Memorandum by the Director of the Office of European Regional Affairs (Martin) to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins)

top secret

Subject: Possible Items for Discussion with Representatives of Joint Chiefs.

There are several areas in which there may be some disposition on the part of U.S. military representatives to have reservations with respect to full sharing with other NAT countries. The following have occurred to me:

It is emphasized in the Strategic Concept and Strategic Guidance papers1 that NATO numerical inferiority must be made up for by, among other things, advanced technology. How far are we prepared to go in sharing our technology with other NAT countries? Are we to permit European countries to standardize and construct facilities to produce equipment which we know to be inferior to equipment we now have? Are we to transfer under MDAP equipment inferior to that being used by U.S. forces?
Similar questions can be raised with respect to intelligence.
NATO planning in the Guidance paper is described as defensive and the instructions are confined to the defense of the NATO area. It is nevertheless stated that the objective, in case war should break out, is to defeat the enemy. Can the enemy be defeated by purely defensive operations? If not, why should not NATO planning encompass counter-offensive as well as defensive operations? Is it solely a matter of maintaining essential flexibility in planning?
As corollary to the preceding questions, in so far as counteroffensive operations may be envisaged, is it appropriate to confine NATO planning to operations within the area of the NAT countries? As a matter of fact, even with respect to defensive planning, lines outside the area of NAT countries are envisaged primarily east of territories now held by NAT countries in Europe. Must not counter offensive operations be considered from a global standpoint? The obligations of Article 5 of the treaty are to restore the security of the NAT countries. Can this be done if planning is confined to defensive measures and if no planning is to be done for operations outside the NATO area?
Again related to the preceding questions, the present concept seems to interpret NAT countries narrowly to exclude colonial areas and areas members of a common union such as Indonesia and the prospective situation of Vietnam. From the standpoint of the integrity and future well-being of NAT countries as well as from the standpoint of counter offensive operations, why should not consideration be given, as part of NATO planning and of expenditures under the treaty, to the defense of bases around the world in such areas and essential to their defense.
Again related to the preceding point, the problems of clef ending the NAT area and the shipping requirements for their defense, both agreed assignments, will be affected by the extent to which other areas from which important resources are secured will be available and transportation routes to them open. Isn’t it a narrow conception of the defense of the NATO area not to include such essential supporting areas as Middle East oil, African copper, manganese, uranium, etc. The necessity for this has already been recognized by Western Union and planning is going forward for the defense of areas outside the Western Union itself. Why should not the same be done in NATO? How do we propose to concert with countries having jurisdiction over them the defense of such areas including mutual contributions to required forces.
It is presumably possible to estimate the number of divisions and air groups required to defend NATO territory. It is not possible to determine what contribution the European countries should make until it can be known what contribution the U.S., also a member of the NATO, is prepared to make. Until this is known it may be impossible to determine whether an effective defense line can be established. It is not only necessary to know how many but also how soon U.S. forces can be available. The longer a line must be held without assistance, the more troops and reserves will be required. Again it may make the difference as to whether defense against all-out attack is or is not feasible with available economic resources. How far are we prepared [Page 7] to go in matching the other members of the Pact by making planning commitments of this character?
With respect to all the European countries with overseas territories which they must defend, or with overseas investments in critical resources which they feel required to defend In order to be able to continue to wage war, it is impossible for them to commit forces for the defense of the NATO area until they know the extent to which their forces may be required to defend areas outside NATO. This again is a decision which they can hardly make without knowing the extent to which the U.S. values these colonies or resources in time of war sufficiently to assist in their defense. This is a matter which has already arisen as to the British, who are extremely reluctant to make any commitments on Western Union defense in the absence of any knowledge of what help they can expect from us in such areas as the Middle East.
How long dare we postpone an attack on the intricate problems of theatre and command organization, an issue with which Western Union has struggled for nearly two years without fully resolving?
How do we handle the problems raised by the fact that on the quiet we are sharing military plans rather fully with UK, but in NATO, both in military matters, and even more in production and financial matters, treat her like all the rest, a situation which they have made clear they find unpleasant.

I don’t mean to suggest that reserve on any of the above questions on the part of U.S. representatives is not justified. Rather the situation, as I see it, is one in which there will always be a fundamental hard core with respect to which, in view of our global responsibility and our leadership politically, militarily and technically, we shall have to reserve. Rather it is a question of going as far as we can to be full members and giving a well thought-out direct answer in those cases in which we must hold back.

  1. The Strategic Guidance paper is not found in Department of State files. It concerned regional defense planning.