396.1 GE/3–554

The Secretary of Defense ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: There have been several discussions between representatives of our respective Departments regarding preparation for the Geneva Conference and the organization necessary for the expeditious development of position papers and other arrangements for the Conference. This Department is interested in assisting the Department of State in every way possible in preparing for the Conference.

It is believed that Department of Defense participation can be most effective if the informal views of this Department and necessary military information are available to the Department of State during the preparation of position papers. In this way, also, interested offices in the Department of Defense will be aware of positions being developed and final processing can be handled rapidly. Further, it is believed that the Geneva Conference is of such importance to the interests and the security of the United States in the Far East area that maximum effort should be devoted by all interested agencies to the development of the United States positions for the Conference.

Accordingly, it is recommended that consideration be given to the following procedure.

Establishment of a steering committee consisting of senior Department of State and Defense representatives through which all position papers developed by working groups would be processed.
Establishment of two working groups consisting of working level representatives of both Departments, one working group developing positions on Korea and the second working group, positions on Indochina. Various ad hoc committees as may be deemed appropriate would consider specific items in each area.
The papers as developed in the working groups would be processed through the steering committee. After approval by the steering committee, they would be cleared formally by the Departments of State and Defense.

If you concur in the above suggestions, the names of Defense Department representatives on the steering committee and working groups will be furnished you.1

Sincerely yours,

C. E. Wilson
  1. In a letter of Mar. 9, Acting Secretary of State Walter B. Smith informed Secretary Wilson that the Department of State was in agreement with his suggestions as to the procedures for State-Defense coordination and that the Secretary had designated MacArthur as Coordinator for the Geneva Conference, Young as Chairman of the Working Group on Korea, and Bonsal as Chairman of the Working Group on Indochina. (396.1 GE/3–554)