Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, 1953–61, Whitman file

Memorandum of Discussion at the 174th Meeting of the National Security Council, December 10, 1953

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Present at the 174th Council meeting were the President of the United States, presiding; the Secretary of State; the Secretary of Defense; the Acting Director, Foreign Operations Administration; the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization. The Vice President did not attend because of his absence from the country. Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury; the Director, Bureau of the Budget; the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission; the Chairman, Joint [Page 1847] Chiefs of Staff; the Director of Central Intelligence; Frank C. Nash, Assistant Secretary of Defense; Gen. Porter, Foreign Operations Administration; the Assistant to the President; Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to the President; C. D. Jackson, Special Assistant to the President; the Deputy Assistant to the President (for Items 1, 2 and 3); Maurice Arth, Foreign Operations Administration (for Item 5); the Acting White House Staff Secretary; the Acting Executive Secretary, NSC; and the Coordinator, NSC Planning Board Assistants.

There follows a summary of the discussion at the meeting and the main points taken.

[Here follows discussion of significant world developments affecting United States security.]

2. The Bermuda Conference

Secretary Dulles stated that since he had already spoken to the Cabinet generally about the Bermuda Conference, he would confine his remarks this morning to matters of special concern to the National Security Council. The first of these matters was the attitude of the British and French to our suggestions with regard to normalizing the use of atomic weapons. Secretary Dulles said that both the British and the French exhibited very stubborn resistance to any idea of the automatic use of atomic weapons, even in the case of a Communist renewal of hostilities in Korea.

. . . . . . .

Secretary Dulles then said that there was one other issue discussed at Bermuda which would be of special interest to the National Security Council. This was trade between the free world on the one hand and the Soviet bloc and China on the other. The British were sticking strongly to their familiar view that now that actual hostilities were over, this trade must be considerably increased. While, said Secretary Dulles, Sir Winston had emphasized the importance of trade as a weapon for penetrating the Iron Curtain, he could also clearly detect an even greater concern for the advantages which such increased trade could confer on the British economy.

The President said that he hoped that the Council would pardon him if he once again reminded them of his own position and hope that the United States would be selective and not take arbitrary action to cut off all trade with the Soviet bloc and Communist China.

The National Security Council:

Noted and discussed an oral report by the Secretary of State on the subject.

[Here follows discussion of the NATO Ministerial meeting (this part of the memorandum is printed on page 450), United States policy and courses of action to counter Soviet or satellite action against Berlin (printed in volume VII), United States policy with respect to [Page 1848] Germany (printed in volume VII), United States objectives and courses of action with respect to Latin America, United States assistance to NATO allies, and the status of NSC projects.]