Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951, National Security Affairs; Foreign Economic Policy, Volume I
Report to the National Security Council “by the Secretaries of State and Defense
Formulation of a United States Position With Respect to the Regulation, Limitation and Balanced Reduction of Armed Forces and Armaments
Note by the Executive Secretary
|References:||A. NSC 792|
|B. Senior NSC Staff Project, “Conditions for a Peaceful Settlement With the USSR”, listed in the current NSC Status of Projects3|
The enclosed memorandum by the Secretaries of State and Defense and its attached report on the subject, prepared pursuant to Reference B by a State-Defense working group as part of the NSC 79 project, are submitted herewith at their request for consideration by the National Security Council and will be scheduled on the agenda of an early Council meeting.
Attention is invited to the fact that the enclosure recommends that:
- The basic principles contained in paragraph 6, Part V and the “Conclusions” contained in paragraph 7, Part VI of the attached report, be approved as the basis for the development of detailed United States positions for use in any negotiations which may be undertaken in connection with a proposal for a system of regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armaments and armed forces; and
- In the event of the approval of the enclosure as recommended above, an interdepartmental group, representing appropriate departments and agencies, be established to develop such detailed United States positions.
Accordingly, it is recommended that, if the above recommendations are adopted, the enclosed report be submitted to the President for consideration with the recommendation that he approve the above [Page 478]recommendations and direct their implementation by all appropriate executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government under the coordination of the Secretary of State.4
Memorandum by the Secretaries of State and Defense to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)
Subject: Report to the National Security Council on the Formulation of a United States Position with Respect to the Regulation, Limitation and Balanced Reduction of Armed Forces and Armaments.
There is forwarded herewith a report on the “Formulation of a United States Position with Respect to the Regulation, Limitation and Balanced Reduction of Armed Forces and Armaments”. This report was prepared by a State-Defense working group, and has received the approval of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It is requested that this report be submitted for early consideration by the National Security Council. It is essential that the United States Government come to a formulation of its policy for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments, including disclosure and verification of such armed forces and armaments, for two reasons:
- As a result of the President’s address to the United Nations on October 24, 1950, the United Nations is at work putting together its Commission on Conventional Armaments and its Commission on Atomic Energy. At the next session of the General Assembly this subject will inevitably be an active one and it is important that the United States should maintain its leadership and initiative. In this connection we must also expect either that the U.S.S.R. may put forward some disarmament proposals for which we should be prepared, or that groups in Congress, now active, may advance proposals.
- It may well be desirable, possibly before the next session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and possibly in connection with other proposals for the solution of East-West problems in Europe and Asia, as contemplated in that part of the NSC 79 project dealing with the development of conditions for a peaceful settlement with the USSR, for the United States publicly to put forward proposals relating to the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments.
Therefore it is deemed important that the National Security Council give this matter urgent study. The attached report is submitted as a basis on which the United States can formulate its policy and prepare proposals.
In the event of approval by the National Security Council of this report as a basis for such proposals, it is recommended that an interdepartmental group, representing appropriate departments and agencies of the Government, be established to develop detailed United States positions for use in any negotiations which may be undertaken pursuant to the proposals.
Report of the State-Joint Chiefs of Staff Working Group on the Formulation of a Basis for U.S. Positions To Be Taken Vis-a-Vis U.S.S.R.
i. the problem
1. Under its terms of reference, the State-Joint Chiefs of Staff Working Group was directed to study two problems: (1) a basis for the U.S. position on the matter of disclosure and verification of armed forces and armaments, including the criteria for verification which the U.S. would require and permit; (2) the manner in which the existing level of armed forces and armaments can best be presented in its relation to the causes of international tensions in Europe.
2. The purpose of this study is the establishment of a foundation upon which positions may be built which would, if accepted by the Soviet Union, be acceptable to the U.S. or, if rejected by the Soviet Union, be advantageous to the U.S. and the Western Powers for their propaganda value. The urgency of establishing such a foundation arises in large measure as a result of the meetings now being held in Paris preliminary to a possible Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of the U.S., USSR, U.K. and France.
iii. nature of the report
3. The study of the Working Group is contained in two papers attached hereto as Annexes “A” and “B”. Annex “A” deals with the problem of disclosure and verification of armed forces and armaments and Annex “B” deals with the presentation of material relating to the existing level of armed forces and armaments in relation to the causes of international tensions in Europe.[Page 480]
iv. the working group and its consultation with other agencies
4. At the State–Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting of 15 March 1951, it was agreed that a Working Group from the Department of State and from the Joint Chiefs of Staff Organization would be directed to study the problems described above and to report to the State-Joint Chiefs of Staff conferees on these matters. In addition to the four members originally designated, the Working Group invited Mr. Frank Nash of the Office of the Secretary of Defense to participate in the study, and he has attended most of the meetings. Mr. Nash is also the U.S. Representative on the U.N. Commission on Conventional Armaments, and has a broad knowledge of the field under study.
