S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 143 Series

No. 70
Memorandum by the President to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay) 1

NSC 143


  • Proposal for a Volunteer Freedom Corps
In the interest of our national security, the burden now resting upon the youth of America in the world struggle against Communism [Page 181] should be relieved by providing additional combat manpower. We should find a way to mobilize the will to oppose Communism which exists in countries under the Communist yoke. One way to meet these objectives is outlined below, in sufficient detail to be susceptible of intelligent study by the council: a proposal for a “Volunteer Freedom Corps”. Please schedule this proposal for early study by the Council.
Proposal for a “Volunteer Freedom Corps”:
The United States Army, under appropriate legislative authority, will establish a Volunteer Freedom Corps, composed of infantry battalions representative of the respective nationalities behind the Iron Curtain. The United States Army is selected because arms, training, and maintenance will be provided by the United States.
Each battalion representative of any such nationality will have a distinctive shoulder patch, insignia, flag, ceremonies, etc.
Such Corps will be recruited from stateless, single, anti-Communist young men, coming from the countries behind the Iron Curtain. To obtain voluntary enlistments of such men, the United States Army will carry on a positive recruiting campaign in coordination with the Department of State and with the Special Assistant to the President for Cold War Operations. The name “Volunteer Freedom Corps” emphasizes that persons enlisting therein are not mere mercenaries or soldiers of fortune, but are sincere, convinced, anti-Communist volunteers for freedom.

Upon enlistment in the Corps:

A recruit will take an oath of obedience to military orders of his American officers.
A recruit will be paid in accordance with a schedule different from American soldiers’ pay schedules.
A recruit will become entitled, after a period of honorable service (perhaps for a period of three years), to be eligible for United States citizenship.
A recruit who develops a special aptitude and other necessary qualifications will be taken into the regular United States Army, in the spirit of the Lodge Act,2 to provide, in the event of global hostilities, a supply of qualified officer personnel to serve as interpreters, intelligence specialists, General Staff Officers, and combat commanders of alien troops.

. . . . . . .

Battalions of the Volunteer Freedom Corps will be attached as corps troops to divisions, either of United States or of United Nations forces as deemed at the time most advantageous.
An ad hoc committee appointed by the National Security Council will work out all other terms and provisions of this proposal and report back to the Council for approval. Such committee might be composed of representatives from the Department of [Page 182] State, the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Psychological Strategy Board (acting for the Special Assistant to the President for Cold War Operations), and chaired by a retired high-ranking Army general, of vigor, determination, and broad understanding (for example, Lt. General Willis D. Crittenberger). After the National Security Council has approved the proposal in full detail, the chairman of such ad hoc committee will be available to act as an executive in seeing that the policy decision of the Council is carried into effect in actual operations.
As the carrying into effect of the proposal will require legislation, it is desirable that Congressional cooperation be enlisted before undertaking all the action stated in 2–f above.

I have been disappointed in the progress made by the United States Army in carrying into effect the Lodge Act, the objective of which was to produce from stateless, anti-Communist young men an elite of officer material. As of 30 October 1952, the figures shown me were:

Applied for recruitment 6,008
Rejections 4,847
Acceptances 395
Scheduled for processing 108
Under review by CIC 655

For the success of the Volunteer Freedom Corps, it would be necessary for the Army to take a quite different position towards it and towards Lodge Act recruitment.

I am advised that the British Pioneer Corps, formed to give refugees from Hitlerism a chance to fight in World War II, recruited 15 battalions which were used by nationality as corps troops. It would seem possible in these days of tension, with a zeal equal to the need, to recruit up to 250,000 men for the Volunteer Freedom Corps. The USSR has learned how to get millions of non-Russians armed, trained, and fighting or capable of fighting on the side of the Soviets.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
  1. Included with the source text was a cover sheet and a memorandum by Lay to the National Security Council indicating that the President’s memorandum was scheduled for discussion at the NSC meeting of Feb. 18.
  2. Reference is to the Alien Enlistment Act of 1950, P.L. 81–597 (64 Stat. 316), June 30, 1950.