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Memorandum of Discussion at the 141st Meeting of the National Security Council, Tuesday, April 28, 19531

[Extract]

top secret
eyes only

Present at the 141st meeting of the National Security Council were the President of the United States, Presiding; the Vice President of the United States; the Secretary of State; the Acting Secretary of Defense; and the Director for Mutual Security. Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury; the Director of Defense Mobilization; General Vandenberg for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Director of Central Intelligence; Mr. Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to the President; Major General Wilton B. Persons, USA (Ret.), Special Assistant to the President; Colonel Paul T. Carroll, Military Liaison Officer; the Executive Secretary, NSC; and the Deputy Executive Secretary, NSC.

There follows a general account of the main positions taken and the chief points made at this meeting.

. . . . . . .

5. Basic National Security Policies and Programs in Relation to Their Costs: The Mutual Security Program (NSC Action No. 768;2 NSC 149/1;3 Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “Basic National Security Policies and Programs in Relation to Their Costs”, dated April 21 and 22, 1953;4 Memo for All Holders of the April 21 memo, dated April 23, 19535)

Mr. Cutler called the Council’s attention to the changes recommended by the Planning Board in Part I of NSC 149/1, and Mr. Stassen pointed out the inadvertent omission of a paragraph with respect to assistance to the Near East. Subject to the approval of the Secretary of State, Mr. Stassen desired to insert a paragraph dealing with this area.

The Council proceeded to make further changes and clarifications of the text of this report, notably with respect to a proposal by Secretary Kyes that the Air Force be permitted to achieve its reduced personnel ceiling at the end of FY 1955 instead of June 30, 1954. While Secretary Kyes noted that this would add $200 million [Page 303]to the Defense Department budget, it was likely to provide us with an Air Force of 114 wings by June 30, 1955. Among other advantages, this could greatly assist us in meeting the problem of tactical air support in NATO.

Mr. Stassen, in response to the misgivings noted at the last Council meeting with respect to his desire for new appropriations in the amount of $6 billion despite the existence of considerable unobligated balances, explained that the need for new appropriations of this magnitude for 1954 was to complete programs already en train or commitments long since made. He noted his determination that all unobligated balances would, at the beginning of the next fiscal year, be deducted from the $6.3 billion appropriation. The unobligated balance was now estimated to be about $400 million. Mr. Stassen thought that this proposal would go far to close the gap between MSA and the Bureau of the Budget. The chief obstacle to closing the gap was, of course, the $750 million set aside for the special new weapons program which was to be controlled by the President. Mr. Stassen explained that this figure had been chosen more or less arbitrarily and out of the air, primarily as a psychological boost to our allies. There had been much discussion of our new weapons, and many of our allies were hopeful that in due course some of these would be made available to them. While admittedly such weapons were not available yet, Mr. Stassen thought that some provision should be made in his budget in the event that they became available and it was decided to give some to our allies. He recalled that emphasis on new weapons was an important part of our new policy with respect to military assistance.

The President inquired whether Mr. Stassen had consulted with the Defense Department people on this item.

Secretary Kyes informed the President that Secretary Wilson was opposed to the inclusion of the $750 million figure, and that he himself was not clear as to the purpose it served. Certainly the weapons did not exist now.

Secretary Dulles agreed that some figure for new weapons should be included, but thought the present figure too high.

Mr. Stassen stated that he was agreeable to any figure which the Council could agree upon, pointing out that it would in any case take some four years to build the type of weapons that he had in mind. He thought it would be bad psychology to reduce the figure too much, and pointed out that in any event the President must approve the use of funds in this category as well as the transfer of these weapons.

There followed a discussion of offshore procurement, in the course of which Secretary Kyes expressed a disinclination to defend the figures on this item before the Appropriations Committee. He [Page 304]was assured by Mr. Stassen that the Mutual Security Agency was fully prepared to justify its proposed military assistance expenditures before the Appropriations Committee.

Secretary Dulles, however, expressed the view that Defense ought to be willing to state clearly that funds expended for offshore procurement were plainly in the interest of national defense and national security.

Logically, said the President, the whole appropriation for national security should be in one lump sum and everybody at this table must so regard it, even though Congress thinks and operates otherwise. In any case, said the President, after it was agreed to reduce the $750 million figure for special weapons to $250 million, he was gratified that we seemed to be approaching fairly close to Mr. Dodge’s budget objectives.

Before adding up the totals, however, Secretary Dulles warned that the State Department wanted $100 million for stockpiling in Berlin.

Mr. Stassen stated that this sum should be added to the $5.8 billion to which his appropriation figure had now been reduced.

The President, however, inquired whether this sum could legally be taken out of the $400 million of estimated unobligated balances which Mr. Stassen contemplated having at the end of the fiscal year.

Secretary Dulles suggested a figure of $50 million for stockpiling in Berlin, with which amount the President expressed agreement.

The Council members noted that the Truman budget had now been reduced by $2 billion. Satisfaction was expressed by Secretary Humphrey and other members at the general scale of the reduction.

The National Security Council:6

a.
Adopted NSC 149/1 subject to the actions taken at the previous Council meeting and to the following actions taken at this meeting:
(1)
The editorial clarifications proposed by the Planning Board in Part I.
(2)
Amendment of the 3rd and 4th lines of paragraph 5 to include the Chinese Communists as well as the Soviets.
(3)
Amendment of paragraph 9–b, page 8, to provide that the reduction in military personnel strength for the Air Force is to be achieved by June 30, 1955 in lieu of the date June 30, 1954.
(4)
Amendment of paragraph 10–e–(3), page 13, to insert “and Pakistan” after “India”.
(5)
Addition of a new subparagraph 10–e–(4) on the Near East, and renumbering of the remaining subparagraphs.
(6)
Reduction of the amount for “Special New Weapons” from $750 million to $250 million, in paragraph 11–b, page 16, thus reducing the total FY 1954 new appropriation request from $6.3 billion to $5.8 billion, with the understanding that this figure will be further reduced by deducting an amount equal to the unprogrammed and unobligated balances remaining at the end of FY 1953. These balances were estimated to total about $400 million, after assuming a deduction of approximately $50 million from currently unprogrammed funds for the Berlin industrial stockpile.
(7)
Delete the estimate of FY 1955 appropriations (paragraph 11–d).
b.
Directed the NSC Planning Board to prepare for Council consideration a revised report on basic national security policies, based on Part I of NSC 149/1 as amended and adopted and covering all national security programs, to supersede NSC 20/4, NSC 68/2 and NSC 135/3.

. . . . . . .

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Drafted by Deputy Executive Secretary Gleason on Apr. 29.
  2. For NSC Action No. 768, see footnote 7, supra.
  3. Not printed. (S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 149 Series)
  4. No copy of the Apr. 21 memorandum under reference has been found in Department of State files; a copy of the Apr. 22 memorandum is in S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 149 Series.
  5. Not found in Department of State files.
  6. Paragraphs a–b constitute NSC Action No. 776. (S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) files, lot 66 D 95, “NSC Records of Action”) This paper, as approved, is printed as NSC 149/2, infra.