No. 413

S/SNSC files, lot 63D351, NSC 119

Draft Statement of Policy by the National Security Council1

top secret
[NSC 119]


1. Because of Switzerland’s strategic situation, its ability to defend itself is important to the security of the United States.

2. Swiss military, economic and democratic strength is such that closer relationship between Switzerland and the common defense effort of the free European community would be advantageous to the security interests of the United States.

3. Accordingly, the United States should:

Make Switzerland eligible to receive reimbursable military assistance from the United States Government (government to government sales) and entitled to consideration on a case by case basis for other supply assistance, including raw materials allocations, on the same basis as other nations whose ability to defend themselves is important to the security of the United States. It is understood that the foregoing does not insure the granting of such assistance [Page 881] in any specific case where the meeting of higher priority defense deficiencies would be jeopardized.
Make every appropriate effort to expand the area of Swiss cooperation with the common defense effort of the free European community by pointing out to the Swiss that extension of United States assistance will be facilitated by Switzerland’s assumption of corresponding obligations on behalf of the common defense effort.
Use every appropriate means to convince Switzerland that closer association with the defense effort of the Western Powers is in accord with Switzerland’s interest in surviving as a free, democratic nation.
Further develop the willingness of private Swiss industry to cooperate in the defense production programs of the NATO countries and explore the extent to which this industry could meet existing critical deficiencies in those programs.
Review the allocation of spaces to Switzerland in U.S. Service schools for the training of Swiss military personnel with a view to increasing the allotment where possible.
Invite an exchange of views and information through appropriate channels with the Swiss General Staff with the purpose, ultimately, of coordinating defense plans which would become effective in the event Swiss territory is violated by the Soviets or the Swiss determine that an attack is imminent.

  1. Attached to the source text were a cover sheet, a note by Lay (indicating that the draft statement, prepared on the basis of the Department of State draft (supra), and the enclosed staff study (infra) were to be submitted for the consideration of the National Security Council at its next meeting on November 28, and a memorandum by Bromley Smith, a subsequent Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, dated May 2, 1962, which stated that NSC 119, “Position of the United States With Respect to Switzerland,” had been rescinded as of that date.

    In a memorandum dated November 30 to Acting Secretary Webb, Bonbright noted that the Department of State had proposed “this report to the NSC in order to obtain a positive U.S. Government policy designed to bring Switzerland’s military, economic and democratic strength into closer relationship with the Western European defense effort.” (S/SNSC files, lot 63D351, NSC 119)

    Two earlier drafts of this paper have also been identified, apparently revisions of the Department of State draft, supra. The first, dated November 15, was prepared by the Staff Assistants of the NSC and divided the Department of State draft into two papers, a statement of policy and the position of the United States with respect to Switzerland; while the second dated November 19, was prepared by the Senior Staff of the NSC. These two drafts except for minor textual differences are the same as the text printed here and the staff study, infra.

    On December 5 at its 108th meeting, the National Security Council considered NSC 119 (consisting of the cover sheet, Lay’s note, the draft statement of policy, and the staff study), adopted the statement of policy contained therein (NSC Action No. 587), and transmitted the report to President Truman for consideration. On December 11 Lay noted that the President had that day approved the Statement of Policy on Switzerland and had directed its implementation by all appropriate executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government under the coordination of the Secretary of State. (Memorandum by Lay, dated December 11, S/SNSC files, lot 63D351, NSC 119)