State-JCS Meetings, lot 61 D 417
Memorandum on the Substance of Discussions at a Department of State-Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting1
[Here follows a list of the persons present (18). All of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff except General Bradley attended the meeting. Matthews headed the Department of State group.]
General Vandenberg: I believe you want to discuss the problem of Southeast Asia in preparation for this afternoon’s NSC meeting.
Mr. Matthews: Yes, I would like to ask Mr. Nitze to begin the discussion.
Mr. Nitze: The first question seems to me to be procedural in character. We have a draft NSC paper and the JCS comments thereon,2 and the problem is how to proceed to develop a final paper. I have the impression that the military decision depends on the NSC decision, at least your paper seems to give that impression. At the same time, it is clear that the NSC decision depends in part on military considerations. We seem to have a chicken and egg proposition here.
General Vandenberg: It seems to us that there must be a decision regarding the political importance of the fall of Indochina, or for that matter of all Southeast Asia, to the eventual position of the United States in the world. If the loss of these areas is really as important to the United States as it appears to be to the JCS, then the U.S. must decide whether it intends to live, or indeed can live, in a world that has gone by. If the importance of these developments has been correctly judged to be very great, the matter should be put to the JCS in that way. The JCS has to know whether the U.S. must hold in this area or go down. With that decision in hand the JCS would have the necessary directive to figure out the cost and requirements of the necessary military action. We [Page 56] cannot begin to cost until we know whether our action will be taken in cooperation with allies or without them. It would be a waste of time to do this job unless we know that a political decision on the importance of the area has been taken. If it is not as important as we believe, then we should know that and should know, furthermore, where the line is on which we have to hold.
Mr. Nitze: Your paper gives the impression that we should not take the action indicated in NSC 124 unless certain pre-conditions have been established. These pre-conditions relate to such matters as our military build-up, a cut-back in MDAP deliveries to Europe (on grounds that there is not enough slack in the program to make up the Far Eastern requirements except by cutting back on NATO deliveries), a commitment by the French to provide the ground forces required to hold Indochina, a decision by the U.S. that it will not participate in military coordination in the area, and finally, freedom of action for the U.S. with respect to China. Now it seems to us that pre-conditions of this kind cannot possibly be met. We therefore come to the conclusion that your paper really concludes that the policy set forth in NSC 124 should not be approved.
General Vandenberg: That would not be a correct conclusion in my judgment. Your chain of reasoning is not correct. You seem to think that we are saying that wherever trouble breaks out the answer is defense. That is not necessarily so. However, when there has been a decision that an area has to be held, then the JCS should be told about it in order that it can figure out the cost. You should not leap to the conclusion that we are opposed to the defense of Indochina. All that we are saying is that, as regards some of the solutions which have been proposed, we cannot support them. If we go on the way we are, all the requirements for this area will have to be obtained by shifts from other areas. If the necessary decision is made, we can then cut civilian consumption and strengthen our armed forces, but there is no sense in our assuming these things and making a firm war plan until we find out just how important the NSC believes this area is.
Mr. Nitze: Of course no one can give you a statement that anything is so important that any cost whatever is worthwhile.
General Vandenberg: If that is so, then I think your position really is that Indochina can be permitted to fall. I say that because if there is any doubt whatever that the U.S. should pull in its belt, then the question cannot possibly be one of U.S. survival.
Mr. Nitze: The decision should be made the other way around. The NSC should have the best estimate it can get of the consequences of a decision to defend Indochina and of the requirements for that defense.[Page 57]
General Collins: We really can’t put a lot of people to work on a war plan unless we have the necessary planning assumptions.
Mr. Bohlen: I would like to point out that this paper was run through the NSC Senior Staff very rapidly in order to give the JCS the basis it needed for its planning. NSC 124 does provide planning assumptions. It states that the U.S. should be prepared to go to war with Communist China if there is identifiable Chinese Communist aggression. That of course is not a final U.S. decision for such a decision cannot be made until we know the costs of carrying it out. I think that is the point which Paul has been trying to make.
(Members of the JSSC3 joined the meeting at this point.)
General Vandenberg: In effect, then, you say let it go?
Mr. Nitze: Not at all. We do not let something go simply because it is not absolutely important.
General Vandenberg: The JCS paper does outline the military implications of the situation in Southeast Asia.