5. As authorized by its terms of reference, the Working Group has consulted with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and through the latter with the intelligence branches of the various departments and agencies which participate in the work of the CIA. Consultation with the AEC was arranged through Mr. LeBaron5 and the Military Liaison Committee and the Working Group had assistance from Brigadier General Herbert B. Loper6 and Brigadier General Alvin R. Luedecke7 in this matter. Consultation with the CIA was arranged through Mr. Paul H. Nitze and the Working Group was able to discuss the problem at length with various CIA officials. Material secured as a result of such consultations is on file in the Department of State and in the Joint Chiefs of Staff Secretariat.
v. basic principles with respect to the regulation of armaments and armed forces
6. In their approach to the problem, the Working Group recognized that a system of disclosure and verification is but one facet of the larger problem of the regulation of armaments and armed forces. The Working Group agreed to the following principles as essential to the establishment of a basis for the development of United States positions on the matter:
- In the light of the present world situation the security interests of the United States demand that the first step in the field of regulation of armaments and armed forces be achievement of international agreement on at least the general principles involved;
- International control of atomic energy is inseparably related to international regulation of armed forces and all other forms of armaments; and
- The international control of atomic energy must be based on the United Nations Plan8 or some no less effective plan.
7. Subject to the acceptance of the basic principles outlined in Section V, above, the Working Group has concluded that:
- A system of disclosure and verification of armed forces and armaments logically would be the first step in the implementation of an agreed international program for the regulation, limitation, and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments;
- The system of disclosure and verification must be on a continuing basis;
- Disclosure and verification should be applicable to all armaments, including atomic, and all types of armed forces including paramilitary, security, and police forces;
- To protect the security interests of the U.S., disclosure and verification should be carried out stage by stage, with appropriate provisions for proceeding to the next stage only when previous stages have been satisfactorily concluded;
- To protect the security interests of the U.S., disclosure and
verification should begin with the relatively less sensitive
information and proceed to the information which is more
- With respect to atomic energy, the phasing might start first with raw materials, proceed to processing plants and facilities for producing fissionable materials and finally include weapons and weapon fabrication facilities;
- With respect to armed forces and other weapons, the phasing should probably begin with a count of police, security, and paramilitary forces (including their reserve components) together with the types and amounts of their materiel in service and in reserve, and proceed to inspection of regular army, navy, and air forces together with the types and amounts of their materiel in service and reserve;
- A program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments (including international control of atomic energy), of which disclosure and verification would be a step, could not depend in the foreseeable future on the existence of an international force separate and apart from national armed forces, and therefore should not involve the balanced reduction of existing armed forces and armaments to the level which the mere maintenance of internal security would require;
- Under a program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments (including international control of atomic energy), the United States must under present world conditions rely on the willingness of the participating nations to continue [Page 482]the plan or on the capability and willingness of the United States and states cooperating with it to deal with violations if any occur;
- Because of the complexity of the matter and since no empirical formula has yet been devised for the determination of national armed forces to which nations will agree, it probably will be necessary, prior to the implementation of any part of the program which has to do with the actual regulation, limitation or reduction of armed forces or armaments, to develop the precise nature of the program and to reach agreement regarding the program by detailed negotiations;
- A program should call for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments to a level which would decrease substantially the possibility of a successful initial aggression and thereby increase the chances that armed aggression would not be resorted to in furtherance of national objectives;
- If armed force can be so limited that resort to its use as an instrument of national policy would be much less likely, the conflict between the intentions of the West and the Soviet orbit might be resolved through other means;
- A program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments should be open for adherence to all states and initially it must include those states whose military resources are so substantial that their absence from the program would endanger it. In any event, the Soviet European satellites and Communist China must be included;
- A program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments would have to provide for the administration of adequate safeguards by competent international authority with appropriate status, rights and powers;
- A proposal for an international system of phased disclosure and verification of all armed forces and armaments, including atomic, as the first step in implementation of a program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments (including international control of atomic energy), with adequate safeguards, would be advantageous to the United States if accepted by the USSR and would be advantageous to the United States for its propaganda value even if rejected by the USSR;
- Data on existing levels of armed forces and armaments can be presented to indicate the relation of such levels of armed forces and armaments to the causes of international tensions in Europe.
