No. 239
Editorial Note

As early as September 18, the Senior Staff of the NSC had agreed that NSC 107/2 (Document 32) was outdated, and that the Senior Department of State Member should explore the practicability of issuing a new statement of policy to supersede NSC 107/2. On October 1 and 7, Executive Secretary lay distributed memoranda to the Senior Staff enclosing changes in NSC 107/2 proposed by the Senior Defense and Senior State Members, respectively. The Senior Staff, in turn, directed the NSC Staff Assistants on October 9 to prepare a draft revision of the statement of policy contained in NSC 107/2 for Senior Staff consideration at its meeting on October 16. Acting Executive Secretary Gleason distributed the Staff Assistants’ draft revision of the statement of policy in NSC 107/2 to the Senior Staff on October 13.

The Senior Staff failed to consider the Staff Assistants’ draft statement of policy until November 4, at which time the Senior Staff considered not only the October 13 draft statement but also suggested changes in it proposed in a memorandum from the Senior State Member which was circulated by Executive Secretary Lay on October 29. On November 4, the Senior Staff Members were unable to agree to the contents of the two documents and directed the Senior State and Defense Members to compose their differences the following day to enable the Senior Staff to resume consideration of the draft statement of policy on November 6. On November 5 the Senior State and Acting Senior Defense Members successfully resolved their differences, and Executive Secretary Lay that day circulated a memorandum to the Senior Staff to that effect. On November 6, the Senior Staff approved the draft statement of policy dated October 13, the proposed revisions thereto of October 29 and November 5, and submitted the draft statement of policy as amended to the National Security Council on November 6 as NSC 136.

The Senior Staff of the NSC was required, however, to take further action on NSC 136 prior to the National Security Council’s consideration of it on November 19. On November 14, Executive Secretary Lay distributed a memorandum to the Senior Staff enclosing suggested changes advanced by the Senior CIA Member. Additionally, on November 18, Lay distributed, under a covering memorandum to the National Security Council, a memorandum signed by General Bradley in which he recommended, on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that subparagraph 5b should be marked [Page 529] with an asterisk, and that there should be inserted a corresponding footnote which would read:

“If for overriding political reasons it is found necessary for the United States to provide military forces in this area, implementation will require either a substantial augmentation of over-all United States forces or a reduction of present United States military commitments elsewhere.”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff also noted that there was no mention made in the draft statement of policy of the Treaty of Friendship Between Persia and the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republics signed on February 26, 1921, and recommended that the National Security Council not overlook this aspect of the problem when it took action on NSC 136.

Consequently, the Senior Staff, on November 18, reviewed NSC 136 in light of the CIA and JCS suggestions, and agreed to recommend to the National Security Council for its consideration the revisions advanced by CIA and JCS along with three minor changes in phraseology. Executive Secretary Lay, under cover of a memorandum dated November 19, conveyed these suggested revisions to the members of the National Security Council. The textual differences between NSC 136/1, infra , and the draft statement of policy, NSC 136, November 6, are indicated in footnotes, infra .

Documents cited in this editorial note are in the following Department of State lot files: S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, “NSC 136: United States Policy Regarding the Present Situation in Iran”; S/PNSC files, lot 61 D 167, “Iran, US Policy Regarding the Present Situation, NSC 117, 136, 136/1”; and S/PNSC files, lot 62 D 1, “Record of Meeting Senior Staff, 1950–52”.