134. Letter From the Chairman of the Quantico Vulnerabilities Panel (Rostow) to the President’s Special Assistant (Rockefeller)1

Dear Mr. Rockefeller: At your invitation, a group of eleven persons knowledgeable in many fields important to the American-Soviet struggle, have met as a Panel at Quantico, Virginia, from 5–10 June, to explore methods of exploiting Communist bloc vulnerabilities at this crucial state of world affairs. As your designated Chairman, and on behalf of my colleagues, I am herewith transmitting the reports and recommendations of our group.

All of us appreciate the freedom of action you gave us to develop our own guidelines of investigation. We soon discovered that several significant vulnerabilities could be identified and that fruitful courses of action could be developed only if we looked at the total political and security problems facing the U.S. at this juncture.

We have no expectation that we have produced either a magic formula for positive U.S. action or a substitute for the staff considerations currently under way in the responsible Government Departments. We offer these recommendations and the papers that underlie them as a supplement to those considerations. It is our hope that responsible officials will find our efforts constructive and that use can be made of the many concrete suggestions included in the Panel results.

The over-all report of the Panel and its four appendices represent a general group consensus.2 We had neither the time nor the data to make, as individuals, definitive commitments of judgment on all the recommendations and on every line of text. But we forwarded these documents confident that they deserve serious consideration by the Government. We are also submitting ten papers prepared by individual Panel members. Many ideas from them have found their way into our joint recommendations; but time did not permit the Panel to evaluate the texts fully. I personally deem them an extremely interesting product of the week’s work.

All of us appreciate the contributions made by governmental representatives toward this Panel and, in particular, the willing help of the responsible officials from your office, the Departments of [Page 217] State and Defense, of CIA, USIA, NSC, and OCB, who took of their precious time to join us periodically in our discussions.

The one impression which stands out in my mind is the unanimous belief of the Panel members that the U.S. now enjoys a significant but transitory period of over-all strength vis-à-vis the Soviet bloc. The next two or three years afford the United States the opportunity to negotiate from a strong position for genuine concessions by the enemy without sacrifice of essential positions of strength. Such negotiation, along with a vigorous and urgent development of potential Free World strength, could create the conditions for victory in the cold war.

May I express our appreciation for having had this opportunity to serve.

  • Dr. Frederick Dunn
  • Director, Center of International Studies
  • Mr. CD. Jackson3
  • Time Life
  • Dr. Ellis A. Johnson
  • Director, Operations Research Office
  • Dr. Paul Linebarger
  • School of Advanced International Studies
  • Dr. Max Millikan
  • Center of International Studies, MIT
  • Dr. Philip Mosely
  • Director, Russian Institute
  • Dr. George Pettee
  • Deputy Director, Operations Research Office
  • Dr. Stefan Possony
  • Air Intelligence Specialist, Department of the Air Force
  • Dr. Hans Speier
  • Rand Corporation
  • Dr. Charles A.H. Thomson
  • Brookings Institution
W.W. Rostow
(Center of International Studies, MIT)
[Page 218]



Purpose. This report (1) makes recommendations regarding operational positions and actions the U.S. might take vis-à-vis the USSR (as for example at the coming round of East-West conferences) that will permit the exploitation of Soviet vulnerabilities, and (2) offers suggestions for related actions advantageous to the U.S.

The Panel assessed the current strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet Bloc and the Free World. It concluded that the next several years afford the United States the opportunity to act from a strong position and to exact from the enemy genuine concessions without sacrifice of deterrent strength by us. A full exploitation of the enemy’s transitory position of relative weakness and the Free World’s actual and potential foundations for strength requires a wide range of U.S. initiatives and actions which transcend the area of negotiation with the Soviet Union.


In the light of this assessment we develop in our submissions a strategy and a broad tactical line for the forthcoming conferences and we submit the following specific recommendations:

A. Actions Prior to the Conference.

The United States should insist that the Soviets lift the Berlin toll blockade prior to the conference.
Suggestions should be made to the USSR, to the UK, and to France, that they should be prepared to exchange ratifications of the Austrian Treaty on the occasion of the conference.