8. It is the recommendation of the Working Group that:
- This study be forwarded by the Department of State–Joint Chiefs of Staff Conferees, through appropriate channels, to the National Security Council for consideration as the basis for the development of a United States position on regulation, limitation and balanced reduction [Page 483]of armed forces and armaments, including disclosure and verification of military forces; and for the manner of presentation of the level of armaments in its relation to causes of existing international tensions in Europe; and
- The Department of State-Joint Chiefs of Staff Conferees recommend to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, respectively, that in the event of approval of this study an interdepartmental group, representing appropriate departments and agencies of the Government, be established to develop detailed United States positions for use in any negotiations which may be undertaken in connection with a proposal for a system of regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armaments and armed forces.
The Question of Disclosure and Verification of Armed Forces and Armaments and the Formulation of a Basis for U.S. Positions To Be Taken Vis-a-Vis U.S.S.R.
1. The discussions at the preliminary conference of deputies in Paris convened to arrive at an agreed agenda for a Four Power Foreign Ministers Conference point up the need for a development of U.S. positions on a number of outstanding issues. These issues include such specific political questions as Germany and Austria as well as the general causes of tension in Europe. The excessive size of the armed forces of the Soviet Union and its satellites is symptomatic of these tensions. The wide range of these issues indicates that the U.S. will be confronted with the necessity of developing broad proposals with respect to armed forces and armaments in order to assist in the possible settlement of specific political issues.
2. The object of this Annex is to establish a basis for the U.S. position on the matter of disclosure and verification of armed forces and armaments, including the criteria for verification which the U.S. would require and permit.
3. The purpose of this Annex is the establishment of a foundation upon which positions may be built which would, if accepted by the Soviets, be acceptable to the U.S., or if rejected by the Soviets, be advantageous to the U.S. and the Western Powers for their propaganda value.
iv. facts bearing on the problem
4. This Government has formally supported proposals for a “onetime” census and verification of armed forces and conventional armaments. [Page 484]The U.N. resolution embodying such proposals treated census and verification as necessary first steps toward regulation, limitation and reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments. This resolution, however, was vetoed in the Security Council by the U.S.S.R.9
5. While the U.S. has not advanced specific proposals for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments, the President reaffirmed this Government’s support of this general principle in his address to the General Assembly of the U.N. on 24 October 1950.
6. This Government has advanced and supported in the U.N. specific proposals for the international control and regulation of atomic energy which, when fully implemented, would make effective the elimination of atomic weapons from national armaments. These proposals were embodied in what has come to be known as the U.N. Plan. This Plan, though vetoed by the U.S.S.R. in the Security Council, was approved by an overwhelming majority of the members of the United Nations.10
v. aspects of the problem of inspection and verification
7. The proposals formulated by the U.S. and introduced in the U.N. relating to census and verification of conventional armaments and armed forces contemplated reports by each participating nation as of an agreed date. Such reports were to cover (a) the regular armed forces, military and para-military forces subject to national control, such as border guards, internal security forces, militia and gendarmerie, as well as reserve components of those forces in organized groups; and (b) categories of matériel, in service and in reserve, necessary to provide adequate knowledge of the existing level of conventional armaments. Materiel in the research or development stage was specifically excluded. Such proposals indicated that the problem was essentially one of disclosure and inspection to verify the disclosure. The Working Group believes that the term “census” is misleading unless it is understood to mean disclosure and a system of inspection to verify such disclosure.
8. It is the view of the Working Group that disclosure of the size and nature of armed forces and armaments as of a particular date on [Page 485]a “one-time” basis and the subsequent verification of such disclosure would, in the light of the present world situation, no longer be meaningful unless it were undertaken as a step in a program of international regulation of armed forces and armaments. Such a program, if approved, would provide substantive measures to reduce tensions and increase stability in the world. The relationship between disclosure and regulation was recognized in the U.N. resolution in which disclosure and verification were linked with the regulation of armaments.
9. If the question of inspection to verify disclosure is considered as the first step in the implementation of a program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments, it becomes apparent that the mere disclosure of the level and nature of armed strength on a particular date is inadequate. The system of disclosure and verification by a competent international authority must be on a continuing basis. In fact, a continuing system of disclosure and verification will be necessary in order to provide a body of information for use in the prolonged negotiations that will be required to complete the details of a plan after agreement on the principles for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments has been reached. The Working Group feels strongly that, in present circumstances, such a system of disclosure and verification should not be undertaken except in this context.
vi. the relevance of inspection and verification to broad proposals for the reduction of tensions
10. The U.S. is handicapped in negotiating with the U.S.S.R. by the disparity of armed forces and armaments in Europe. If the U.S. is in a position to make proposals with respect to regulation, limitation, and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments, in which the initiation of a continuing system of inspection to verify disclosure is the necessary first step, then the U.S. could make concurrent proposals for acceptable solutions to such outstanding political problems as Germany and Austria. The proposals for specific political settlements would be conditioned upon agreement to such a plan for the regulation, limitation, and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments.
vii. the nature of a system of disclosure, inspection and verification which would be acceptable to the u.s.
