Truman Library, Truman papers, PSF–Subject file

No. 238
Memorandum for the President of Discussion at the 125th Meeting of the National Security Council on November 19, 1952 1

top secret

The following notes contain a summary of the discussion at the 125th Meeting of the National Security Council, at which you presided. The Vice President did not attend the meeting because of illness. Under Secretary Bruce attended for the Secretary of State, and Deputy Secretary Foster attended for the Secretary of Defense because of the two Secretaries’ absence from the city. Mr. Leonard Emmerglick participated in the action on Item 2 for the Attorney General.

[Here follows a paragraph in which the participants noted an oral briefing on the military situation in Korea.]

[Page 526]

2. United States Policy Regarding the Present Situation in Iran (NSC 136; Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated November 18 and November 19, 1952; NSC 107/2; NSC 117; SE–33; NIE–75)2

At the conclusion of the briefing on the situation in Korea, the President turned to Mr. Lay, who pointed out that the report on Iran constituted the sole item for consideration scheduled on the agenda for today’s meeting. He also pointed out that the Director of Defense Mobilization, though not at this meeting, had concurred in the present report. Mr. Lay called attention to the fact that Mr. Emmerglick for the Attorney General was present to discuss the areas of the paper which involved the Department of Justice.

The President then turned to Secretary Bruce and asked if he cared to comment on the report.

Secretary Bruce replied that he agreed with the paper and therefore had no comments to make at this time.

The President then asked Secretary Foster for the Defense views.

Secretary Foster emphasized the seriousness with which the Defense Department regarded the situation in Iran, and also stressed the Defense view that the present paper must be regarded as an interim policy. He noted that the present paper was designed if possible to effect a solution of the Iranian problem in the first instance by political and economic measures, and went on to express the hope that the courses of action set forth in these fields would be pursued aggressively. If the results of pursuing a policy which called for cooperation with the British proved unsuccessful, continued Secretary Foster, it would be necessary for the United States to proceed unilaterally to get Iranian oil flowing again and to get Iran back on our side. In conclusion, Secretary Foster expressed the hope that non-military measures would succeed in solving the Iranian problem, but added that if they did not, the Defense Department had already reached tentative conclusions as to the feasibility of the military courses of action which the present report envisaged. He said he felt constrained to point out that these military courses of action would be extremely difficult to implement and would require the transfer of American forces from other areas where the United States had commitments, or else an increase in the level of forces now in being or planned. Accordingly, it was particularly [Page 527] desirable to achieve our objectives in Iran if possible by non-military means.

. . . . . . .

Secretary Bruce then addressed a question to Mr. Emmerglick relative to the attitude of the Department of Justice to a move by the State Department to hold conversations with major oil companies as to ways and means of getting Iranian oil flowing.

Mr. Emmerglick replied that he agreed in principle to the institution of such talks, and did not see any reason why the current problems involving these oil companies should inhibit such talks as the State Department desired to undertake. He did point out, however, that the Department of Justice would naturally wish to reserve its position with respect to any specific plan which might evolve as a result of the conversations Secretary Bruce had in mind.

The National Security Council:

Noted the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including the reference to the Treaty of Friendship Between Persia and the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic signed at Moscow on February 26, 1921.
Adopted the statement of policy contained in NSC 136, subject to the revisions recommended therein by the Senior NSC Staff in the enclosure to the reference memorandum of November 19.
Noted that Mr. Emmerglick for the Attorney General, while concurring in principle with subparagraph (4) on page 4 of NSC 136, reserved the position of the Department of Justice on specific plans which might be submitted to it pursuant thereto.

Note: Mr. Emmerglick for the Attorney General participated in the above action with the Council. The Director of Defense Mobilization was unable to attend the Council meeting, but his office has indicated concurrence with NSC 136, as amended. NSC 136, as amended, subsequently submitted to the President for consideration.3

[Here follow considerations of the definition of United States policy on problems of the defense of Europe and the German contribution, United States policies and programs in the economic field which might affect the war potential of the Soviet bloc, the security of strategically important industrial operations in foreign countries, United States policy toward inter-American military collaboration, and the status of NSC projects as of November 14.]

  1. Prepared on Nov. 19, presumably by the Secretariat of the NSC. According to the minutes of the meeting, which consist of a list of participants and a brief list of decisions taken at the meeting, the following members of the Council attended: President Truman, presiding, Acting Secretary of State Bruce, Acting Secretary of Defense Foster, Director for Mutual Security Harriman, and Chairman of the National Security Resources Board Gorrie. Others present at the meeting included Leonard Emmerglick, for the Attorney General; Sidney W. Souers, Special Consultant to the President; General J. Lawton Collins, for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Lay and S. Everett Gleason of the NSC Secretariat. (Minutes of the 125th meeting of the NSC, Nov. 19; Truman Library, Truman papers, PSF–Subject file)
  2. For texts of NSC 107/2 and NSC 117, see Documents 32 and 111. NIE–75, Nov. 13, 1952, has not been found in Department of State files; SE–33, Oct. 14, 1952, is in INR–SE files. Regarding NSC 136 and the memoranda of Nov. 18 and 19, see infra .
  3. These three lettered paragraphs and Note concerning U.S. policy regarding the present situation in Iran were adopted verbatim as NSC Action No. 680. (S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) files, lot 66 D 95, “Record of Actions by the National Security Council, 1952”)