Policy Planning Staff Files

Memorandum by the Director of the Policy Planning Staff ( Nitze ) to the Secretary of State 1


Subject: Today’s meeting with Secretary Johnson and General Bradley

As of possible assistance, herewith is a reminder of a few suggestions which I made orally to you yesterday with regard to the conduct of today’s meeting with Secretary Johnson and General Bradley.

That the meeting be held in the Planning Staff’s conference room;
That you might wish to explain the purpose of this particular meeting by saying
That this project was undertaken pursuant to the Presidential Directive to the Secretaries of State and Defense to “undertake a reexamination of our objectives in peace and war and of the effect of these objectives on our strategic plans in the light of the probable fission bomb capability and possible thermonuclear bomb capability of the Soviet Union”;
That you understand that the President wanted a thorough and fresh review unfettered by considerations of existing policies or commitments;
That except for yourself, Mr. Johnson, General Bradley, and Mr. Rusk, all of those present have been working actively on this study (they all have AEC “Q” clearance);
That Mr. Lay, representing the White House, has participated in the study from the beginning; and
That although the work is not completed, this particular meeting was arranged to allow the group to make a progress report to you and to Secretary Johnson and to determine whether the work which has been done is, in the opinion of yourself and Secretary Johnson, responsive to the President’s Directive.
The Group has consulted during its study the following persons:
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • James B. Conant
  • Chester I. Barnard
  • Henry D. Smyth
  • Robert A. Lovett
  • Ernest O. Lawrence
The working group has taken elaborate precautions against leaks, and with specific regard to today’s meeting the press officers in the two Departments have been told that if there are any questions asked—and only if there are any questions asked—by the press, they [Page 203] should say that the Secretaries of State and Defense and General Bradley are consulting on matters related to the meetings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which Secretary Johnson and General Bradley will attend in Europe next week.2
If it is agreeable to Secretary Johnson, you might suggest that Mr. Nitze, who has been acting as chairman of the State–Defense study group, outline the thinking of the group in general terms and that General Landon address himself to the military aspects of the problem, after which there can be a general discussion of any nature which may seem profitable to yourself and Secretary Johnson.
Finally, depending upon how the meeting progresses, there may be an opportunity to suggest that the next steps would seem to call for
A further polishing of the paper;
A reflection in the paper of such comments as have been forthcoming during the meeting;
Detailed processing of the paper through the appropriate machinery of the two Departments (that as far as the State Department is concerned this would be a selected group of the Assistant Secretaries); and
Possible additional consultants—on the domestic economic problems Secretary Snyder3 and McCabe of the Federal Reserve Board4—would be extremely useful; on the problem as a whole Chief Justice Vinson should be helpful.
  1. Drafted by Harry H. Schwartz, Executive Secretary of the Policy Planning Staff.
  2. The Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization held its Third Meeting at The Hague on March 28; the NATO Defense Committee met on April 1, also at The Hague.
  3. John W. Snyder, Secretary of the Treasury.
  4. Thomas B. McCabe, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.