11. Extent of the Disclosure. The proposals already formulated in the U.N. provide for the extent of the disclosure of armed forces, including para-military and security forces, and the conventional armaments of such forces. There remain the questions of including police in the forces to be disclosed and of extending the disclosure to include atomic and [Page 486]other weapons which have not been previously included under the existing U.N. proposals.
12. It is the view of the Working Group that police forces should be included in the disclosure and verification. The existing proposals supported by the U.S. in the United Nations already cover para-military forces subject to national control, such as border guards, internal security forces, militia and gendarmerie as well as reserve components of those forces in organized groups. Because of the nature of the Soviet system, police forces of all kinds must be regarded as part of its military forces and will have to be included in a system of disclosure and inspection, since it will be almost impossible to distinguish between police and the categories already covered in the U.N. proposals. The U.S. will suffer no disadvantage from the disclosure of its police forces even down to the municipal level, while the information which would be gained and disclosed about the police system in the U.S.S.R. would be of great value in exposing the forces required to perpetuate the Soviet system. Such a disclosure would in itself be a major alteration in the Soviet system.
14. The AEC has advised the Working Group that the U.N. Plan is the best plan yet developed for the regulation and control of atomic energy. Apart from a plan for regulation and control, however, the AEC believes that a system of disclosure and verification, “if it included rights of inspection comparable with those of the United Nations plan for control of atomic energy and if it were carried out in stages, could work to the advantage of the U.S.” The Commission has also advised the Working Group that “if the census and verification were to be the first steps toward eventual control of atomic energy, it would be in our interest to have a system of inspection provide as high a degree of accuracy as possible with respect to atomic facilities, present production rates and capacity, and existing stocks of fissionable material”, although there would be some advantage “to the U.S. from even incomplete information on important Russian production facilities.” With respect to research and development activities, the Commission advised that it would appear to be neither desirable nor feasible to include them.
15. The Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee . . . concluded that the U.S. should gain considerably from the inspection of mines, fissionable material production facilities and current weapon stockpile, but that as inspection becomes detailed, the U.S. would have [Page 487]little to gain and the U.S.S.R. would gain important information from the technical point of view. The Committee also concluded, as did the Commission, that it would be neither desirable nor feasible to include research and development activities in a system of disclosure and verification.
16. The Phasing of Disclosure and Verification. As indicated above, it would be dangerous to the security of the U.S. to undertake the disclosure of information concerning its armed forces and armaments, including atomic, and to engage in a system of inspection to verify such disclosure unless the disclosure and the verification were phased in such a way that the U.S. would be protected in the event of a serious violation or a collapse of the system. The Working Group believes that one of the important advantages from a phased and continuing system of disclosure and verification is the opportunity over a period of time to test the good faith of the parties. The mere agreement to enter into such a system would give no assurance that the Soviet Union would actually carry it out in full or at all; thus the insistence upon completing each step of a phase before proceeding to the next would provide the U.S. with a safeguard on the exchange of information. At the same time, it would provide a continuing check on Soviet intentions. The U.S. cannot afford to assume that the Soviet Union would continue to live up to the agreement through all of its stages, but as the various stages were reached and passed the U.S. would have reason to increase its confidence in continued good faith. If the Soviet Union agreed to such a system of disclosure and verification and began to carry it out, a fundamental alteration would have been achieved which might eventually lead to profound changes within the Soviet Union.
17. With specific reference to atomic energy, the Working Group was advised by the Atomic Energy Commission that an orderly procedure for staging the disclosure and verification would “start first with raw materials, proceed to processing plants and facilities for producing fissionable materials and finally, if everything had worked out satisfactorily up to that point, include weapons and weapon fabrication facilities.”
18. The Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee recommended that, from an intelligence point of view, disclosure and verification be carried out in a somewhat different sequence because of the assumed technological superiority of the U.S. program.
19. The variance in staging suggested by the AEC and the Joint Committee was based largely on the realization by the Joint Committee that bad faith might halt the system at any stage and it would therefore be desirable to avoid the disclosure of any information not now thought to be known by the Soviet Union while at the same time acquiring as much information as possible not now known to the U.S. [Page 488]The Working Group is not in a position to strike a balance between the advantages and disadvantages in the somewhat different staging suggested by the Atomic Energy Commission and the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee, but it does believe that the material submitted to the Working Group supports the view that a phased system of inspection of atomic energy programs is feasible.
