Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

Memorandum of Discussion at the 228th Meeting of the National Security Council on December 9, 19541

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Present at the 228th Council meeting were the President of the United States, presiding; the Vice President of the United States; the Secretary of State; the Secretary of Defense; the Director, Foreign Operations Administration; the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization; the Secretary of the Treasury; the Attorney General (for Item 1); the Director, Bureau of the Budget; the Chairman, U.S. Civil Service Commission (for Item 1); the Chairman, U.S. Information Agency (for Item 2); the Deputy Secretary of Defense; the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Director of Central Intelligence; the Assistant to the President; Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to the President; the NSC Representative on Internal Security (for Item 1); the White House Staff Secretary; and the Acting Executive Secretary, NSC.

There follows a summary of the discussion at the meeting and the main points taken.

[Here follows discussion on security requirements for government employment.]

2. U. S. Policy Toward South Asia (Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated November 12 and 30, 1954;2 NIE 53–54;3 NSC 5409;4 NSC Action No. 1240-b5)

[Page 1148]

Mr. Cutler briefed the Council on the subject report, emphasizing the conclusion reached in the Planning Board on the unlikelihood of any early union of Afghanistan with Pakistan and the undesirability of pressing for such federation. He then pointed to the fact that the Financial Appendix was premised on a policy of continued limited economic assistance to Afghanistan, and might be considerably higher if a policy of increased economic assistance were determined upon by the Council.

Governor Stassen pointed out that he and the Secretary of State had reached agreement that no specific funds as such should be allocated to Afghanistan in the FY 1956 budget. Such assistance as Afghanistan should have would be provided later on from the President’s contingency fund. Thus, said Governor Stassen, the issue of the level of economic assistance to Afghanistan, which had so concerned the Treasury and the Bureau of the Budget, had vanished.

Mr. Cutler then directed the Council’s attention to the split in the policy report in paragraph 56,6 relative to whether increased economic assistance or limited economic assistance should be programmed for Afghanistan. Treasury and Budget had indicated a preference for limited economic assistance.

Secretary Dulles said that he did not consider himself an advocate of substantially increased economic assistance to Afghanistan, and suggested that subparagraph 56-a confine itself to a statement that both technical and economic assistance would be provided to Afghanistan.7

[Page 1149]

The President stated that the real answer to this problem lies in our prospects of success .… if the Afghans really wished to be on the side of the free world rather than merely to play off the Soviet Union and the U.S. to their own advantage, then we might be willing to take a chance with increased assistance.

Governor Stassen agreed with the President, but said he certainly would not advocate increasing economic aid to Afghanistan to the level of $30 million, as contemplated by the State Department in the present report.

Admiral Radford reminded the Council that he had been much interested in Afghanistan, and particularly in the prospects of a federation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, since 1948. He asserted again his feeling that there was a real chance that such federation would come about, and it would be a great stroke from the U.S. point of view. The chief opposition to it in Afghanistan came from the royal family, and he felt that if that attitude could be changed and Indian propaganda were slowed down, the Afghans themselves would be inclined to favor confederation. Admiral Radford also warmly recommended an increase in the number of American visitors of high rank to Afghanistan .…

The Vice President said he thought Admiral Radford’s analysis very much to the point. The opposition to federation, he believed, was concentrated in the small oligarchy which ran Afghanistan, and there were many more considerations that brought Afghanistan and Pakistan together than divided them. Both, for example, were Moslem states, and that was a potential bond. As for economic assistance, continued the Vice President, we should leave the door open to increasing the level of economic aid if this course of action seemed likely to pay off. The Russians were providing a very considerable volume of aid, and the relatively small sum of $30 million might have a disproportionately great effect, considering the small population of Afghanistan. Noting that he had received the most hospitable welcome in Afghanistan in the course of his trip to the Far East last year, the Vice President also strongly backed Admiral Radford’s proposal for additional American visitors to that country.

Mr. Allen Dulles counseled moving to aid Afghanistan in as subtle a fashion as possible. The Soviets were inclined to look on Afghanistan much as the United States did on Guatemala. They were in a position to out-bid us on any assistance programs. Perhaps the most desirable course would be to extend our aid through a third country or through private organizations, rather than directly as a government.

[Page 1150]

Secretary Humphrey referred to a recent conversation with the contractor who had built the large irrigation dam in Afghanistan. This builder, said Secretary Humphrey, was worried sick over the results of the completed dam. It had a great deal more water than could be effectively used, it irrigates more land than can be cultivated, and there were no roads by which the produce of the irrigated lands could be got out. It looked as though, after all this work had been done, there was very little actual use of it. This was the sort of thing which so greatly disturbed the Treasury.

The President inquired what proportion of the Afghan population was nomad, and wondered whether it might be possible to settle some of the nomad population in the irrigated areas.

Referring to Secretary Humphrey’s point about the dam, Governor Stassen pointed out that this project went back five years, and was financed by an Export-Import Bank loan and not by FOA grant. However, the FOA technical mission had been trying to correct the situation with its advice and assistance. Secretary Humphrey stated that this was merely another indication of an area in which more thought rather than more money was requisite.

