Policy Planning Staff Files

Memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs ( Thompson ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Subject: Draft report to the President and the State–Defense Staff study1

While we feel that the draft report to the President and the State–Defense Staff Study contain many useful analyses, with most of which we are in agreement, the conclusions reached do not appear to flow logically from this analysis and some of the most important suggestions in the paper are not directly supported by the analysis. We suggest it would be advisable to reorganize the study in order to have it flow logically to the conclusions reached. For example, the quotations in the chapter on conclusions from NSC 20/42 might be placed at the beginning of the paper as the statement of our objectives. Apart from the conclusions on atomic energy, the important conclusions of the paper, in our opinion, are those set forth on page 24 of the report to the President and on page 25 of chapter 9 of the longer document. The second conclusion recommends a sharp increase in military expenditures, the third provides for a sharp increase in military assistance programs and the fourth more increase in economic assistance programs. These are exceedingly important conclusions, yet neither of the papers discusses our present programs in these fields nor our projected plans. If these conclusions are to be supported, it would appear [Page 214] necessary to have a realistic survey of present programs and of the extent by which projected programs fall short of needs.

If conclusions of this nature are to be adopted and carried out, they would have to be adopted as national policy and have full support not only of the administration, but of the Congress and public as well. We suggest the report should point up to a high level examination of these tentative conclusions and recommend the appointment of a top-level board or commission to examine them. Such a board might consist of Secretaries of State and Defense, General Bradley, Vannevar Bush,3 Paul Hoffman,4 Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and the chairman of the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and House.

I suspect it would be found that no very great increase in our present rate of expenditure would be called for, but rather a better allocation of resources and a unified national policy which would apply our resources more directly to the solution of the basic problem which is well expressed in chapter 9 of the State–Defense study as follows:

The problem is to create such political and economic conditions in the free world, backed by force sufficient to inhibit Soviet attack, that the Kremlin will accommodate itself to these conditions, gradually withdraw, and eventually change its policies drastically.

  1. The documents under reference, preliminary drafts in the preparation of NSC 68, April 14 (p. 234), are described in Under Secretary Webb’s memorandum of March 30 and footnotes 2 and 3 thereto, p. 210.
  2. For text of NSC 20/4, a report to the President by the National Security Council on U.S. Objectives With Respect to the U.S.S.R. to Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. Security, November 23, 1948, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 662.
  3. President of the Carnegie Institution of Washington; Director of the Office of Scientific, Research and Development during World: War II.
  4. Administrator for Economic Cooperation.