20. Apart from the specific advice sought by the Working Group with respect to the inclusion of atomic energy, a number of general questions were submitted to the Central Intelligence Agency with respect to a system of disclosure and verification of armed forces and armaments, including atomic, to determine the accuracy that could be achieved and the protection which could be secured against bad faith in the course of implementing the system.
21. It was the view of the Central Intelligence Agency that the relative superiority of Soviet intelligence with respect to the armed forces and armaments of the U.S. is such that the U.S., in a phased system, would secure more valuable information than the U.S.S.R. in the initial phases, provided the U.S.S.R. were prevented from acquiring prematurely information intended to be withheld initially or not to be disclosed at all. It was the advice of the CIA that a system of disclosure and verification should include the Soviet satellites as well as the U.S.S.R. It was recommended that the system be so phased that in the initial phases the information disclosed by the U.S. should provide the U.S.S.R. with data which is largely known already or at least believed to be available to the U.S.S.R. The CIA has pointed out that the information already in the hands of the Soviet Union will permit them to pinpoint their inspection with far greater ease than will be possible for the U.S. Even where the U.S. has information which would assist it in an inspection, the source of the information may have to be protected and may present us with problems of utilizing the information in our possession. In general, the Central Intelligence Agency recommended that the phased disclosure should progress from generalized and less sensitive information to the detailed examination of processes and weapons, in short from quantitative to qualitative data, and that sensitive aspects of research and development in all fields, manufacturing processes and details of new weapons should be excluded entirely. Recognizing the difficulty of achieving in practice the desired results, the CIA pointed out that the difficulties, as well as the possibilities of surmounting them, will require extensive further study by the operating and intelligence agencies of the U.S. Government.
22. As a matter of tactics, and as evidence of U.S. good faith, together with its attendant value as propaganda, the Working Group feels that the U.S. should take the position that research and development [Page 489]should be included in the very last stage of an agreed system or systems of control and inspection undertaken to implement a program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armaments and armed forces. In any event, the United States must be convinced, on the basis of performance in all of the earlier stages, of the good faith and complete cooperation of the other signatories before any implementation of this stage is undertaken.
23. The Working Group suggests on the basis of present data that such a system should probably begin with a count of police, security and para-military forces (including their reserve components) together with the type and amounts of their materiel in service and in reserve, and proceed to inspection of regular army, navy and air forces together with the types and amounts of their materiel in service and reserve. The subsequent stages would involve the disclosure and verification of other more sensitive fields (such as research and development) covered by the agreement.
24. The Working Group did not secure detailed information concerning the disclosure and verification of biological and chemical warfare activities. It was advised, however, that it would be practically impossible to detect biological warfare activities by an inspection scheme. The Working Group therefore wishes to call attention to this preliminary judgment as indicating a problem that would require detailed study in the event any plan for disclosure and verification were to be actually negotiated.
25. The conclusions and recommendations of the Central Intelligence Agency confirm the view of the Working Group that prolonged negotiations will be required in order to arrive at the precise provisions for a system of disclosure and verification in order to assure the U.S. that disclosure and inspection in any one stage will not involve the disclosure of data intended to be held out until a later stage. These conclusions and recommendations also seem to support the view of the Working Group that a public proposal for disclosure and verification, including atomic energy, can be made, provided it includes a requirement for carefully phased implementation of the plan. The details do not need to be advanced when the proposal is made.
26. The Working Group agrees that further study will be required before the details of a phased system of disclosure and verification can be determined, and believes that additional working groups should be established, composed of technically competent representatives of the intelligence and operating agencies of the U.S. Government, to conduct the careful and extensive studies which will be required for the development of detailed positions for use in any negotiations which may be undertaken in connection with the proposal for a system of disclosure and verification.[Page 490]
vii, [viii.] net advantage to the u.s. in a system of inspection to verify disclosure
27. The Working Group concludes on the basis of its detailed analysis of the problem and the advice it has secured from the Atomic Energy Commission and the Central Intelligence Agency that, on balance, a system of disclosure and verification of armed forces and all armaments within the framework of a program for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction would work to the advantage of the U.S. provided: (a) agreement could be secured with respect to the rights of inspection and the authority and privilege of the inspectors adequate to insureaccuracy, and (b) agreement could be secured on a phased disclosure and verification which would withhold in the initial stages the most sensitive information intended to be disclosed only in the later stages and which, therefore, would be so devised that in the event of bad faith at any stage no serious harm would result to the U.S. upon the termination of the system. The Working Group concludes that, so long as these safeguards are explicitly stated in the principles included in any proposal for a system of disclosure and verification, the U.S. would be protected in the complex negotiations that would be required and in the application of the system itself. The Working Group does not believe that the difficulties of negotiation which will be encountered should prevent the U.S. from advancing a proposal for a continuing disclosure and verification of armed forces and armaments, including atomic energy, within the framework of a program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments. In the unlikely event that the U.S.S.R. should agree to negotiate such a system of disclosure and verification, the Working Group concludes that the U.S. could develop a detailed system acceptable to the U.S.