. . . . . . .

Mr. Cutler pointed out that all these suggestions for handling the Afghanistan problem fell within the limits of the new proposed policy, but he noted that the specialists on Afghanistan who had prepared the staff study did not share Admiral Radford’s enthusiasm for a federation of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He read from the staff study to illustrate doubts as to the likelihood or even the desirability of an early union of the two states.

. . . . . . .

Mr. Allen Dulles pointed out, at the conclusion of the discussion, that Afghanistan had just agreed to resume diplomatic relations with Communist China, This, said Mr. Dulles, was another straw in the wind.

The National Security Council:

Discussed the proposed amendments to the reference report on the subject, prepared by the NSC Planning Board and transmitted by the reference memorandum of November 12, in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff transmitted by the reference memorandum of November 30.
Adopted the proposed amendments subject to the following changes:
Paragraph 56: Delete the bracketed phrase in line 4 and the footnote relating thereto.
Subparagraph 56-a: Delete the footnote relating thereto, and revise to read as follows:

a. By providing technical and economic assistance.”

[Page 1151]

Note: The amendments to the reference report, as adopted in b above and approved by the President, subsequently circulated for insertion in NSC 5409.8

[Here follows a discussion of significant world developments affecting United States security, United States rubber policy, United States objectives and courses of action with respect to Japan, a review of basic national security policy, Fiscal Year 1956 budget considerations, and the status of NSC projects as of December 1, 1954.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. This memorandum was drafted by Deputy Executive Secretary Gleason on Dec. 10.
  2. Executive Secretary Lay, in his memorandum of Nov. 12 for the National Security Council, informed the NSC that he was transmitting to the members, under cover of this memorandum, amendments to Section D of the Draft Statement of Policy Proposed by the National Security Council in NSC 5409, p. 1089. Section D dealt with U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. Lay also advanced the proposal that if the NSC adopted the enclosed amendments, the NSC should submit them to the President with the recommendation that he approve them, and that they be substituted for the existing Section D of NSC 5409. Finally, the Executive Secretary informed the NSC in his memorandum that he was also enclosing a Financial Appendix, indicating the costs of the amended assistance programs for Afghanistan, and a staff study on Afghanistan which was supplementary to the overall South Asia staff study already contained in NSC 5409. (S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, “NSC 5409—Memoranda”)

    In his memorandum for the National Security Council dated Nov. 30, Lay enclosed a memorandum dated Nov. 19 from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which the JCS accepted the suggested amendments to Section D of the Draft Statement of Policy Proposed by the National Security Council in NSC 5409. (S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, “NSC 5409—Memoranda”)

  3. For the text of NIE–53–54, “Outlook for Afghanistan”, Oct. 19, 1954, see p. 1481.
  4. Ante, p. 1089.
  5. NSC Action No. 1240-b was adopted by the National Security Council at its 217th meeting on Oct. 14, 1954. The text reads as follows:

    b. Agreed that the NSC Planning Board should prepare a report on Afghanistan after receipt of a Special Intelligence Estimate on the subject.” (S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) files, lot 66 D 95, “Record of Actions by the NSC, 1954”)

    The materials which Executive Secretary Lay enclosed in his memorandum of Nov. 12 for the National Security Council constituted the report on Afghanistan prepared by the NSC Planning Board. The Special Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan was, in fact, NIE–53–54, “Outlook for Afghanistan”, Oct. 19, 1954.

  6. The text of paragraph 56 in the amended version proposed for Section D of the Draft Statement of Policy contained in NSC 5409, which was transmitted to the NSC under cover of Lay’s memorandum of Nov. 12, reads as follows:

    “56. As a means of increasing Afghanistan’s resistance to Soviet pressures, provide assistance for Afghanistan for those projects which would tend to strengthen its ties with Pakistan [and Iran]:”

    A notation in the quoted text indicates the bracketed section was “Proposed by CIA.” (S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, “NSC 5409—Memoranda”)

  7. The text of subparagraph 56-a in the amended version proposed for Section D of the Draft Statement of Policy contained in NSC 5409, which was transmitted to the NSC under cover of Lay’s memorandum of November 12, reads as follows:

    “a. By providing technical assistance and substantially increased [limited] economic assistance.”

    A notation in the quoted text indicates the bracketed section was “Proposed by Treasury and Budget.” (S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, “NSC 5409—Memoranda”)

  8. These final two paragraphs, numbered a. and b., subparagraphs (1) and (2), and the Note regarding U.S. Policy Toward South Asia were adopted verbatim as NSC Action No. 1282 (S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) files, lot 66 D 95, “Record of Actions by the NSC, 1954”).

    For Executive Secretary Lay’s memorandum, dated Dec. 14, 1954, to the National Security Council enclosing the amendments to Section D of NSC 5409, the Financial Appendix, and the supplementary staff study on Afghanistan, see infra.