Mr. Bohlen: Before the NSC can make a final decision on this matter it has got to have a better idea of the real meaning of its decision. We hoped that you would operate on the assumption that we would defend Indochina and tell us what it would cost to do this. No one can decide an issue as vital as this one without this knowledge of the consequences. For example, if the decision was taken and if it was then found that the consequences included the disruption of NATO, the withdrawal of our troops from Western Europe, the redeployment of the Fleet, and so on, then the responsible men would say that if they had known what the consequences would be they would not have taken the decision. There is, after all, a certain relativity in everything.
General Collins: I think the time has come when the NSC itself should consider this matter. They will get a good idea of its significance by reading the papers that have now been prepared. If they come back and say they need such-and-such from the JCS, we will do our best to reply and I hope we will have enough time.
Mr. Bohlen: This paper passed the Senior Staff three weeks ago, which, by the way, was done because the JCS representative said that that much time would be required. We hoped to obtain the JCS view so that the NSC would have all the pieces of this puzzle. As matters stand, there are great gaps in the information.
General Collins: Are the British and French going to join with us in this or not?
General Vandenberg: Are we going to do this with the forces we now have or are we going into full mobilization? Are we going to make war against China by ourselves or are we going to use indigenous [Page 58] forces supplemented by our own? In other words, how important is it to the U.S. to do this and to do it fast? Do we intend to fiddle around? Until we know how important it is in terms of our world economic position and our international position generally, how can we in the JCS advocate any particular methods of doing it?
Admiral Fechteler: It seems to me that the military implications of NSC 124 are pretty well spelled out by the JCS in the section of their comments that begins with paragraph 16.4
General Vandenberg: We have laid the groundwork for saying how much the job will cost and it seems to me that our superiors can tell us on this basis whether or not the job is worth doing.
Mr. Nitze: Let’s look at paragraph 16 a moment. It says in effect that this action would increase our risks and therefore call for increased mobilization. The obverse of this is that if Southeast Asia falls, we may also have to increase our mobilization.
General Vandenberg: The point you make is the very one we have tried to make. We want the NSC to realize that if the situation is left untouched, changes of one kind or another will be required. In other words, do we let it fall and then rearm or do we rearm and do something about it?
Mr. Nitze: On this one you will find that State fully supports you.
Mr. Bohlen: NSC 124 says that the area is vital to the U.S.
General Vandenberg: That is not an approved statement.
Mr. Nitze: General Vandenberg is right on that point. The draft of NSC 124 is, of course, a tentative draft. Before it could be approved there would have to be an evaluation of the costs to carry out the recommended policy.
Mr. Bohlen: The question, I think, is whether this paper permits the NSC to look the problem in the eye. In my judgment it does not. There is not enough here to go on.
Mr. Nitze: What bothers me is that this paper says that the whole thing is impracticable.[Page 59]
General Collins: If the members of the NSC will really read that paper and study it I think we can get ahead with the job.
Mr. Nitze: I can assure you that our Secretary will read it and study it.
General Collins: Mr. Lovett will also.
Mr. Bohlen: And I think the President will, since he asked for it and has been very insistent on obtaining it before he leaves for Key West.
General Vandenberg: Out of the discussions there should come something which would enable us to go ahead.
General Collins: The NSC discussions should enable the JCS to proceed with more specific guidance than it now has about the planning assumptions that should be made.
Mr. Bohlen: May I ask what planning assumptions the JCS needs which it does not have? NSC 124 provides two assumptions. First, that Southeast Asia is important enough to the U.S. so that the U.S. should be prepared to make war against Communist China in order to defend Southeast Asia, and second, that in the defense of Southeast Asia the U.S. will be supported by France and the U.K.
General Vandenberg: Recent discussions with the British and French Chiefs of Staff indicated that this is not a valid assumption.
Mr. Bohlen: It is perhaps not a wholly valid assumption, but the contrary assumption would not be valid either. One question is whether we have political support. Another question is what military support we would receive.
General Vandenberg: The view of the British and French Chiefs was that they have been constrained by the foreign policies of their governments. There is no point in planning on the active participation of the British and French and of costing on this basis unless we are going to get that support. Our war plan will be very different in the case of British and French support than in the case of unilateral action by the U.S. A solution based on an illogical assumption would not be any good. That is why we need to have these things resolved.
Mr. Matthews: Was there any clarification of this matter at Lisbon?
General Collins: Secretary Acheson and Foreign Minister Eden both said they had read the tripartite paper. Mr. Schuman had not read it and asked whether another Ministers’ meeting could be held on this subject.
General Vandenberg: Mr. Lovett came back, I believe, with the feeling that the French are going to pull out of Indochina.
