S/S–NSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 5435 Series
Report by the OCB Ad Hoc Working Group on the Implementation of
NSC 143/2 to the Operations
Implementation of Paragraph 8 of NSC 143/22
- Paragraph 8 of NSC 143/2
“In the event of delay in the initiation of the Volunteer Freedom Corps project and upon instruction of the NSC, there should be put into effect an interim proposal designed to expand the existing Labor Service Organization in Germany …”3
- On June 8, 1954, the Department of Defense submitted to the
Operations Coordinating Board a memorandum recommending the
expansion of the Labor Service Organization, (LSO’s)4 Germany. The
Board considered the memorandum at their meeting of June 10,
1954. The minutes of the meeting record the Board’s action as
“Agenda Item 3—Report by the Department of Defense on paragraph 8 of NSC 143/2[Page 233]
- “Noted the report and agreed in principle that the labor service units should be expanded.
- “Agreed that the report should be referred to an ad hoc working group chaired by Defense to give further consideration to the question of how much should the LSU’s be expanded and whether or not the Soviet nationals should be enlisted therein. Also agreed that the ad hoc working group should prepare a draft report to the NSC making certain recommendations based on the Defense report and further Board discussion at this meetng.”
- In accordance with the directive of the OCB, this paper is submitted by the ad hoc working group.
facts bearing on the problem
- In the total current strength of the LSO (approximately 26,500), there are about 10,600 Eastern Europeans and about 15,900 Germans. No USSR nationals are now included. Within two years after the contractual agreements with the West German Government take effect, all of the German personnel must be discharged from the Labor Service Organization.
- There are available in Europe, within the FOA Escapee Program case load, an estimated 6,000 males from the Soviet Orbit between the ages of 18 and 45 (about 5,000 from Eastern Europe, and 1,000 from the Soviet Union). This group, plus the large number of escapees and refugees not registered with the Escapee Program, roughly two-thirds of which are located in Germany and Austria, could furnish a pool from which new recruits for an expanded Labor Service Organization might be drawn.
- The U.S. Commander in Chief, Europe (USCINCEUR) has stated that he could organize one additional reduced strength Labor Service Unit (about 150 men) with present funds and supervisory personnel. Beyond this, however, USCINCEUR would require additional funds and additional supervisory personnel.
- The cost per man year for expansion of the LSO in Germany is estimated at $1,200.00, excluding the cost of training and transporting. Although there is no prohibition against dependents among the personnel of the LSO, the U.S. Army accepts no responsibility therefor. Within limitations of program and budget,FOA/USEP is willing to provide continued subsistence, as well as special short-term grants such as extra transportation to dependents of escapees recruited in the proposed expansion of the Labor Service Units.
- Other than the extremely useful guard and labor functions performed by Labor Service Units, values to U.S. objectives have been very limited. Employment for Eastern Europeans has been effected on a small scale and, to a limited degree, a holding facility of possible operational interest has been afforded. As far as can be determined, [Page 234] no effort has been made to exploit the Labor Service Units for propaganda purposes, particularly in terms of possible inducement propaganda.
- The Labor Service Organization is designed to perform certain guard and labor duties, thus relieving U.S. combat forces of non-combat duties. Any expansion of labor forces would result primarily in freeing U.S. personnel from housekeeping duties for additional combat training but would not constitute an increase in current U.S. combat strength.
An expansion of the LSO at this time would serve three purposes:
- to increase the labor force available to the U.S. military.
- to offer more attractive possibilities to potential Soviet defectors.
- to provide additional employment opportunities to escapees currently residing in Europe.
It is probable that, from the military standpoint, intially at least, a small increase in strength will scarcely compensate for the political and administrative problems involved. However, it is felt that the recruitment of Eastern Europeans, especially escapees from the USSR, will contribute substantially to the accomplishment of the over-all objectives of the U.S. Escapee Program.
- After the contractual agreements with the West German Government take effect, the LSO will lose about 60% of its personnel. Possible means to compensate for this great loss in labor and guard personnel should therefore be explored immediately. As an initial step the military should be authorized to introduce more non-German personnel into the Labor Service Units. It is suggested that the initial expansion be limited to 1,000 persons. This figure has been chosen as being within the limits imposed by budget considerations and the availability of personnel. Approval of this figure will serve to authorize USCINCEUR to initiate a program of expansion and to provide him with a ceiling figure for budget planning purposes.
