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

No. 80
Report to the National Security Council by the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)1

top secret
NSC 143/2

Statement of Policy by the National Security Council on a Volunteer Freedom Corps

In the interest of the national security and to the end of strengthening the capability of the free world to resist aggression, and in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter, a Volunteer Freedom Corps should be established. Its purpose would be to provide additional combat manpower whereby “Volunteers for Freedom” of many nationalities, who otherwise do not have the opportunity to bear arms in defense of freedom, can share with the youth of the United States and its allies in the world struggle against Soviet Communism.
Initially this program should be carried out on a modest and austere basis by the formation of several battalions of volunteers from anti-Soviet personnel, other than Germans, escaped from the European Iron Curtain countries, including the U.S.S.R. Such battalions should be trained in West Germany. These battalions would form the cadre units for further orderly development if an emergency arose or more volunteers became available. Emphasis should be placed on exploiting the psychological aspects of this project in a manner to further United States national objectives.
The Volunteer Freedom Corps should be organized along the following lines:
The United States Army, under appropriate legislative authority, should support a Volunteer Freedom Corps composed of infantry battalions and supporting units. The United States Army is selected as the executive agency to accomplish this implementation because arms, training, and maintenance should be provided by the United States.
With concurrence from the Department of State, the Army may establish distinctive shoulder patches, insignia, flags, ceremonies, etc. for any nationality participating in the Corps.
To obtain voluntary enlistments, the United States as necessary or expedient should carry on an active recruiting campaign. The name “Volunteer Freedom Corps” emphasizes that persons enlisting therein are not in any way mercenaries or soldiers of fortune, but are sincere, convinced, anti-Soviet volunteers for freedom.
Upon enlistment in the Corps:
A volunteer will take an oath of obedience to the military orders of his officers.
A volunteer will be paid in accordance with a schedule similar to the armies of countries in the European Defense Community, but not to exceed three-fourths of the United States Army base pay schedule.
A volunteer’s dependents will not be the responsibility of the United States Army nor the Volunteer Freedom Corps.
Units of the Volunteer Freedom Corps should be commanded by United States officers and attached to divisions, either of United States or of United Nations forces, as deemed at the time most advantageous.
A system of military justice equivalent, for all practical purposes, to that provided for members of the armed forces of the United States should be established for the Volunteer Freedom Corps.
Any person who has performed satisfactory service in the Volunteer Freedom Corps for three years, should, if otherwise admissible under the immigration laws, be admitted to the United States as non-quota immigrant; and naturalization should be permitted after two years residence in the United States and compliance otherwise with the provisions of the naturalization laws.
Diplomatic approaches should be made to obtain the advance concurrence of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to the formation of the Volunteer Freedom Corps within its borders. The UK and French Governments should be informed in advance of contemplated action to initiate the Volunteer Freedom Corps.2
Within the limits determined in the above approaches to other governments concerned, necessary legislative authority should be sought from the Congress for the Volunteer Freedom Corps project.
Until it becomes psychologically advantageous to announce the project, the most exacting precautions should be taken to insure the secrecy of the undertaking during its preparatory stages so as to avoid prematurely committing the prestige of the United States.
If future conditions warrant, the National Security Council should give consideration to expansion of the Volunteer Freedom Corps in over-all strength and to inclusion of personnel from other areas. The existence of any plans for such future expansion, even in highly tentative form, should be scrupulously withheld from disclosure to the public and to other governments to avoid unnecessarily jeopardizing the initial plan and causing undue harm to the prestige of the United States.
In the event of delay in the initiation of the Volunteer Freedom Corps project, and upon instruction of the National Security Council, there should be put into effect an interim proposal designed to expand the existing Labor Service Organization in Germany until such time as it is considered desirable or possible to undertake the Volunteer Freedom Corps program. Funds for the interim project should be made available to the Department of Defense by the Director for Mutual Security, under the Kersten Amendment.
  1. In addition to the Statement of Policy printed here, NSC 143/2 consisted of a cover sheet, a note by Lay to the NSC, and the staff study prepared by the Crittenberger Committee (see Document 74). Lay’s note, May 20, indicated the change made in NSC 143/1 at the May 20 NSC meeting (see the memorandum of discussion, supra) and communicated the President’s desires to have Crittenberger remain available for implementing the VFC, to charge the Department of State with expediting the action recommended in paragraph 4 of the Statement of Policy, and to hold NSC 143/2 temporarily secret.
  2. In circular airgram 7, June 1, the Department of State transmitted to the Chiefs of Mission in London, Paris, and Bonn an outline of the plan for the Volunteer Freedom Corps and a stricture against using this outline in conversations with representatives of the respective governments until receipt of further notification from Washington. (740.5/6–153) This stricture was included at the behest of C.D. Jackson during a meeting on May 29 in which Jackson expressed reservations about the timing of such an approach with the Korean armistice talks underway and the Bermuda Conference imminent. (Memorandum by Barbour to Smith, May 30; 740.5/5–3053)