively as well as passively, and, if possible, to encourage defections among the people and military forces of the USSR.
3.
Because they are so broadly worded and since they were intended for other purposes the statements of national objectives appearing in NSC 20/4 entitled “U.S. Objectives with Respect to the USSR to Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. Security” and in NSC 68 entitled “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” and the study by the staffs of the Departments of State and Defense, dated 7 April 1950, fail to meet the above requirements. Further, it is believed that there exist no approved policies or studies which fill the requirement expressed in the two preceding paragraphs.
4.
While the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not consider that a global war is necessarily imminent, they nevertheless feel that it would be of prime importance, were war to eventuate, for the United States and its allies to have available an agreed statement of their war objectives in time for its early use—certainly before possible results would be felt from the early heavy successes which are anticipated as being within the military capabilities of the USSR.
5.
Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that action be initiated in the National Security Council to develop a clear-cut statement of the war objectives of the United States and that further action be taken leading to the adoption of a concerted statement of the war objectives of the United States and its allies, all in the eventuality of possible global war.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Omar N. Bradley

Chairman
Joint Chiefs of Staff