Memorandum by the Acting Director of the
Office of Northeast Asian Affairs (McClurkin) to the Assistant Secretary of
State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson)
- Hearing by Senate Armed Services Committee on Legislation Authorizing Transfer of Military Equipment to the Japanese1
Mr. Struve Hensel, former General Counsel of Department of Defense who has just been appointed Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, testified in support of the above legislation on February 18, accompanied by General Hull.
The Committee, in particular the Chairman (Senator Saltonstall), Senator Russell and Senator Symington2 were sympathetic to the purpose of the legislation but were troubled about its salability to the Congress in its present form. Senator Russell was concerned about the readiness of the Japanese to use the equipment in question. The main difficulty expressed by the Committee, however, was the relationship of this legislation to the Mutual Security legislation, and its apparent open-ended character. It was suggested, for instance, that it might be necessary to put in an amount, e.g., $500 million, which the transfers could not exceed. Senator Saltonstall said that he would ask Mr. Hensel to confer with him privately on how the bill could be redrafted to avoid objections.
General Hull was interrogated on a wide variety of questions concerning both Japan and Korea. In reply to a question on the ROK offer of a division for Laos, he said that in his opinion the transfer of one ROK division would not have serious effect upon his military mission as United Nations Commander in Korea. He intimated that there were objections of other kinds but did not enlarge upon it.
On February 23 staff officers of Defense conferred with the staff of the Senate Committee preparatory to Hensel’s meeting with Senator Saltonstall. The Committee staff urged inclusion in the [Page 1611] Mutual Security Act (which Defense strongly opposes) and the insertion of a ceiling of some character on the equipment to be transferred. Defense has asked Army to make a study of the possibility of an acquisition—cost valuation, which would reduce the figure from about $500 million to about $250 million. They also discussed the possibility of a proviso requiring the amount and character of equipment to be reported to and approved by the Congressional Committees.3
We have told Defense that the inclusion of a valuation of even $250 million would have serious political repercussions elsewhere in Asia. Defense has agreed that before this is done you will be given an opportunity to discuss the matter with Mr. Hensel and perhaps with Senator Saltonstall.4
- The legislation, introduced in the previous session of the 83d Congress, authorized the Secretary of Defense to transfer to the Japanese Government until July 30, 1955, upon terms and conditions to be determined by the President, U.S. military equipment and supplies which had been procured prior to July 1, 1953. In a memorandum to Robertson dated Feb. 3, McClurkin stated that the bill had reference to some equipment which had already been turned over physically to the Japanese forces and some which was awaiting turnover. (U/MSA files, lot 57 D 567)↩
- Leverett Saltonstall (R–Massachusetts), Richard B. Russell (D–Georgia), and Stuart Symington (D–Missouri).↩
- Next to this sentence McClurkin wrote: “This would be preferable to an amount’s being specified.”↩
- In a memorandum to McClurkin dated Mar. 16, Dunning reported that Senator Saltonstall had refused to report out of his Committee as an amendment to the Mutual Security bill the legislation in question. The Department of Defense was drafting a separate section to be included in the Mutual Security legislation which would follow the former bill but would add a provision excepting it from the reimbursement provisions of the Mutual Security legislation. Both State and Defense wanted no figures mentioned. (794.5 MSP/3–1354) Legislation along these lines was enacted as Section 108 of the Mutual Security Act of 1954, approved Aug. 26. For text, see 68 Stat. 837.↩