No. 689
Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Matthews)1

top secret
  • Subject: Additional Military Operating Requirements in Iceland.

There is attached an instruction prepared for your signature directing Mr. Lawson to open negotiations with Iceland for additional military operating rights.2

There has been some criticism from the Icelandic Government to the effect that the U.S. has not fulfilled its commitments for the defense of Iceland (e.g., has not stationed fighters in Iceland), and the Icelanders may feel that this should be done before requesting additional facilities. However, these new requirements will, in time, add to the defense of Iceland and also mitigate its unemployment problem which this past winter caused the Government concern. It is believed that these negotiations can be attempted soon, probably immediately following the presidential elections on June 29, although the exact timing of the approach is being left to Mr. Lawson.

. . . . . . .

You will recall that in November 1951 the Icelandic Foreign Minister inquired whether the U.S. had any plans to make Iceland an atomic base and he was informed (Deptel 98, December 213) that the U.S. had no intention of going beyond the 1951 Defense Agreement and would not do so without full consultation with, and the agreement of the Icelandic Government. Defense understands that the Defense Agreement does not give the U.S. the right to operate out of Iceland with atomic bombs.…

The original invitation from the North Atlantic Ocean Regional Planning Group made to the Governments of Iceland and the United States calls for the establishment of a Strategic Air Command base in Iceland.4

  1. Drafted by Byrns.
  2. Instruction 27, June 20, authorized Minister Lawson to initiate the negotiations on the basis of the military requirements outlined in Document 687.
  3. Not printed. (711.56340B/11–2451)
  4. Reference is to NAOR/32 CC/50, Nov. 16, 1950, not printed, but see Document 687.