Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

Memorandum of Discussion at the 172d Meeting of the National Security Council, Monday, November 23, 19531

top secret
eyes only

Present at the 172nd meeting of the Council were the President of the United States, presiding; the Secretary of State; the Acting Secretary of Defense; the Director, Foreign Operations Administration; the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization. The Vice President did not attend because of his absence from the country. Also present were Mr. Tuttle for the Secretary of the Treasury; the Attorney General; the Director, Bureau of the Budget; the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission; the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Director of Central Intelligence; The Assistant to the President (for Item 1); Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to the President; C. D. Jackson, Special Assistant to the President; Col. Powell, Department of Defense (for Items 1 and 2); Huntington Sheldon, Central Intelligence Agency (for Items 1 and 2); the NSC Representative on Internal Security (for Items 1, 2 and 3); the Acting White House Staff Secretary; the Executive Secretary, NSC; the Deputy Executive Secretary, NSC; Mr. Farley and Hall, NSC Special Staff Members (for Items 1, 2 and 3).

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

[Here follows discussion on items 1. “Continental Defense,” 2. “Coast Guard Operations, Including Port Security,” 3. “Review of Internal Security Legislation,” and 4. “Prevention of Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified NSC Information”.]

5. U.S. Courses of Action in Korea in the Absence of an Acceptable Political Settlement (NSC 167/2;2 NSC 170/13)

After the Council meeting had been confined to the usual members, Secretary Dulles said he believed he ought to report to the Council on recent developments with regard to President Rhee. In response to Council directive, Secretary Dulles said, we had sought assurances from President Rhee that he would not resume unilaterally hostilities against the Communists. The matter had been handled by Vice President Nixon, who had presented a letter from President Eisenhower to President Rhee on this subject during his recent visit to Korea. The State Department had just received Vice President Nixon’s report of his meeting with Rhee, together with a letter from Rhee to President Eisenhower. Pointing out that he wished no copies of his letter to be made, President Rhee had stated, nevertheless, that he would not take [Page 1626] unilateral action to resume hostilities without prior consultation with President Eisenhower. The Vice President had expressed the view that this was just about as far as we could hope to get at present in extracting a commitment from Rhee. With this judgment Secretary Dulles expressed general agreement. As a result of the exchange of letters, he concluded, we have very largely increased the likelihood that Rhee will not act unilaterally, or at least will not do so without prior consultation with President Eisenhower. Under the circumstances, Secretary Dulles thought it would be advisable for the Council to take a new look at the recently approved general policy report on Korea (NSC 170/1).

The National Security Council:4

Noted an oral report by the Secretary of State on the results of the Vice President’s discussions with President Rhee pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 2 of NSC 167/2 (subsequently superseded by subparagraphs 5–b-(1) and –(2) of NSC 170/1).

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Drafted by Gleason on Nov. 24.
  2. Dated Nov. 6, p. 1598.
  3. Supra.
  4. The following paragraph constituted NSC Action No. 970, a record copy of which is located in S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) files, lot 66 D 95.