ix. the practical scope of a plan for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction
28. The Working Group does not believe that any plan for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armaments or the enforcement of such a plan should be developed on the assumption that there would be in existence an international force separate and apart from the national forces of the parties. The group believes it must be recognized that the existing system of sovereign states will continue for the foreseeable future and that in any plan devised the U.S. must rely, in the final analysis, on the willingness of the participating nations to continue the plan or on the capability and willingness of the U.S. and states cooperating with it to deal with violations if any occur.
x. the principles and elements of a plan for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments
29. The Development of a Plan. The Working Group believes that it will be impossible to complete the details of a plan for regulation, [Page 491]limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments in advance of initiating the inspection and verification of the armed strength of the participants. Any eventual complete plan will have to be negotiated over a long period of time. It is possible, however, to suggest the principles on which such negotiations could be conducted and to define a variety of elements and factors which would affect the provisions for regulation and limitation and balanced reduction.
30. The Soviet Union has advanced a proposal for a flat percentage reduction of existing armed forces. This proposal is wholly unacceptable because it would merely perpetuate the existing disparity in level of armaments and armed forces, and consequently would not bring about a reduction of the tensions which arise therefrom. In order to deal with the Soviet proposal, it will be necessary to secure public understanding of the complexity of the problem and to make clear that the Soviet proposal avoids the vital question of imbalance. The nature of the Soviet proposal makes it essential for the U.S. to speak in terms of a balanced reduction. In short, before any general limitation or reduction can be carried out by the West, the Soviet Union and its satellites will have to reduce their total armed strength until the level of armaments between East and West is more nearly equal or the West will have to bring the effectiveness of its armed strength up to the level of the East.
31. General Principles. The U.N. Commission for Conventional Armaments has developed a number of principles applicable to a system of regulation and limitation of armed forces and armaments, but inherent in these principles is the idea of utilizing an international force to assure compliance with the program of regulation and limitation. As the Working Group has indicated, it believes that, as a practical matter, the existence of sovereign states makes it necessary to devise a program which does not depend upon the use of an international force but which recognizes that the only response to a violation by one of the parties will be the action taken by one or more of the other parties.
32. The Working Group is firmly of the opinion that a plan for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction must be such as to give prompt warning of an actual violation or even a serious threat of violation so as to permit other nations to take adequate measures for their self-protection. The safeguards provided must enable nations to recognize the danger inherent in an actual or threatened violation so that they will have an opportunity to take appropriate measures, including an increase of their military strength to offset a similar increase on the part of the violator. No system for regulation and limitation of armaments can be wholly fool-proof. Accordingly, the U.S. must not be lulled into a false sense of security, and the national [Page 492]leadership must be determined and vigorous in order to meet the dangers which will exist if a violation occurs.
33. The foregoing analysis leads to the conclusion that we cannot expect an international force capable of assuring compliance with a program for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction to be available. Accordingly, the plan developed must not involve for the foreseeable future the balanced reduction of existing armaments to that level which the mere maintenance of internal security would require.
34. The following are the principles which the Working Group believes to be essential as the basis for the program of regulation, limitation and balanced reduction which it proposes:
- The program must be open for adherence to all states and initially it must include at least those states whose military resources are so substantial that their absence from the program would endanger it. In any case, participation could not be limited to the U.S., U.S.S.R., U.K. and France and still provide an adequate degree of national security;
- With respect to the control and regulation of atomic energy it would be necessary to secure agreement on the U.N. plan, or some no less effective plan;
- The limitation of armed forces and armaments must be carried out under an agreed system of regulation and inspection, and the implementation must be phased in such a manner that will protect the security of the participating states at each stage;
- It would be essential to secure agreement on necessary safeguards which would technically be feasible and practical. Such safeguards would have to provide for the prompt detection of the occurrence of violations, while at the same time causing only the necessary degree of interference with the various aspects of the life of individual nations;
- In the case of armed forces and non-atomic weapons, the inspection and other mechanisms required as safeguards should be conducted under an international authority vested with the necessary status, rights and powers; and
- With respect to atomic energy, the control and inspection required as safeguards would be conducted in accordance with the U.N. plan or a plan no less effective.
