CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 149: May FM Meeting B Series

Paper Prepared in the Bureau of European Affairs


FM D B–20c1

Fundamental Common Objectives

Our fundamental common objective can be stated in many ways but in simple terms it is to achieve the kind of world in which freedom can endure, a world in which all men are assured the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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A review of the current world situation and of Soviet intentions and capabilities indicates that: (1) the Soviet leaders consider themselves engaged in an irreconcilable struggle against all non-Communist countries, (2) their basic strategy is to exert constant pressure wherever non-Communist capacity or will to resist is limited, and (3) the free world contains many weak spots against which the Kremlin is exerting heavy pressure but which the West cannot afford to lose.

Faced with this situation it is essential for the West, and primarily for France, the UK and the US as the three powers with major worldwide responsibilities, if they are to attain their fundamental objective or even to survive, to do two things:

To prevent extension of Soviet-Communist domination over additional areas of the free world by armed aggression, indirect aggression or subversion.
To regain and retain the psychological initiative in order to bring about the eventual defeat of Soviet-Communist aims by moral rather than armed force.

To accomplish these two things it is necessary to do most urgently what we should be doing in any event—to press forward vigorously with the positive and constructive development of the free world. In Mr. Bevin’s words, Western civilization can be saved only “by such a mobilization of moral and material force as will inspire confidence and energy within and respect elsewhere.” Such a mobilization must be accelerated if we are to prevent further, and possibly disastrous losses; to bring about Soviet recognition of the need to reach a mutually satisfactory modus vivendi with the free world, and eventually to render Soviet-Communism harmless.

This mobilization will require giving concrete reality to essential unity of purpose and action, dynamic faith in the free way of life, courage and hope. More specifically, it will require the establishment of appropriate means adequate to:

Build the economic strength necessary to support the requisite increased defense effort and at the same time to permit normal improvement in standards of living. This in turn will involve wherever possible: (a) coordinated policy and concerted action, (b) subordination of economic nationalism to overriding common interest, (c) possible reallocation of priorities of effort, (d) increased productivity, (e) developing wherever possible freer trade and investment, convertibility of currencies and more effective use of available manpower, and (f) finding and making the economic adjustments necessary to build the requisite economic strength through normal economic means and mutual aid without the need for extraordinary financial assistance.
Build faith in freedom into a dynamic force, rather than something taken for granted; increase public understanding of nature, methods of danger of the forces by which it is threatened.
Review continuously problems of common concern, formulate coordinated policies and execute them by concerted action.

France, the UK and the US have primary responsibility for leadership in these fields but the active participation of other Parties to the NAT and other members of the Commonwealth and the cooperation of other free nations and dependent peoples is essential. Each must have adequate opportunity to participate in the formulation and execution of policies of direct concern to them, utilizing all available agencies, including those of the NAT, the Commonwealth and the UN. It is particularly important to insure that the peoples of Germany, Southeast Asia, the Near East and Africa be convinced that their legitimate aspirations for greater freedom and a higher standard of living can best be realized under the free way of life and in cooperation with France, the UK, and the US.

It is also important to maintain a vigorous united front with respect to the USSR and its satellites, to advance, in any dealings with the USSR, just and sound positions which the USSR can neither reject nor accept without some benefit to the free world, and to penetrate the Iron Curtain by all practicable means with true factual information so as to expose the peoples of the Soviet Union and the satellites to the truth regarding the character and intentions of the US and the free world and to stimulate and encourage the growth of the desire for freedom among the peoples of the Soviet world.

  1. Three earlier drafts of this paper, FM D B–20, 20a, and 20b, dated April 4, 11, and 14, respectively, none printed, are more extensive and divide the objectives into basic, moral, political, military, and economic targets (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 149: May FM Meeting B Series). Two subsequent drafts, FM D B–20d and 20e, dated April 27 and May 4, respectively, neither printed, are also in the CFM Files. The former is the same as FM D B–20c except for minor textual changes, while the latter incorporates the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (FM D B–20/1, May 3, not printed) on FM D B–20b and FM D B–20d. (CFM Files, ibid.)