Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

No. 71
Memorandum of Discussion at the 132d Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, February 18, 19531

top secret
eyes only

Present at the 132nd 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 Special Assistant to the President for Cold War Operations, the Military 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 discussion of significant world developments affecting United States security.]

2. Proposal for a Volunteer Freedom Corps (NSC 143)2

After Mr. Cutler had briefly described this report, the President noted that the idea of inducing foreigners to play a part in our armed forces was both an old and a very appealing one. It had, however, never elicited much enthusiasm in Army circles, and certainly very little had been done under the provisions of the Lodge Act. If something like the Volunteer Freedom Corps could be created, the President continued, it could accomplish three very important things: First, it would induce desertions from countries behind the Iron Curtain and thus create anxiety and unrest in the USSR. Secondly, it would provide a means of securing very desirable types of citizens at the conclusion of their terms of service with the Corps. Thirdly, it would provide this country with good fighting material at a much cheaper rate. “At least”, the President concluded, “I want this new proposal thoroughly and sympathetically studied.”

Mr. Cutler inquired whether the report should be put on the agenda for action next week, and the President said yes.

[Page 184]

Secretary Wilson inquired as to whether this mechanism might not provide us with as much as a division of foreign soldiers for action in Korea.

The President replied that he was not sure, but the idea had merit.

In response to a question from the President, General Bradley summarized what had been done under the Kersten Amendment,3 which provided $100,000,000 for related purposes. He said that the military had been working on various plans under this Amendment, but that on the whole they had not responded very cordially to proposals for such volunteer corps. General Bradley explained that there was anxiety among the military lest such a group should provide a means for Communist infiltration. He also noted that the training of such a force would require a very large expenditure for interpreters and other specialists. However, the military had recently revised a plan and sent it to General Ridgway for his comments.

Secretary Wilson suggested that perhaps plans for such a corps had been thought of too much in a European context. It might be more profitable, as well as more popular, to look at it as of potential use in Asia.

The President talked briefly about the British experience with the so-called Pioneer Corps in World War II. On the whole these groups had proved useful, and the President expressed his belief that the various problems outlined by General Bradley were not so serious as they were made out to be.

The National Security Council:

Discussed the memorandum by the President on the subject (NSC 143), and agreed to place it on the agenda for Council consideration at its meeting on February 25.

[Here follows discussion of armaments and American policy; the formulation of a United States position with respect to the regulation, limitation, and balanced reduction of armed forces and armaments; breaches of security; a program of United Nations actions to stop aggression; and basic national security policies.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Prepared by Gleason on Feb. 19.
  2. Supra.
  3. Section 101(a)(1) of the Mutual Security Act of 1951, P.L. 82–165 (65 Stat. 373), Oct. 10, 1951.