35. Under the foregoing principles the plan developed would not be directed to the end of total national disarmament and would not envisage reliance on an international force to prevent aggression. Instead, the plan would be directed toward a reduction in the existing level of national armed forces and armaments, and thereby a reduction in tensions and an improvement in relations between nations. The plan would call for the limitation and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments to a level which would decrease substantially the possibility of a successful initial aggression and thereby increase the chances that armed aggression would not be resorted to in furtherance of national objectives. If armed force can be so limited that resort to its use as an instrument of national policy would be much less likely, the [Page 493]conflict between the intentions of the West and the Soviet Orbit might be resolved through other means.
36. In its analysis of the problem, the Working Group considered those elements of national strength which in some degree or other contribute to the expression of national power in the form of armed forces. Initially, it was thought that a study of these elements, such as Position, Area, Geography, Length of Seacoasts, Length of Borders, Frontiers Protected by Natural Barriers, Agricultural Base, Population, Natural Resources, Internal Communications, Industrial Plant, Technological Skills, University System, and many others, might lead to an acceptable formula for negotiating the limitation of armed forces and armaments. However, since nations differ radically in population, size, geographical situation, national wealth, national character, and in numerous other ways, consideration of these elements led to such a maze of complexities that an effort to work out a definite formula had to be abandoned. Such elements may, however, be appropriate subjects of discussion in any negotiations toward an acceptable plan. The Working Group concluded that the exact manner of regulation or the exact nature of the limitation which the eventual plan would contain could only be developed through extensive negotiations. Nevertheless, there could be suggested as examples certain specific criteria which might be found to be acceptable in the course of detailed negotiation of the program. Some of the criteria appear to be:
- Over-all Size of Armed Forces. The size of the armed forces to be permitted each country under the plan will have to be agreed on, and size should bear a relationship to population. This factor alone, however, cannot be controlling and if a percentage of population is adopted, it would also be necessary to set a ceiling so that no nation could have a great preponderance. If, for example, the percentage adopted were 1% of the population but the ceiling for any country were one million, the Soviet Union and Communist China would together have two million men in their armed forces and the U.S., U.K. and France would have approximately the same number.
- Use of Natural Resources and Industrial Potential. It may be undesirable to permit the unlimited use of resources and industrial potential for military purposes under a plan for limitation and balanced reduction. Therefore, it might be advisable to restrict the portion of national production which can be so used. The production of armaments should bear a direct relation to the amount needed for the armed forces permitted under the plan, and it may be that there should also be a ceiling which it might be possible to express in terms of percentage of the national product; for example, 5% as contrasted with the much higher percentages today. Such a criterion based upon a percentage would require extensive verification because of the difficulty of securing comparable data.
- Mutually Agreed Programs within the Over-all Limitations. It would not be enough to agree merely on over-all criteria, since the composition of permitted national armed forces and armaments would also have a direct bearing on the effectiveness of the plan. For example, no [Page 494]nation could reasonably propose to concentrate its total permitted force in heavily armored ground divisions or entirely in the form of a strategic air force. The requirement of mutually agreed programs within the over-all limitation would provide a means of securing a balanced reduction.
The Existing Level of Armed Forces and Armaments in Relation to the Causes of International Tensions in Europe
At VE Day, in 1945, the U.S. had ground forces of over six million men, four million of whom were in the European and Mediterranean Theaters. The French and British ground forces in Europe, the Middle East and Africa on VE Day totaled nearly 3½ million. When the war in Europe ended, the U.S.S.R. had five million men in its ground armies.
These massive forces, together with air and naval power, had accomplished the defeat of the Axis Powers in Europe, and a few months later Japan surrendered. The world looked forward to peace, and in the West the nations rapidly demobilized and sought to turn again to peaceful occupations. In the Soviet Union, however, enormous forces were maintained, and in the first years after World War II these forces, many of them stationed outside the Soviet borders in Europe, were used by the U.S.S.R. to threaten and dominate the Eastern European nations.
Repeated efforts were made by the West, both in the United Nations, in meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers and in other ways, to secure the adherence of the U.S.S.R. to the provisions of the U.N. Charter and to the principles which normally govern relations between friendly countries.
It became increasingly apparent that the Soviet Union intended to use the threat of overwhelming force to further its political and ideological objectives of controlling and subjugating the remaining free members of the European community, and eventually the world.
