Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

Memorandum of Discussion at the 131st Meeting of the National Security Council on Wednesday, February 11, 1953

top secret
eyes only

Present at the 131st meeting of the Council were The President of the United States, presiding, The Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director for Mutual Security. Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director, Bureau of the Budget, the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Acting Director of Central Intelligence, the Administrative Assistant to the President for National Security Matters, the Military [Page 1580] 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.

[Here follows a general discussion of world developments affecting United States security and United States policy toward the Korean war negotiations.]

3. The European situation

Secretary Dulles described briefly his visits to the various capitals of Western Europe, during which trip he had emphasized the importance of our knowing the intentions of the several governments as to ratification of the EDC treaties. He felt that on the whole his and Mr. Stassen’s trip had at least taken this project out of mothballs. It has come alive again and there is at least a good chance that some of these countries will now initiate steps to secure ratification. Prime Minister De Gasperi will certainly try, while Churchill was unenthusiastic; Eden was strong for the experiment, and the British Government had stated its willingness to put its power behind ratification. Chancellor Adenauer was a strong believer in the whole idea and thought he could find ways and means of moving toward ratification. The Benelux countries will also take stronger initiatives. The French situation was the most difficult, but there was always a chance there too. Mayer and Pleven intend to do their best to get the treaty through, but they are skating on very thin parliamentary ice. Neither the French nor Adenauer were at all hospitable, continued Secretary Dulles, to the alternative course of German membership in NATO and a German national army. In conclusion, Secretary Dulles guessed that the odds were now about 60–40 that the EDC treaties would be ratified. This was a marked improvement over the situation a few weeks ago.

The President stated with great warmth that we must, here in Washington and in this country, do everything to help and encourage the European statesmen who are attempting this difficult job. We should sit down—Cabinet members, Senators, Government officials, and everybody—to scan every possibility of American support.

[Here follows a short paragraph not declassified by the NSC Staff at the time this volume was published.]

Mr. Stassen discussed very succinctly the half dozen major problems regarding the European economic situation and American aid. He stressed the fact that the French were now seriously over-extended and in grave economic difficulties. This he pointed up by comparison with statistics on other countries in the European payments union. Mr. Stassen then turned to the problem of end-item military supplies to NATO countries. He said that he had a list of such items which were in critically short supply, including tanks, Howitzers and all other [Page 1581] guns, and all kinds of ammunition. The 105-mm. and 155-mm. Howitzers were in the very worst case; in fact, not one such Howitzer had been made in this country, continued Mr. Stassen, since the end of the second World War. This was a situation which certainly required immediate action.

The National Security Council:

Discussed the subject in the light of an oral report by the Secretary of State and the Director for Mutual Security, based upon their trip to Europe.

[Here follows a discussion of the use of radio as a medium for psychological operations, Korean payments for United States forces, and basic national security policies.]

S. Everett Gleason

Deputy Executive Secretary