S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files, Lot 66 D 95, NSC 112 Series1

Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Ferguson) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Subject: NSC 112, “Formulation of a United States Position with Respect to the Regulation, Limitation and Balanced Reduction of Armed Forces and Armaments.”2

The report of the State–JCS Working Group on this subject was forwarded by the Secretaries of State and Defense to the NSC for consideration.3
It is desirable for the United States to maintain its leadership and initiative on this matter in the United Nations and it may be desirable to include disarmament proposals in connection with other proposals for the solution of East-West problems in Europe and Asia. A third reason for prompt consideration is the possibility that the U.S.S.R. may put forward proposals of its own for which we should be prepared.
The report being considered by the Council suggests that the existing United States position on census and verification which involves a “one shot” census and verification of conventional armaments is inadequate and that the United States should support a continuing system of disclosure and verification of all armed forces and armaments to be carried out in stages. Such system of disclosure and verification should be the first step in a program for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of all armed forces and armaments.
The phased system of disclosure and verification and the subsequent phased regulation, limitation and reduction should be carried out in such a manner that if a violation occurs at any time the United States and countries cooperating with it will be in a position to deal with such violations themselves, since it is assumed that the United States cannot depend on the existence of an international force separate and apart from national armed forces in the foreseeable future.
The program for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction would include the present United Nations plan for control of atomic energy, or one no less effective.
The program for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction, of which disclosure and verification would be the first step, would 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 preparing its report the State–JCS Working Group consulted the Atomic Energy Commission and the Central Intelligence Agency. It was recognized in recommending such a program for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction that it would be necessary to assume, even if the program were accepted by the Soviet Union, that the Soviet Union might at any time show bad faith in its implementation. Since the United States would have to rely on its own resources and those of the countries cooperating with it to deal with violations, it was also recognized that the details of the program, including the phased disclosure and verification provisions, would require the most careful preparation by technical experts, and it is therefore recommended in the report that an interdepartmental group of such experts proceed with the development of detailed negotiating positions for use in the event that the Soviet Union indicates a willingness to discuss such a program.

John H. Ferguson
  1. Lot 66 D 95 consists of administrative and miscellaneous National Security Council documentation, including NSC records of action, as maintained by the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State, for the years 1947–1963.
  2. Ante, p. 477.
  3. Regarding National Security Council action on July 18 respecting NSC 112, see footnote 4, p. 478.