S/PNSC Files: Lot 61 D 167: NSC 78 Series

Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense ( Johnson )1

top secret

Subject: United States Waterway and Port Control of Shipping from Soviet and Satellite Ports.

1.
On 8 August 1950, as a matter of priority, you requested the views and comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding NSC–78, a report to the National Security Council by the Executive Secretary on port security.
2.
On 9 August 1950 the Joint Chiefs of Staff forwarded to you a memorandum2 and an enclosed study concerning the same subject. This was prepared prior to receipt of your memorandum of 8 August 1950.
3.
The following is in answer to your memorandum of 8 August 19503 and sets forth the points of difference between NSC–78 and the Joint Chiefs memorandum of 9 August 1950 and makes recommendations regarding those differences.
4.
The papers are in basic agreement; both restrict Soviet and Satellite shipping to one port on each coast, i.e., Portland, Maine, Bellingham, Washington.
5.
NSC–78 does not restrict ships of registry other than Soviet and Satellite which may arrive in United States ports from Soviet or Satellite ports. It recommends that such shipping be subjected to certain security measures before being allowed entry to our port areas. Although the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended that all ships, regardless of registry, arriving from Soviet or Satellite ports should be restricted to the ports mentioned above, they now consider that the NSC–78 view is acceptable for the present.
6.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff included Finland in the list of countries considered under Soviet control in a questionable status. NSC–78 does not list Finland, but states that it is being studied by the Department of State. The USSR is capable of subjecting Finnish ships to its control for whatever purpose it desires. Therefore, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that these ships be restricted as are actual Satellite ships or at least be rigorously inspected before being allowed access to our ports or waterways.
7.
Other countries considered under Soviet control in the study forwarded to you with memorandum dated 9 August 1950, but not listed in NSC–78, are Eastern Germany, East Austria, Outer Mongolia, and North Korea. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that these countries should be so considered.
8.
Both papers agree that Soviet and Satellite shipping and ships arriving from Soviet and Satellite ports should be subjected to security measures before being allowed access to the Panama Canal. NSC–78 further states that the Secretary of the Army should make recommendations concerning actual denial of the use of the Canal to such shipping. The Joint Chiefs of Staff concur.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Omar N. Bradley

Chairman
Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. This memorandum was circulated to the National Security Council under cover of a memorandum of August 11 by Council Executive Secretary Lay, not printed, which explained that this memorandum was read by Secretary of Defense Johnson at the Council meeting of August 10 in connection with the consideration of NSC 78. The Report circulated as NSC 78 is printed on p. 41; regarding the Council meeting of August 10, see footnote 1 thereto.
  2. Supra.
  3. Not printed.