Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

No. 343
Memorandum of Discussion at the 181st Meeting of the National Security Council, Thursday, January 21, 19541
top secret eyes only

Present at the 181st Meeting of the National Security Council were the President of the United States, presiding; the Secretary of State; the Acting Secretary of Defense; the Director, Foreign Operations Administration; the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization. The Vice President did not attend the meeting because of his absence from the city. Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury; the Attorney General (for Item 6); Mr. Morrison for the Director, Bureau of the Budget; the U.S. Representative to the United Nations; the Under Secretary of State; the Acting Secretary of the Army and Adm. Duncan for the Secretary of the Navy (for Item 4); the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. Bolte for the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, and the Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps (for Item 4); Judge Barnes, Assistant Attorney General, and Mr. Herbert Hoover, Jr., Department of State (for Item 6); the Director of Central Intelligence; the Assistant to the President; Robert Cutler and C.D. Jackson, Special Assistants to the President; the Deputy Assistant to the President; the Executive Secretary, NSC; and the Deputy Executive Secretary, NSC.

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

1. Meeting of the Four Foreign Ministers

Secretary Dulles expressed the opinion that the forthcoming Berlin meeting would be more important in its negative than in its positive aspects. He thought that this meeting might represent the last major Soviet effort to disrupt the Western alliance and to destroy the security of Western Europe. If this effort failed, our own program would succeed. If the Soviets are successful, it would be necessary to reexamine fundamentally United States policies with regard to the EDC and NATO.

Turning to specifics, Secretary Dulles thought that if the Soviets were in the “right mood” it might prove possible to obtain a treaty for Austria and the withdrawal of the occupation forces. We would be prepared, if absolutely necessary to secure the treaty, to envisage some degree of neutralization for Austria.

[Page 782]

As for Germany, Secretary Dulles thought the prospects for unification very poor. Soviet agreement to German unification would, in effect, represent an invasion of freedom deep into the Iron Curtain. Until the Soviets are prepared to extend greater freedom to Poland and Czechoslovakia, they cannot afford to permit this invasion to occur. Nevertheless, the Soviets will probably put forward some kind of package proposal for German unification, primarily designed to induce the French to abandon both EDC and their struggle in Indochina. Whether or not the French will succumb to these Soviet wiles remains to be seen. In any event, for tactical reasons Secretary Dulles said that he proposed to submerge his own personal role in the hope that France would then take a more positive part in the forthcoming conference. Thus we shall avoid the charge that France is merely the tail to the U.S. kite, and will favorably influence the French Parliament and French public opinion.

The National Security Council:

Noted an oral report by the Secretary of State on probable developments at the forthcoming meeting of the four Foreign Ministers in Berlin.

[Here follows discussion of items 2–7, United States policy on Berlin, significant world developments affecting United States security, United States objectives and courses of action with respect to Southeast Asia, United States objectives and courses of action with respect to Indonesia, United States policy toward Iran, and United States policy toward Finland.]

  1. Drafted on Jan. 22.