Truman Library, Truman Papers, PSF–Subject File

The Deputy Secretary of Defense (Lovett) to the President


My Dear Mr. President: In accordance with your request, I return the original of the Report on Guided Missiles program submitted to you under date of July 10 by Mr. K. T. Keller, together with the summary sheet attached thereto.1

This Report was cleared through the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the recommendations contained in the memorandum attached to his letter are concurred in. Mr. Keller has succeeded in bringing a considerable amount of acceleration into this program by the application of practical judgment backed by unusual production experience.

With great respect, I am
  Very sincerely yours,

Robert A. Lovett

Summary of Report From Mr. K. T. Keller to the President

Status of Guided Missiles

Since his appointment in October 1950, the Director of Guided Missiles has studied the status of all guided missile projects.
Highest priority to defense type. Every effort made to coordinate work already done (since 1944) by using services. Assembly line method divides time by forty. Knowledge required on the development of one missile can be applied in the perfecting of later types.
Under the category of Air Defense Missiles, fourteen are under development. Of these, three are far enough along for the establishment of a production facility to produce one thousand, each, for training and a production line by March 1953 capable of one thousand per month, each.
Under the category of Strategic Bombing, no project has developed to the extent of offering usable missiles short of six or seven years.
Tactical Ground Support Missiles have in several instances gone beyond the research and development stage and have been placed in pilot production. However, production of these types are several years hence.
Navy Support Missiles. A submarine launched missile is in pilot production as well as an air launched torpedo.
The cost of this program is to be $1,209,000,000 for 1951–1952, and if the present projects are successful, 1952–1953 should require 1½ to 2 billion dollars.
If the need for guided missiles should arise today, none would be available for use. It is impossible to predict the exact date that they will be.
Too much unauthorized publicity has been given the subject and as a result the public has a mistaken idea as to our readiness.
It is recommended that fiscal and priority support be given to maintain the proposed program for guided missiles as outlined.
  1. The report, consisting of a letter from Mr. Keller to President Truman, a memorandum, and 3 tables, totaling 13 pages, is not printed. For the summary sheet, see below.