S/S–NSC Files, Lot 63 D 351, NSC 104–Memoranda

Memorandum by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Bradley) to the Secretary of Defense (Marshall)1


Subject: U.S. Policies and Programs in the Economic Field Which May Affect the War Potential of the Soviet Bloc.

1. The Joint Chiefs of Staff feel that NSC 1042 is a thorough analysis of the probable effect of measures which might be taken in concert by the free world with a view to impairing the basic economic strength of the Soviet bloc. The Joint Chiefs of Staff note that the recommendations set forth in NSC 104 are not considered to be final and require further study and consultation with other agencies of the government.

2. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that effective action taken in the international economic field to increase the war potential of the non-Soviet world, while concurrently decreasing the war potential of the Soviet world, is of major military importance.

3. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, believe that the proposed United States export control policy, set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the recommendations of NSC 104, is inadequate in light of the current world situation. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that an adequate [Page 1053] United States export control policy toward the Soviet bloc destinations (except China and Korea) should include the following:

The United States should deny all items of strategic importance which contribute directly or indirectly to Soviet war potential, as well as any items in short supply (Positive List items).
A list should be developed of commodities of little or no strategic significance which can generally be approved where quantities are not excessive.
A presumption for denial should exist for all items not on either of the lists delineated above.

4. The Joint Chiefs of Staff note that the recommendations of NSC 104 do not include consideration of control of air transport in a program of “economic defense” or “economic warfare.”

5. The Joint Chiefs of Staff attach major importance to the formulation of complete plans, susceptible of immediate implementation, for “economic defense” and for full-scale “offensive economic warfare” against the Soviet bloc. Implementation of these plans would be undertaken whenever it is determined to be in the interest of the United States to do so or in the event of general hostilities. In this connection, the Joint Chiefs of Staff would recommend that an agency be established to assume control of economic warfare and that such agency be given authority to assign specific operational responsibilities for all aspects of economic warfare.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff
General Omar N. Bradley
  1. According to the covering memorandum attached to the source text, the Executive Secretary, NSC, at the request of the Secretary of Defense, circulated this JCS memorandum to the members of the NSC on February 21 in connection with the Council’s consideration of the NSC 104.
  2. Dated February 12, p. 1023.