S/S–NSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 5435 Series
Memorandum by Lieutenant General
Crittenberger to the Operations
- Timing of the Implementation of the VFC
- In compliance with orders given me by the President of the United States I have visited France, Western Germany, and Great Britain where I conferred with U.S. diplomatic and military representatives [Page 231] regarding the implementation of the Volunteer Freedom Corps.
- The consensus of opinion of both the diplomatic and military
representatives was that:
- The VFC should be held in abeyance until the problem of EDC is resolved in order to avoid the risk of prejudicing the success of EDC.
- If EDC is accepted and ratified the time would be appropriate to consider the implementation of VFC.
- VFC should be reconsidered in the reappraisal of the military situation should EDC be rejected. VFC would offer certain advantages. It might add substance to our Armed Forces in enhancing their prestige with the satellite peoples through escapee enlistment in VFC. It would also demonstrate to the captive peoples behind the iron curtain our interest in them.
- The reaction of West Germany is the principal one to consider.
In arriving at the foregoing opinions, the following individuals were consulted:
- Ambassador C. Douglas Dillon, United States Ambassador to France.
- Ambassador James B. Conant, United States Ambassador to Western Germany.
- Ambassador Winthrop W. Aldrich, United States Ambassador to England.
- Generals Alfred M. Gruenther, Thomas T. Handy, Orval R. Cook, and William M. Hoge.
The Generals agreed that technically the VFC presents no insurmountable difficulty, although politically it would seem best to hold implementation in abeyance until EDC was resolved.
- I discussed the LSU’s with the military and found them highly appreciative of that organization. An opinion was expressed that were VFC to be formed, it might be well to avoid transferring personnel out of LSU into the VFC, and instead, recruit VFC volunteers from other sources. This would avoid interruption of the smooth functioning of LSU, although the qualifications of certain LSU personnel for VFC is recognized.
- I did not discuss the matter of recruiting escapees from within the USSR.
- In company with General Robert Cutler I have reported my observations to the President as in agreement with the opinions of the diplomatic and military personnel set forth in the preceding paragraphs.
- I have met with my ad hoc working group and discussed with them my trip abroad. At this meeting the suggestion of the member from the Bureau of the Budget that his Bureau continue [Page 232] working on the Executive Order was confirmed. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Ad Hoc Committee was adjourned until such time as they may be required.
It is recommended that the Operations Coordinating Board take the following actions:
- Hold the implementation of the VFC in abeyance until the fate of EDC is resolved.
- When the problem of the EDC is resolved, favorably or unfavorably, re-examine the plan and consider it in the light of the factors which may then exist.
- This memorandum, together with the report by the OCB ad hoc working group on the implementation of NSC 143/2, infra, formed the substance of NSC 5435/1, “Expansion of the Labor Service Organization in Germany,” Oct. 18, approved by the President on Oct. 16. In addition to these two papers, NSC 5435/1 included a cover sheet; a memorandum by Lay to the NSC, Oct. 18, noting that the NSC approved the policy on Oct. 14; a list of approved recommendations identical to those contained in the ad hoc working group report of Sept. 8; and a memorandum by Staats, Sept. 29, transmitting the Crittenberger memorandum and the ad hoc working group report to Lay for presentation to the NSC.↩