PPS Files, Lot 64 D 563 1

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Ferguson)

top secret

Subject: State–JCS Discussions

Participants: Rear Admiral Edmund Wooldridge, USN
Frank Nash
Mr. Paul H. Nitze, S/P
Mr. John Ferguson, S/P

It was intended that this meeting would continue the discussion between the same group on March 1, but it was not possible to carry the discussion much further.

Reference was made to the military estimates of armed strength in the Soviet orbit and in NATO, and the suggestion was made that it might be possible to present this matter in terms of ground and air forces on the continent of Europe (possibly including the U.K.) and west of the Urals, and Mr. Ferguson is undertaking to prepare such tables.

The question of reciprocal limitations of armaments in Europe was raised again but there was little additional comment from the defense representatives. Admiral Wooldridge did say that he thought so long as a large aggregation of Soviet forces remained available in Russia, limitations on other forces in Europe would not accomplish much. Mr. Nitze pointed out that the question was whether or not, granting the limited desirability of any such proposal for limitation, it would be possible to secure some improvement of the situation during the period before adequate defenses were built in Western Europe.

Mr. Nash said that with respect to the coming CFM it would certainly be essential to have some proposals ready and that it was his view that it would be impossible to secure governmental clearance with respect to a detailed program looking beyond a census and verification. He felt that the most that could be accomplished was to consider the possibility of including atomic weapons in the census and perhaps indicating in very general terms the steps we would propose after a census was completed. Admiral Wooldridge thought that the question of including atomic weapons in the census would require rather prolonged consideration by the Joint Chiefs and their Staff. It was agreed that it would be desirable to raise this matter at the next State–JCS meeting.

  1. Files of the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State, 1947–1953.