B. Actions During the Conference.

The United States should be prepared to make a series of proposals designed to move towards the control of armaments. These include:
Discussions of:
A proposed agreement for mutual inspection of military installations, forces, and armaments, without limitations provisions.
A convention insuring the right of aircraft of any nationality to fly over the territory of any country for peaceful purposes. (Proposed with reservations noted in the text.)
Proposal of a disarmament plan to the USSR; after rejection of the plan, the U.S. to make every effort to win the arms race as the safest way of forcing the Soviet Union to accept a satisfactory arms convention.
The United States should be prepared to make a series of proposals concerning exchange of persons, information and goods, covering:
An agreement for the expansion of East-West trade.
An agreement greatly increasing the freedom of persons to travel anywhere in the world for peaceful purposes.
A convention providing for free and unhampered international communications for the exchange of information and ideas, conditioned on conclusion of an anti-jamming agreement.
Further exploration of peaceful uses of atomic energy and a world-wide fund for cooperative economic development of the underdeveloped areas.
The United States should pursue the following sequence in dealing with German matters:
Rapid implementation of rearmament provisions.
Proper conditions for free elections.
Free elections.
Unification of government.
Conclusion of a peace treaty not predetermining Germany’s international status.
Withdrawal of troops only after a unified Germany has reemerged as a strong military power and has become an integral part of NATO. If Germany abstains from joining NATO, she should be permitted to rearm to a level sufficient to meet her security needs.
The United States should take the following actions to bring about greater Allied unity on Far Eastern policy, and to worsen difficulties between the Soviet Union and Red China:
Take steps to put strains on the Moscow-Peiping alliance.
Keep the Japanese fully informed of progress at the conference.
At least once during the conference, the Department of State should obtain for the President the advice of the Japanese Government on a specific Far Eastern point at issue in the conference.

C. Actions Outside of the Conference.

Outside of the conference, either concurrently with it or subsequent to it, the United States should take the following actions:

Propose an international scientific conference of all powers producing atomic weapons on the problem of reducing the danger of radioactive fallout.
The United States should convene at an early date an exploratory conference to discuss implementation of the economic and other non-military provisions of the North Atlantic Treaty.
Accelerate the revival of Japan as a great power and treat her as a diplomatic equal in developing Far Eastern policy.
In relation to Europe, the United States should:
Invoke the peace treaties with Bulgaria, Rumania, and Hungary, and the provisions of other wartime and postwar agreements relating to the limitations of arms in Eastern Europe, demanding inspection to determine compliance with the limitations of these agreements.
Take early and forceful steps to assure improved air defense, passive and active, for our European allies.
Seek the establishment, organization and support of research and development in the NATO countries on an ambitious scale.
Relax to the maximum restrictions preventing the flow of necessary technical intelligence to European scientists working in behalf of a Free World.
Request SHAPE to make a maximum effort to find tactical solutions to NATO defense which minimize the possibilities of civilian casualties.
Explore seriously concrete recommendations designed to reduce present fears in NATO nations concerning atomic weapons.
Develop with NATO countries a joint policy for accelerated economic growth in the underdeveloped countries of the Free World.
In relation to Asia, the United States should:
Greatly increase the flow of investment resources to the underdeveloped countries, including Japan, South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Advise the Chinese Nationalist Government that its good relations in the South and Southeast Asia are a matter of interest to the U.S. U.S. diplomatic and other authorities in Formosa should openly sponsor informal news and cultural connections there.
Convince Asians that the U.S. is capable and willing to deal by means short of major war, with Communist military aggression.
Prevent a Communist take-over in Southern Vietnam.
In order to convert a major Free World problem into an asset, launch a positive U.S. political and economic program for Formosa.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 66 D 148. Secret.
  2. Only the summary of recommendations of the report is printed below. The five chapters, four appendices, and five tabs comprising the bulk of the report are not printed. Copies were transmitted to President Eisenhower and the Department of State, and on June 16 a copy of the summary of recommendations was sent to Secretary Dulles by Murphy. (Ibid.)
  3. A personal account of CD. Jackson’s participation in the Quantico Panel is in Eisenhower Library, CD. Jackson Papers, Time–Life Log 1955.