Learn about the beta


The Secretary of Defense (Marshall)1 to the Secretary of State


Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to your letter of 24 July2 in which you outlined certain proposed procedures and principles for handling offers of assistance for use in Korea.

[Page 775]

The processing of offers received in the Unified Command has been conducted in accordance with the procedure you described. More recently, representatives of our respective departments have agreed to a formal and slightly more detailed version of this procedure (a copy of which is attached) which will guide future processing of offers of military assistance for use in Korea.

Regarding the acceptance of military offers of assistance, it is the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which I concur, that acceptance does not necessarily carry with it an intent to commit forces in the combat theater. As you mentioned in your letter, a modification of the actual offer into usable form may result or, alternatively, the reply to the offer, when appropriate, may be expressed in such terms as to discourage activation or to preclude utilization of the forces offered until such time as they may be required. Regardless of the military value of an offer, however, the United States should manifest evidence of its constant interest in the offer.

In many cases, the Services have participated in the preliminary discussion and development of details as to the technical considerations of such offers prior to their submission to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This has been found to be a desirable practice. Such screening and technical guidance by the Services assists the Joint Chiefs of Staff in their decisions on the utilization of assistance offered.

As regards specifically the policy set forth in your letter, the Joint Chiefs, with whom I agree, are of the opinion that it should be enlarged to include the following:

In any conversation between U.S. representatives and those of any contributing nation, stress should be laid on the fact that General MacArthur has requested that military forces should come immediately and that organizations now in being should be dispatched if they are to be of material utility. U.S. representatives should also point out that all offers of military assistance should conform as far as practicable with the general criteria of useful military assistance (forwarded to you by letter dated 26 July 1950).3
When offers are incapable of meeting the general criteria, a full statement of the aspects of the offer should be recorded in order that a review may be made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as to the practicability of utilization based on possible United States contributions of equipment and aid in organization and training.

In the sixth paragraph of your letter, wherein unilateral action on the part of the United States Government is envisaged, it is not believed desirable to commit ourselves to actual employment of military forces “in the combat area”. Accordingly, it is believed that this phrase should be omitted from the policy outlined in your letter.

Sincerely yours,

G. Marshall
[Page 776]

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Mission at the United Nations

Extract From Department of the Army CM IN 11446

NR. 257

“A. Military Assistance.

  • “1. Offers of military assistance from member govts will be transmitted to the SYG of the UN who, in turn, will transmit the offers to the Unified Command (USG), through the US Mission to the UN. Requests from the Unified Command (USG) for additional effective assistance in Korea may be transmitted to SYG for communication to the permanent delegations of the member govts.
  • “2. Upon receipt of the offer the Unified Command (USG) will enter into direct negotiations with the member govts concerned regarding details of the offer and its utilization or in respect to other effective assistance which the member govt might be in a position to provide.
  • “3. Upon completion of direct negotiations the Unified Command (USG) will inform the SYG of their results. The SYG will transmit this info to the delegation of the member govt concerned and, in consultation with the Unified Command (USG) and the delegation concerned, will release this info to the press.”
  1. George C. Marshall assumed office on September 21, succeeding Louis Johnson who resigned effective September 19.
  2. The text of this letter is contained in the circular telegram dated July 24, 5 a. m., p. 457.
  3. See footnote 2 to the letter from Burns to Matthews dated July 27, p. 482.