- Though administration of East European escapees, particularly those from the USSR, in the LSO may cause difficulties for local commanders and perhaps the U.S. Government, the potential psychological advantages to be derived from the inclusion of USSR nationals, who have not heretofore been eligible, suggest that a substantial number of the new recruits be USSR escapees. Premature propaganda exploitation, however, should be avoided because there is a danger that the U.S. will be besieged by various émigré leaders [Page 235] seeking to create their own “armies” or to foster their own political theories. In order to forestall controversial issues among the USSR recruits and the émigré factions, it is further considered desirable to avoid any administrative action which would tend to imply partiality. For this reason, it is felt that the new USSR components should not be identified by any sort of Russian title or emblem and that primarily ease of control should govern their organization. If the expansion is initiated without publicity or open controversy, the organization of new units can be accomplished in an efficient fashion. Any news which may leak out regarding this expansion will constitute effective propaganda. When the new units have been formed and are operating satisfactorily, general propaganda treatment may be considered.
- Expansion of the LSO is an interim measure in our psychological campaign. The LSO is not a substitute for, nor should it be confused with, the VFC. The potential appeal of the VFC to the slave nations of Eastern Europe is a strong one and contains obvious psychological advantages. Expansion of the LSO, however, should give some useful pointers in connection with the future establishment of a Volunteer Freedom Corps.
- The Kersten Amendment to the Mutual Security Act authorizes the expenditure, within certain prescribed limits, of Mutual Security Program funds to aid persons residing in, or escapees from, the Soviet Union or areas dominated by it. Assistance provided by the U.S. under this authority is for the purpose of forming such persons as described into elements of military forces supporting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or for other purposes when the President determines that such assistance will contribute to the defense of the North Atlantic area or to the security of the U.S. The proposed expansion of the LSO falls within the purposes of the Kersten Amendment.
- That any expansion of Labor Service Units must not affect current and planned strengths of U.S. combat forces in Europe.
- That, initially, the principal advantages accruing from the expansion of the LSO would be found in the provision of employment for escapees. If USSR escapees are included, such expansion may have the added advantage of disarming criticism resulting from the past policy of excluding USSR nationals from membership.
- That a present limited expansion of the LSO constitutes a preliminary step toward compensating for the manpower loss which will result after the contractual agreements take effect.
- That, initially at least, any expansion, especially the inclusion of USSR escapees, should be accomplished without publicity since [Page 236] difficult problems of adaptation and control may be involved and because more than enough candidates are available. However, that propaganda treatment of the Labor Service Units may be instituted as such action is determined to be appropriate.
- That expansion of the LSO as recommended in this paper shall in no sense be considered as a substitute for the activation of a VFC as envisaged in NSC 143/2.
- That funds for the proposed expansion of the LSO are available under the Kersten Amendment to the Mutual Security Act.
- That an expansion not to exceed 1,000 Soviet Orbit nationals be authorized for the LSO.
- That at least5 500 of this additional personnel be former USSR nationals.
- That the former USSR nationals be formed into separate organizational groups as dictated by language and administrative requirements. No action should be taken (the wearing of insignia shoulder patches, etc.) which would imply U.S. recognition of constituent parts of the pre-1939 Soviet Union.
- That until adequate observation can be made of initial results, no publicity be accorded this expansion. The LSO may contain valuable propaganda possibilities, however, which should be systematically utilized to the extent that this will not interfere with its primary mission.
- That recruits referred by FOA/USEP and other agencies be afforded preference. Recognition should be accorded the greater values implicit in the enlistment of recent escapees.
- That funds for this purpose be furnished under the authority of the Kersten Amendment. The estimated cost per year is set at $1,200,000 for 1,000 additional personnel.
- This report, together with Crittenberger’s memorandum, supra, formed the substance of NSC 5435/1; for a description of NSC 5435/1, see footnote 1, supra.↩
- Document 80.↩
- Ellipsis in the source text.↩
- Not found in Department of State files.↩
- Subsequently amended by the National Security Council by substituting the words “if possible” for “at least”. (NSC Action No. 1244–b) [Footnote in the source text.]↩