Mr. Nitze: Our Secretary came back with the view that the U.S. has to decide within a few weeks whether to increase its support to France. If we don’t the French will, in his view, probably pull out. [Page 60] Their decision probably depends upon the amount of budgetary aid we can provide.
Mr. Matthews: If it comes to a showdown between French interests in Western Europe and French interests in Southeast Asia, I feel sure that the French will decide for Western Europe and pull out of Indochina.
Mr. Nitze: If the question is put to our allies as one involving the continuation of NATO and the maintenance of military aid, then they will decide that Southeast Asia is not worth defending at the expense of the position in Western Europe.
General Vandenberg: Well, we ought to know that. We have to know what areas they will support us in. We have also got to know whether they will approve our doing the job in the way we think the job has to be done.
Mr. Bohlen: British and French support means mainly political support. I take it no one thinks they can provide much military backing. The assumption you are asked to go on is not absolutely provable. However, we have to get French and British support if we are going to war with Communist China, for without their support we might lose the whole NATO structure.
Mr. Nitze: …5 and we would lose Southeast Asia anyway.
General Collins: All you are saying confirms me in my view that this is a political problem.
Mr. Bohlen: It is for that reason that we provided the two planning assumptions: first, that Southeast Asia is worth fighting for, and second, that it is worth fighting for on condition that we have political support from the French and British. The first assumption is clear and demonstrable; the second one is uncertain. In estimating costs and requirements you would use these assumptions and if the second assumption proved to be wrong, then of course the whole estimate would be wrong.
General Vandenberg: Will the British accept the threat to Hong Kong arising from a blockade of China, or won’t they? One slight shift in such factors can change our war plans 180 degrees.
Mr. Matthews: And if we got that support?
General Vandenberg: Then we could really do something.
Admiral Fechteler: But we couldn’t do it overnight. Remember that it took three months to cost NSC 686 after its approval.
General Collins: We can make plans on the basis of two or three sets of planning assumptions. We want firmer guidance than we [Page 61] have got in order to limit our work to the outlining of two or three plans.
Mr. Bohlen: Of course you are not going to get a final decision from the NSC. The NSC cannot possibly make a final decision until it has the idea of what costs are involved. The problem therefore is how to get the material and information that has to be available to the President if he is to make a decision.
General Vandenberg: Well, we have got to have firmer assumptions. In our view you ought to provide us with them. We should not make them ourselves.
Mr. Nitze: Couldn’t we proceed with this in a somewhat different way? Couldn’t we merely state that it would be easier to do the job if we have British and French support and develop a course of action to accomplish our mission assuming that support? You cannot guarantee us that a given military course will produce the desired results and we, on our part, cannot guarantee you that a given political course would produce the desired results.
General Collins: The essence of all that is that no reasonable assurance can be provided that Southeast Asia can be defended unless the war is carried to Communist China. That is the essence of the whole thing. I think it is worth bringing that point to the attention of the NSC and the President. It is my personal judgment that we will lose Southeast Asia unless we carry the war to Communist China.
Mr. Bohlen: That is what NSC 124 says in effect.
General Collins: Our comments represent all that we could do over the week-end. Now if you tell me that you need more details, I can only tell you that we need more assumptions.
Mr. Bohlen: What does the JCS want from the NSC meeting today? Can you tell me what assumptions you want?
General Vandenberg: I think there are two. We want to know whether the French and British will go whole hog with us politically—not militarily—and secondly, we want to know whether we, as a nation, are willing to increase our military budget and our military production at the expense of the civilian economy. If we have the answer to those two questions, I think we can do the job.
Mr. Bohlen: I think the answer—if it has to be a yes or no answer—is “no”, and I take it that your conclusion would then be that we cannot save Southeast Asia.
General Collins: The conclusion is that we would lose Southeast Asia.
Mr. Bohlen: But this is the kind of question on which one cannot say “yes” or “no”—it is a question of degrees. Does full political support mean, for example, willingness to accept cutbacks in NATO, or does it merely mean that the British and French will [Page 62] give us their political blessing. If it is the latter only, then I think we would have their support.
General Collins: The necessary course of action will undoubtedly result in the loss of Hong Kong and in the complete severance of trade between the British and China. I think those two considerations are more important in the British mind than whether there will be a cutback in aid to the U.K. and France. I think these two things I mentioned profoundly affect British thinking. Can we count on the use of Chinese Nationalists, for example? This is political support, right up to the neck. We don’t know whether we can use the Nationalists or not. We don’t know whether we can have a tight blockade or not. We don’t know whether we can bomb the outskirts of Kowloon. How would the British react to these things? Would we have their support?
