S/S–NSC Files, Lot 63 D 351, NSC 90 Series

Memorandum for the National Security Council by the Executive Secretary (Lay)


Subject: Collaboration With Friendly Governments on Exchange of Information Concerning Operations Against Guerrillas

Reference: NSC 901

In accordance with the request of the Secretary of State contained in his report to the National Security Council on “Collaboration With Friendly Governments on Operations Against Guerrillas” (NSC 90), the Senior NSC Staff has studied this subject with the results as indicated in the enclosed draft statement of policy and NSC staff study, circulated herewith for the information of the National Security Council.

Upon the recommendation of the Senior NSC Staff and with the concurrence of the Department of State, and in view of the fact that the enclosed study proposes that appropriate action be taken by the Department of Defense in collaboration with the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency, the enclosure has been referred to the Department of Defense for such action as may be considered appropriate.

James S. Lay, Jr.
[Page 83]
[Annex 1]

Draft Statement of Policy Prepared by the Senior Staff of the National Security Council


Statement of Policy Proposed by the National Security Council on Collaboration With Friendly Governments on Exchange of Information Concerning Operations Against Guerrillas

1. Communist-controlled guerrilla warfare represents one of the most potent instrumentalities in the arsenal of communist aggression on a world-wide basis. It is therefore in the important security interests of the United States to take all practicable steps in collaboration with its allies and friends to prepare to counter such guerrilla warfare on a coordinated world-wide basis. As a prerequisite to such action, the United States should:

Develop and perfect techniques, strategy and tactics to combat and counter communist controlled guerrilla activities.
Utilize this information in coordinated and timely manner with our friends and allies.
Develop on a continuing basis adequate intelligence regarding the concepts, strategy and tactics of communist-controlled guerrilla activity.

2. Accordingly, the United States, acting through the Department of Defense in collaboration when appropriate with the Department of State and CIA, should continue:

To assemble all information available in the United States on the general subject of counter-guerrilla warfare.
To obtain and assemble all possible information on counter-guerrilla warfare from friendly governments and from informed Japanese and German individuals and from Japanese and German war records.
To obtain on a continuing basis, information on communist guerrilla activity on a world-wide basis.
To pool and collate the best information available on the strategy, tactics and techniques of counter-guerrilla operations.
To develop a program for making available to our friends and allies a common fund of knowledge relating to strategy, tactics and techniques for counter-guerrilla activities.
To develop a parallel program for the exchange of current information on Soviet and communistic inspired guerrilla activities with our allies and friends.

3. . . .

[Page 84]
[Annex 2]

Draft National Security Council Staff Study


Collaboration With Friendly Governments on Exchange of Information Concerning Operations Against Guerrillas


1. To determine whether the United States should collaborate with friendly governments on exchange of information concerning operations against guerrillas.


2. There are many governments now friendly to the United States which have had considerable experience in conducting guerrilla warfare and counter-guerrilla activities such as Greece, Germany, Japan, the Chinese Nationalist Government and the British Commonwealth (particularly in Burma and Malaya). Yugoslavia has also had considerable experience with guerrillas.

3. Much of this experience has probably not been reduced to writing, or in any event it is not now available to the United States.

4. In the struggle against communist aggression, it is of the greatest importance that the United States be in possession of the most complete knowledge available on the subject of guerrilla warfare in order that this country and its allies and friends may be in a better position to counter and combat all types of guerrilla activity on a world-wide basis.

5. Accordingly it is considered that the United States should obtain all information from all sources dealing with guerrilla and counter-guerrilla operations.

6. There could be two possible approaches to the information gathering process: one through a multi-lateral approach, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or a bilateral approach.

7. At the present stage of North Atlantic Treaty Organization development, it would be inappropriate and probably of no avail for the NATO countries as a group to undertake multi-lateral exchanges of information in the development of strategy and tactics to combat and counter guerrilla warfare. The various members of NATO would probably not feel disposed at the present time to exchange information on this general subject, in view of the sensitivity of certain aspects of the information involved.

8. It is considered that members of NATO would be willing to furnish the United States on a bilateral basis, the information desired. It is also believed that certain friendly governments, not members of NATO, would be disposed to supply the United States with information [Page 85] in their possession on the general subject of guerrilla warfare and counter-guerrilla activities.

9. The Department of Defense is the agency of the United States Government which is the most concerned with operations against guerrillas. Military air and naval attaches stationed in all friendly countries are in a position to gather the requisite information and in particular to gain valuable intelligence on current anti-guerrilla campaigns in French Indo-China and the Philippines. The departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force can draw upon the resources of their intelligence, research and historical sections and enlist the cooperation of the Central Intelligence Agency in the preparation of those studies referred to above.


10. It is in the security interest of the United States that all available knowledge on counter-guerrilla operations be obtained in order that our own doctrine on such operations may be as nearly perfect as possible.

11. The United States should engage in bilateral discussions with all friendly governments who have had experience in guerrilla or counter-guerrilla operations.

12. The Department of Defense, in collaboration when appropriate with the Department of State and CIA, should continue to conduct the discussions, compile the resulting information, develop a counter-guerrilla doctrine and make recommendations as to its distribution.

  1. NSC 90, October 26, 1950, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. i, p. 401.