S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 162

Memorandum by the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Bowie) to the Secretary of State

top secret
  • Subject:
  • NSC 162/1, Review of Basic National Security Policy.1

NSC 162/1 is the Planning Board’s revision of NSC 162 incorporating the compromises and agreements made at the NSC meeting of October 7.2 The changes involve principally (a) some acceptance of the Treasury–Budget view on equating the internal threat to the U.S. economy with the external Soviet threat, on the basis of the Council’s discussion and the views expressed by the President, and (b) compromise versions of certain paragraphs on reduction of the Soviet threat previously unagreed (principally as between State and Defense). The new paper also contains some additions to include points previously intended for inclusion in a section on “Courses of Action”, which it has now been decided to eliminate.

Although some of the basic issues discussed at the October 7 meeting are glossed over rather than clearly decided in the paper, nevertheless it is a generally satisfactory guide for U.S. policy. Presumably later NSC papers on more specific issues and particular areas will clarify application of the general policies laid down in this document.

Your attention is called to a number of paragraphs which have been redrafted in the light of the October 7 discussion and decisions, and to certain new paragraphs previously intended for inclusion under “Courses of Action”. These are included in the listing below. Except for the paragraphs marked by an asterisk (*), there is no particular reason to raise any of them at the meeting.3

In the course of final consultation within the Department certain other points were brought out. In the listing by order below, the pertinent paragraphs are marked by an asterisk (*). You may wish to raise these points in the NSC.

Paragraph 1. New paragraph, identical with 31, included to mollify Treasury, as agreed at the October 7 meeting.

Paragraphs 10 and 34b. New paragraphs on intelligence, manpower, research and development, economic mobilization, and internal security, added so that the paper will provide basic guidance in those fields.

[Page 566]

Paragraphs 12d, 36d, and e, 37. These references, in their present form, satisfactorily cover the subject of future policy on foreign aid. The language of subparagraph 36e, which is the President’s, is broad enough to cover any contingencies which may arise necessitating economic aid; at the same time the idea of reduction of aid is set forth in subparagraph 12d.

Paragraph 38. The compromise version of the paragraph on redeployment contains in subparagraph b the essential point in regard to the dangers of any immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces. Presumably the task of our diplomacy set forth in subparagraph c will not require any early campaign of persuasion which might frighten our allies with the prospect of U.S. withdrawals.

*Paragraph 39b. Revised paragraph on the use of nuclear weapons. Subparagraph 39b (1) provides that for planning purposes the U.S., in the event of hostilities, will consider nuclear weapons to be as available for use as other munitions. The question has been raised whether, in order to avoid an implication of change, reference should not be made to the established procedure that nuclear weapons should be used only by decision of the President, on the advice of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.

Paragraph 40. Acceptable combination of previously unagreed approaches to the problem of meeting the costs of security policies and protecting the economy. Subparagraph b contains the main point considered essential by State and Defense.

Paragraph 42. Redrafted to reconcile divergencies of view, principally between State and Defense, over the relationship between taking actions against the Soviet bloc and inducing possibilities for reduction of the Soviet threat through negotiation. Subparagraph 42d consists of the following new text agreed in the Planning Board:

“d. The United States should make clear to the leaders and peoples of the U.S.S.R. that its policy is to prevent Soviet aggression and continuing domination of other nations, and to establish effective control of armaments under proper safeguards; but is not to dictate the internal political and economic organization of the U.S.S.R.”

*Paragraph 44.EUR feels strongly that the following paragraph, which was dropped when the Council last considered the paper on October 7, should be reinserted as paragraph 44c:

“The United States should not, however, initiate aggressive actions involving force against Soviet bloc territory. Limited actions within our capabilities would not materially reduce the Soviet threat even if successful. Moreover, they are likely materially to increase the risk of general war, would place serious strains on the [Page 567] coalition, and might well destroy the chances of agreement with the U.S.S.R. on the more fundamental aspects of the Soviet threat.”

EUR emphasizes that this paragraph contains an important warning against U.S. actions against Soviet bloc territory, none of which would materially reduce the Soviet threat even if successful. On the contrary such aggressive actions might seriously strain our relations with our allies and endanger all chances of agreement with the U.S.S.R. on more fundamental aspects of the Soviet threat.

R. R. Bowie
  1. NSC 162/1 is not printed; for text of NSC 162/2, Oct. 30, see p. 577.
  2. For the memorandum of discussion at the 165th meeting of the NSC, Oct. 7, see p. 514.
  3. Reference is presumably to the forthcoming 168th meeting of the NSC on Oct. 29; for the memorandum of discussion, see infra.