Mr. Nitze: I think that is a matter on which we could appropriately comment. I think that Hong Kong is less important than Southeast Asia even to the British.
General Vandenberg: If you would talk with the British Foreign Office people so that they would talk to their Chiefs so that their Chiefs would talk with us, then we could do something. But you have not talked to their Foreign Office people.
General Collins: We have talked with the Chiefs, but the British and French Chiefs cannot talk about anything.
General Vandenberg: Now their Foreign Office knows our point of view.
Mr. Nitze: Certain things are clear. We cannot sell their Foreign Offices on immediate cuts in U.S. aid to Western Europe. It would not be helpful to our interests if we should take that up with them. We cannot sell them a complete change of Western strategy. If we try to sell one we will ruin our whole position. Now we might be able to sell them on the idea that a serious risk of the loss of Hong Kong ought to be accepted, along with a spreading of the war to China because of the importance of defending Southeast Asia. The question is what do we try to sell them? We can’t possibly sell them the pre-conditions you have stated in your comments.
General Collins: I think the questions really are support for the bombing of key areas, support for a tight blockade, and willingness—this is a new element—to give serious consideration to the use of Chinese Nationalist forces. You could not use these forces right away for they are not ready, but this is a long-term process we are setting out on. We won’t get any effects in less than six to twelve months.
General Vandenberg: It will be a long and unpopular war if we do not really go in to clean the thing up. The strategy so far proposed is a strategy of picking away at them, infiltrating them, [Page 63] making the Chinese people dissatisfied with their lot, and inflicting losses over a long period of time. There won’t be any decision until the regime collapses and that may be four or five years or more. That is the kind of thing we are getting into. The men in authority ought to be aware of this, and will the British and French stick with us all that time? There might be some reduction in aid to Western Europe but it would not be great—perhaps 25% in some areas if we want to equip the Chinese Nationalists rapidly.
General Collins: We are now working on our ′54 budget. We cannot do much in ′53 anyway except perhaps via a supplemental appropriation. We simply do not have the equipment now to do all the things we are trying to do. We would not cut out a major part of our Western European supplies, but this course of action would have some impact on the aid to Europe. We are greatly concerned, for example, about the development of the Japanese Police Forces.7 In fact, in my judgment Northeast Asia is more important than Southeast Asia.
Mr. Nitze: I have one other question which I would like to ask. I have supposed that a campaign against China itself would have better chances of success and be more effective if the West could hold in Indochina, so that the Chinese were suffering attrition in Southeast Asia. In these circumstances our blockade and air attack would be, I assume, that much more effective.
General Collins: I don’t think there is much chance of that. The French will be driven out—it is just a question of time. Since DeLattre’s death there is nobody else with the necessary political and military “savvy”. The French are going to be driven out unless we do something soon to prevent the Chinese Communists from getting supplies down into Indochina.
Mr. Nitze: The question I asked related to a situation of war against China. Assuming we are at war, would not attrition in Indochina increase the effectiveness of the action the U.S. plans to take?
General Collins: In my judgment it would not make much difference. We are not going to put in ground forces. I think you might be right, if we could move Chinese Nationalists into Indochina. If we could move a corps into Indochina and they could start operating against the Chinese Communists then attrition might be a real factor.
Admiral Fechteler: I think it would make considerable difference if the French are still holding.[Page 64]
General Collins: I agree with that if we can use the Chinese Nationalists. Furthermore, it is easier to launch guerrilla operations if we have a toe-hold on the mainland.
Mr. Nitze: It hasn’t seemed to me that a blockade and an air attack against a country suffering no attrition have much chance of success.
General Vandenberg: We are not going to win a war this way. We are only going to make life difficult for the Chinese Communists.
Admiral Fechteler: What is the relation of the British and French in this? I believe that the British believe that they can hold Malaya in any event.
Mr. Matthews: It would be a much more difficult job for all the fence-sitters in Malaya would finally make up their minds.
General Collins: They wouldn’t be able to get arms.
Mr. Matthews: Even 5,000 guerrillas have caused a lot of trouble.
General Collins: They can cause a certain amount of trouble but they won’t make it impossible for the British to hold in Malaya.
Mr. Nitze: On General Collins’ theory, then, we do not hold and do not really try to hold in Southeast Asia but we try to defeat the Chinese Communists in China.
