740.5 MAP/1–350

The Secretary of State to the President


Memorandum for the President

Subject: Strategic concept for the integrated defense of the North Atlantic Area.

The strategic concept of the integrated defense of the North Atlantic area2 which was approved by the North Atlantic Defense Committee on December first is to be considered by the North Atlantic Council on January sixth. This strategic concept, as approved by the Defense Committee, has been transmitted to you by Secretary Johnson3 together with his statement that it meets with his approval and with that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The first drafts of this paper were prepared in the Department of Defense and concurred in by the Department of State. Subsequently, the paper received the consideration and approval of all the North Atlantic Treaty members. Various amendments resulted from this process, but there were no major substantive changes made in the version as originally drafted by the United States.

I believe that this document represents the first major achievement under the North Atlantic Treaty. That these twelve nations could agree on a common basis for defense would have scarcely seemed possible a relatively short time ago and is a most encouraging indication of the growing spirit of cooperation among the North Atlantic Treaty members.

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As you know, Public Law 329, The Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949,4 provides that military assistance furnished by the United States to members of the North Atlantic Treaty shall be subject to agreements designed to assure that such assistance will be used “to promote an integrated defense of the North Atlantic Area and to facilitate the development of defense plans by the Council and the Defense Committee under Article 9 of the North Atlantic Treaty5 and to realize unified direction and effort; and after the agreement by the Government of the United States with defense plans as recommended by the Council and the Defense Committee, military assistance shall be furnished only in accordance therewith.”

Further, that the $1,000,000,000 authorized for North Atlantic Treaty nations, except for $100,000,000 immediately available, shall become available “when the President of the United States approves recommendations for an integrated defense of the North Atlantic area which may be made by the Council and the Defense Committee under the North Atlantic Treaty.” The law further specifies that “The President, prior to the furnishing of assistance to any eligible nation, conclude agreements with such nation, or group of such nations …6

I am satisfied that the concept does provide the basis for an integrated defense of the North Atlantic area and that it fulfills the requirements of Public Law 329 in that it contains agreement on the essentials of a pattern of area defense based on individual national specialization, and on the assignments made thereunder, and that it contains agreement that military assistance is not to be used to develop separate and unrelated defenses. While the concept does provide the basis for integrated defense, it will, of course, have to be supplemented by additional and more detailed guidance to the different regional groups on their missions in an integrated over-all defense plan. The Standing Group of the Military Committee is at present drawing up such guidance. Implementation of planning for integrated defense is also proceeding on collateral lines as evidenced by the agreement of the Military Production and Supply Board on a concept for providing the production and supply of munitions under the North Atlantic [Page 3] Treaty. This paper7 has been approved by the Defense Committee and is on the agenda of the Council for the January sixth meeting.

I shall transmit the recommendations for integrated defense to you as soon as they have been approved by the Council. I understand that Secretary Johnson has recommended that you approve them and I intend to concur in his recommendation as soon as the Council has taken action.8

The other items on the Agenda for the Council meeting are of lesser importance and require no action on your part.

Dean Acheson
  1. For text of this report dated December 1, 1949, see ibid., p. 353.
  2. Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson.
  3. For text of this Act, approved by President Truman October 6, 1949, see Department of State Bulletin, October 24, 1949, pp. 604–608, or 63 Stat. 714. For a comprehensive account of the central and field organization of the MDAP, and the operation of the program from its inception October 6, 1949, to April 6, 1950, see House Document No. 613, 81st Cong., 2d session. Also, see organizational chart of the MDAP, dated June 14, 1950, facing p. 128.
  4. For text, signed April 4, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iv, p. 281, or Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 1964, or 63 Stat. 2241.
  5. Ellipses appear in the source text.
  6. “A Concept for Providing the Production and Supply of Munitions under the North Atlantic Treaty,” November 15, 1949, not printed. A copy of this paper is in Department of State file no. 740.5 MAP/1–1050.
  7. Secretary of State Acheson, in a memorandum of January 10, not printed, informed President Truman that the North Atlantic Council had approved the recommendations on January 6, and he recommended that the President do the same (740.5/1–1050).