740.5 MAP/1–350

Memorandum by the Director of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program (Bruce) to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

As you are aware, the Mutual Defense Assistance Program was developed by the FACC, consisting of representatives of the Secretaries of Defense and State and the Administrator, ECA, pursuant to basic policy established by Presidential approval of NSC 14/1.2 This program was developed, and has been presented to and approved by the President and the Congress, on the basis of a global survey of requirements for military assistance and the allocation of resources, available for such assistance among those nations and in those quantities best designed to promote our national interest.

Under these circumstances, it is essential to point out that in the absence of new legislation, and frequently regardless thereof, the [Page 4] provision of military assistance to countries not included in the Mutual Defense Assistance Act, or on a larger scale than that envisaged in the MDA program, can not be accomplished without either of two results: (a) at the expense of the programs authorized by the President and the Congress as essential to U.S. interests, or (b) by a further depletion of U.S. military stocks, stocks which are already being lowered to the minimum level compatible with security in order to meet the MDA program originally authorized.

In spite of these considerations, NSC decisions have now been taken with respect to Korea (NSC 8/2), Austria (NSC 38/4), Yugoslavia (NSC 18/4) and Asia (NSC 48/2)3 which contemplate the provision of assistance which has not been provided for in MDAP. From the record available to us, it does not appear in any of these cases that there was either inquiry made, or consideration given, to the cost or other consequences of such assistance, either in terms of its effect upon MDAP or the military stock position of the Department of Defense. In the case of Austria, for example, it is estimated that the utilization of military stocks earmarked for MDAP, which is the only feasible method suggested for implementing NSC 38/4, will have most serious consequences in materially reducing the volume of deliveries to North Atlantic Pact countries which can be made this year. The concern with which we view this prospect is exceeded only by our doubt as to whether this result was in fact made known to, and considered by, the NSC in arriving at the conclusions expressed in NSC 38/4. The exact ramifications of implementing this particular decision are being vigorously explored through the FACC and are being communicated to you separately.4 To forestall any possibility that comparable future situations may be considered in a vacuum, we recommend that an effort be made to defer NSC consideration of any new proposals which envisage the provision of military assistance beyond the terms of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program until such proposals can be evaluated by the FACC in terms of their relative value to the United States as compared to other demands upon the limited resources available for such purposes, and a recommendation based thereon can be made to the National Security Council. In other words, FACC would be used by NSC as a subcommittee whenever proposals for military assistance were under consideration. Such a procedure

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would provide the National Security Council with information essential to an intelligent judgment on the proposal.

I urge that you advance this recommendation at an early NSC meeting and seek the formal approval thereof.

James Bruce
  1. James Bruce also addressed this memorandum to Under Secretary of State James E. Webb and Deputy Under Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
  2. “The Position of the United States with Respect to Providing Military Assistance to Nations of the Non-Soviet World,” July 1, 1948, approved as governmental policy on July 10 and implemented by enactment on October 6, 1948, of Public Law 329. 81st Congress—the Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949, and by Public Law 430, which made appropriations authorized by the enabling act. NSC 14/1 is printed in Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 585. A progress report on its implementation, dated March 31, 1950, is in the S/S–NSC Files, Lot 63 D 351, NSC 14 Series. Lot 63 D 351 is a serial master file of National Security Council documents and correspondence and related Department of State memoranda for the years 1947–1961, as maintained by the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State.
  3. The texts of these four NSC papers, dated March 22, November 17, November 17, and December 30, 1949, respectively, are in Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vii, Part 2, p. 969; ibid., vol. iii, p. 1190; not printed; and in ibid., vol. vii, Part 2, p. 1215.
  4. Memorandum entitled “Equipping the Austrian Armed Forces,” January 3, 1950, James Bruce to the Secretary and Under Secretary of State, not printed (740.5 MAP/1–350).