Eisenhower Library, C.D. Jackson records, 1953–56
The Special Assistant to the
President (Jackson) to the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee
on NSC 143 (Crittenberger)
Dear General Crittenberger: With all the “peace talk” that is in the air these days, I imagine that an inevitable development has been some fresh doubts as to the advisability of a Volunteer Freedom Corps at this time.
It is only normal that some people should feel that such a development on our part would not only be in contradiction of our good faith in exploring all opportunities for peace, but might even be considered by the enemy a move of such threatening portent as to drive them back to their original belligerence.
If we run into this kind of thinking, we should stand up to it with vigor, because from the viewpoint of the particular business in which I am engaged, the facts and the logic and the strategy seem to call for greater rather than less emphasis of VFC.
For whatever it is worth, here is my thinking, which I tried to convey to your Committee when I appeared as a witness.1
The problem presents itself on the basis of three different assumptions:
- The Russian peace overtures are sincere
- The Russian peace overtures are insincere
- We want to do VFC anyhow but must keep it under wraps until the perfect moment.
Given the assumption that the Russians are sincere, why is it that they are sincere this time whereas that has never been the case prior to now? They have certainly not acquired a new morality overnight, nor a new code of genuine international ethics. All they have acquired overnight—the night that Stalin died—is fear. Therefore this new apparent sincerity is nothing more than the urgency of fear, the personal fear of individual big-shots for their future.
In that case, the creation of VFC simply adds to that fear and to that urgency, and could conceivably accelerate rather than retard peaceful developments.
On the assumption that the Russians are insincere, I think the answer is fairly obvious. The creation of VFC will not only make them aware that we see through their game but would probably unmask them through their reaction, as this is the kind of action on our part they fear greatly. Furthermore, it will be the kind of sign to the satellites for which we have been searching for a long time, and it is in the satellite area that we must look for the kind of passive unrest that will cause trouble in the Kremlin.
Not to be overlooked is the fact that we will be creating at minimum cost, and in a minimum period of time, an asset that can be of great value in our worldwide alert.
As to the assumption that we should bide our time until the “perfect” moment—this one I consider completely unrealistic. If everyrthing is done that has to be done in order to bring this project to the point of 24-hour notice push-button activation, it will be impossible to keep it secret, and all that will result is that we will have frittered away whatever benefit we might have gotten from having taken a positive stand on (1) and (2) above.
The fundamental objectives of the Government of the United States with respect to the Soviet System have been clearly stated in a series of NSC papers—NSC 20/4, NSC 68, NSC 114, NSC 135.2 In essence, these fundamental objectives are:
- To bring about a retraction of Soviet power and influence from the satellites and Communist China, and thus a reduction of Soviet power and influence in world affairs.
- To bring about a fundamental change in the nature of the Soviet System which would be reflected above all in the conduct of [Page 213] international relations by the Soviet Regime, in a manner consistent with the spirit and purpose of the United Nations Charter.
These objectives cannot be achieved simply by passive and pacific reactions to Soviet initiative. They can be achieved by consistent, positive pressure at all points of the line. VFC is an excellent example of that kind of pressure, that kind of initiative, possessing the added advantage that although it creates a military asset, it is not the kind of action which per se might precipitate total war.
- For the substance of Jackson’s testimony before Crittenberger’s committee, see the record of meeting, supra.↩
- For text of NSC 20/4, “U.S. Objectives with Respect to the USSR to Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. Security”, Nov. 23, 1948, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 662; for NSC 68, “U.S. Objectives and Programs for National Security,” Apr. 14, 1950, see ibid., 1950 vol. i, p. 234; for NSC 114, “Status and Timing of Current U.S. Programs for National Security,” revised and issued as NSC 114/1 on Aug. 8, 1951, see ibid., 1951, vol. i, p. 127; for NSC 135, “Reappraisal of U.S. Objectives and Strategy for National Security,” revised and issued as NSC 135/3 on Sept. 25, 1952, see ibid., 1952–1954, vol. ii, Part 1, p. 142.↩