When in April 1949, the United States, Canada and nine other nations signed the North Atlantic Pact,11 the danger to the North Atlantic Treaty nations from the Soviet’s pursuit of its objectives by the threat of its armed strength in being was clear and present. The U.S.S.R. had armies of half a million men stationed outside the Soviet borders in Europe. It had armies of two million more within its borders and another half million of security troops for the maintenance of its system over its own people and those of its satellites. And, in addition to its own armies, it had available in its Eastern European satellites, armies of another million men to do its bidding. [Page 495]The peace treaties with Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria had been violated to provide these forces, and a marshal of the Soviet army commanded the Polish troops.
In 1949 there were 600,000 men in the Soviet Air Force, 60,000 of them stationed at air bases in East Germany and the Eastern European satellites.
Against these massive forces, in 1949, the United Kingdom and France had ground forces in Europe of only half a million men and the total ground forces of the United States, both at home and abroad, consisted of only a little more than another half million. In air forces, the U.S., U.K. and France had 300,000 men (or half as many men as the U.S.S.R.) stationed in Europe and the Mediterranean, and the rest of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries had air forces totalling only 50,000 men. Under these circumstances, it is absurd to argue that the great, vast Soviet Union was under any changer as a result of the level of armaments in the West. In fact, the disparity was so great the other way, and this only a short time after the common victory in Europe, that self-defense required the nations of Europe and the United States and Canada to look to their immediate safety. They have tried to do so under the North Atlantic Treaty.
When the ruthless aggression occurred in Korea in the summer of 195012 the efforts of the West to repair the balance had only begun. Hut the very boldness of this action demonstrated to the non-Soviet world that it could not afford to delay an increase in its own strength. In the past year, the people of the free nations have turned to the task of redressing the balance with vigor and determination. They will continue to do so until their security is protected against the Soviet and European satellite armed forces, which now total nearly six million men. Of these the U.S.S.R. has ground forces of 1½ million stationed in the Soviet Union west of the Urals and, together with its satellites, another 1½ million in Eastern Europe. The Soviet Air Forces in Western Russia and Eastern Europe comprise 600,000 more.
The members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have less than a million men in their armies on the European continent and in the United Kingdom, and, in their air forces in the area, half as many men as the U.S.S.R.
If the Soviet Union would look at the world as it is, rather than as it appears through the distorted lenses with which they view it, they would cast aside the groundless pretense that they are threatened with aggression from the West. At any time since the end of World War II the Soviet Union has had it in its power to demobilize its huge forces and spare its own people and the rest of the world the burden of huge armaments and armies. No one outside the Kremlin provoked the [Page 496]U.S.S.R. into its present posture of excessive military strength. Its posture is of its own making, and until it decides to forego its desire for world domination and the use of massed, armed might as an instrument of that policy, the free world has no alternative but to meet the challenge by its own defense efforts.
- Master set of National Security Council documentation, 1947–1961, retired by the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State (S/S).↩
- For text of NSC
79, August 25, 1950, which requested the preparation of a study
on war objectives, see
Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. i, p. 390.↩
- For information on this reference, see footnote 4, p. 444.↩
- At its 97th Meeting, July 18, the National Security Council agreed to the recommendations contained in points a and b above (NSC Action No. 511: S/S–NSC Files, Lot 66 D 95). By memorandum of July 19, Executive Secretary Lay notified the Council that President Truman had that day approved the recommendations and directed that they be implemented (PPS Files, Lot 64 D 563).↩
- Robert LeBaron, Chairman of the Military Liaison Committee to the United States Atomic Energy Commission.↩
- Member of the Military Liaison Committee.↩
- Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project; Executive Secretary of the Military Liaison Committee, 1949–1951.↩
- For an explanation of the “United Nations Plan,” see footnote 7, p. 446.↩
- On August
1, 1949, the Commission for Conventional Armaments adopted a working
paper which provided for a census of conventional armaments and
armed forces and verification of reported facts (U.N. doc. S/1372).
The CCA transmitted this document to the Security Council on August
4, 1949. At its 452d Meeting, October 18, 1949, the Security Council
failed to endorse the proposals contained in the working paper due
to a Soviet veto. For text of the working paper approved by the CCA,
Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. i, p. 106.↩
- For information on General Assembly approval of
proposals for international control of atomic energy, November 4,
1948, see footnote 7, p. 446. Endorsement of these proposals by the
Security Council was prevented by a Soviet veto on June 22, 1948.
For documentation on this subject, see
Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 1, pp. 311 ff.↩
- Those represented are the Departments of State, Army, Navy and Air Force, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Central Intelligence Agency. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- Those represented are the Departments of State, Army, Navy and Air Force, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Central Intelligence Agency. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- For text
of the North Atlantic Treaty, signed at Washington on April 4, 1949,
Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iv, p. 281.↩
- For documentation on the outbreak of the
Korean War, see
Foreign Relations, 1950, volume vii.↩