General Collins: It is possible that we might hold in Burma, especially if India is willing to do something. Burma is a much tougher problem for the Chinese Communists. It might fall eventually but it could hold for two or three years.
Mr. Nitze: We would have a much easier time politically if we were really trying to hold in Southeast Asia. I think it would be easier even in terms of our relations with India. If the rest of the world gets the idea that we have written off Southeast Asia and only want to punish China, we will have a difficult time politically.
General Collins: The desire and the means to expand will dry up if a tight blockade is imposed.
Mr. Matthews: Does your pessimism regarding Indochina spring directly from DeLattre’s death?
General Collins: No, not entirely. It is an inherently difficult situation although the loss of DeLattre is very significant. The French are trying to hold a long line; to hold the northern part of that line is a very difficult job. The communists could seize the area north of Haiphong and lay artillery fire on all ships going into the port. The Chinese Communists could drive down and seize this area without much trouble.
Mr. Matthews: Could the Viet Minh seize this area?
General Collins: Perhaps, but I doubt it. For another thing, they do not have the artillery that would be necessary.[Page 65]
Admiral Fechteler: Did not General Juin say that the French could hold indefinitely unless the Chinese Communists intervened?
General Collins: That is what he said but I do not agree with him. Of course I was only there one day so don’t regard me as an expert, but I am very doubtful.
Mr. Bohlen: General Juin is also pessimistic if the Chinese Communists come in.
General Collins: The French might hold against the Viet Minh alone for a while but they could not hold against the Viet Minh reinforced with Chinese “volunteers”.
Mr. Matthews: Then in your view there is no real chance of licking the problem?
Mr. Nitze: Our feeling in State is that it is quite unlikely that the Chinese Communists will intervene. Their chances are so good without large-scale intervention that we find it hard to understand why they would choose to intervene.
General Vandenberg: Would you still hold the same view if the U.S. and the allies really put the screws on China? It would take a great number of people if we are to hold on in Burma and Indochina. I think we would have to put the Chinese Nationalists ashore to do that. In my view, what we expect to gain from an air attack and naval blockade is slow undermining of the Chinese Communist position in China. That, in my judgment, is our only reasonable chance of success and it is going to be a long process.
Mr. Bohlen: According to this paper we would not go after the Chinese Communists unless and until there was identifiable intervention.
General Vandenberg: Of course that partly depends upon the Korean armistice negotiations.
General Collins: Mr. Bohlen is right. The assumption is active Chinese Communist intervention.
General Vandenberg: We cannot consider that from one point of view only. We have got to look all around at the scene.
Mr. Matthews: What worries us is the continued attrition on the French.
Mr. Nitze: The loss of Indochina is about as damaging to us one way as another. The way in which it is lost, in other words, is not as important as its loss. However it happens it will have the same effect, for example, on Japan.
Admiral Fechteler: If the French walk out, there is nothing we can do about that. The only way to stop them from walking out is to say we will pay for it.
General Vandenberg: And we won’t do that.
Mr. Nitze: The question is whether we shouldn’t do it. It would cost us about $500 million. Compared with the costs of the NSC 124 [Page 66] program that seems rather a small sum. In fact the comparison is such that we ought to be prepared to ask Congress for $500 million if that would enable the French to stay.
General Vandenberg: This will not guarantee us against the loss of Indochina.
Mr. Nitze: And no other course will give us a guarantee either.
Mr. Bohlen: With reference to the meeting this afternoon, I know the JCS want certain answers and at the same time the questions are unanswerable. So, once again, what happens to these two papers?
Mr. Nitze: I am not sure that we have asked the right questions in these papers.
General Vandenberg: We have thought of that too. We might consider what are the right questions.
General Collins: If we could receive two or three sets of planning assumptions, we could get to work and develop a plan on each set.
Mr. Bohlen: Can you tell us exactly what it is you want from the British and French?
General Collins: We could say that under a certain set of assumptions such-and-such a plan would produce some real effects. That would immediately raise certain questions as to whether we can receive British and French support for the plan.
Mr. Bohlen: Even if you make the assumption that you receive political support and then do not get that support all that you have done after all is to waste some time. We have to have something hard to start with. If you could give us a plan we could then advise you whether or not you could get what you want from the British and French.
Mr. Nitze: …8 and what concessions the U.S. would probably have to make to get this support.
General Collins: If the NSC members will really look at these papers, I think they could give us two or three sets of assumptions. I wonder if the JSSC has anything to add. They have worked a lot on this problem and have been sitting with us this morning.
Admiral Robbins:9 If we knew the answers to the following questions, I think we would be in pretty good shape: (1) Under no circumstances would the U.S. ever be willing to extend the war to Communist China; (2) the U.S. would be willing to extend the war to Communist China to save Indochina; (3) the U.S. will not decide this question until the need is upon it; and (4) the U.S. will not go farther in this matter than the U.K. or France will permit it.
Mr. Bohlen: Do you want decisions or assumptions?[Page 67]
Admiral Robbins: Assumptions.
General Vandenberg: The JCS would be assisted if we received from you a view as to whether war with Communist China will increase the risk of war with the Soviet Union. If so, how would NATO react?
Mr. Nitze: It is perfectly clear that it does increase the risk of war with the Soviet Union, as your paper points out.
Admiral Fechteler: As to what we want from the British and French, it seems to me we want them to place at our disposal accommodations normally at the disposal of an ally. For example, we would like to use Singapore as an air and naval base, Hong Kong, etc. We could not predict specifically what we will want but we can say we will want the normal accommodations which one ally extends to another.
Mr. Nitze: I think they would reply that they want the consultation which is normal between allies.
General Collins: There is going to have to be consultation.
Mr. Bohlen: That is right.
General Vandenberg: If we can get that far, then we can sit down and talk with the British and French. They will have been forced into a position where talks with them can be useful.
General Collins: I believe you were referring to a paragraph in our paper, Mr. Nitze. We have got to have consultation—we did not mean to exclude that possibility.
Admiral Fechteler: If we agree to a unified command, that would immediately relieve the French of responsibility for Indochina.
General Collins: We cannot accept that kind of a transfer of responsibility.
Mr. Nitze: The language I have in mind is the change proposed by the JCS in paragraph 5 of NSC 124.10 I am glad that you recognize that there would have to be consultation.[Page 68]
General Collins: Yes, there would be.
[Here follows discussion of the Korean situation and of future agenda.]
- A note on the title page reads: “State Draft. Not cleared with any of the participants.”↩
- Memorandum of Mar. 3, with enclosure, to Secretary of Defense Robert A. Lovett, signed for the JCS by General Vandenberg (circulated Mar. 4 to the NSC). (S/S–NSC files, lot 63 D 351) For text, see Department of Defense, United States–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967, Book 8, pp. 485–501.↩
- Joint Strategic Survey Committee.↩
Paragraph 16 of the memorandum cited in footnote 2 above reads:
“Acceptance of the policies proposed in NSC 124 would serve to increase the commitments of the United States. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that such increase should be accompanied by a substantial upward revision of our economic and military assistance programs for Southeast Asia and for Formosa and by some (possibly substantial) increase in our forces in being. In this connection, current slippages in the military production programs have already reduced planned United States and allied military readiness. There should be no increase in the risk resulting from such shortages in military production. Accordingly, the increases in our assistance programs and our ready forces, required by acceptance of the proposed policies, would call for a substantial and immediate increase in the scale of United States production, and pending that increase, would reduce the military assistance programs to other nations, especially those in high Priority.”↩
- Ellipsis in the source text.↩
- For text of NSC 68, “U.S. Objectives and Programs for National Security”, Apr. 14, 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. i, p. 234.↩
- For documentation on this subject, see volume XIV.↩
- Ellipsis in the source text.↩
- Rear Adm. Thomas H. Robbins of the Joint Strategic Survey Committee.↩
The enclosure to the memorandum cited in footnote 2 above is a draft list of suggested text changes in NSC 124. For paragraph 5, the JCS suggested these changes:
- “3. Revise the present last sentence of subparagraph 5d in such a manner as to refer to every paragraph in the paper (in addition to subparagraphs 6d, 7f, and 8c) which involves military measures against Communist China.
“4. Add the following sentence at the end of subparagraph 5d:
“‘In this connection, it should be made clear to the other nations that United States ground forces will not be committed to the defense of French Indochina, Thailand, or Burma.’
“Reason: For consistency and accuracy and in order to preclude misunderstanding.
“5. Change subparagraph 5h to read as follows (changes indicated in the usual manner):
“‘Take whatever such measures other than military as may be practicable to promote the coordinated defense of the area, and encourage and support the spirit of resistance among the peoples of Southeast Asia to Chinese Communist aggression and to the encroachments of local communists.’
“Reason: For preciseness and to preclude any implication that the United States will join in a combined military command for the defense of the area.”