150. Memorandum of Discussion at the 254th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, July 7, 19551

[Here follows a list of participants.]

Basic U.S. Policy in Relation to Four-Power Negotiations (NSC 5524; Annexes to NSC 5524; Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated July 1 and 5, 1955; NSC Action No. 14192)

The Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs commenced his briefing of NSC 5524 with a description of the first paragraph (“Basic U.S. Approach”), with particular reference to the additions to this paragraph proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the form of two new paragraphs. (For the text of these new proposed paragraphs, taken from NSC 5501,3 see the subsequent Record of Action.) Mr. Anderson then explained the significance which the Joint Chiefs of Staff attached to their proposed additional paragraphs. In the first place, they raised a question as to the seriousness [Page 269] of the Soviet desire to reach any settlement of basic issues between itself and the West. Secondly, the paragraphs were intended to suggest that the U.S. approach to the Geneva Conference should be based on the view that the position of the Soviet Union was weakening and that we should accordingly hold its feet to the fire. (Copies of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and of Mr. Anderson’s briefing note on NSC 5524 are filed in the minutes of the meeting.4)

At the conclusion of Mr. Anderson’s comments on these new paragraphs and the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President commented that the views of the Joint Chiefs on these paragraphs seemed to him to consist simply of warnings to the U.S. delegation. They could be briefly summed up by the adage “Trust in the Lord and keep your powder dry.” The President said that he had no particular objection to the warnings which the Joint Chiefs desired to insert in NSC 5524, provided that in addition to these warnings something else was added which counseled us to observe these warnings “unless concrete Soviet deeds at Geneva indicated a contrary state of mind”.

Mr. Anderson explained to the President that paragraph 1, with or without the addition proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in the nature of a “general consideration” and did not affect the operating portions of NSC 5524. The President, however, went on to state that he and the Secretary of State were not so naive as to think that the Soviets have suddenly changed from devils to angels. The suggestion of the new paragraphs, continued the President, appeared to be inserted so that the U.S. position at Geneva would look sensible in the light of history.

The Secretary of State said that he was not sure that it was particularly profitable to speculate on Soviet intentions or on the causes which produced their current attitude. He informed the Council that he had written some years ago an article on the subject of Soviet foreign policy. He had recently reread this article, the opening paragraph of which had stated that we could not expect in the foreseeable future that the Soviet leadership would change its creed. On the other hand, the Soviets might well, the paragraph continued, try measures of expediency instead of continuing to buck hard against the ramparts of the free world. Secretary Dulles then said that it was at least possible that the Soviets had now actually reached the point which he had predicted they might, and were about to try a different [Page 270] line of approach in foreign policy. In other words, they may now deem it more convenient to conform slightly to a world situation that they have found they cannot otherwise change. Indeed, perhaps their last try at the old hard line may have been their tremendous effort to prevent the coming into existence of the Western European Union. But all this was of course highly speculative, and such speculations were not necessary in this paper.

The President repeated his view that the additional paragraphs submitted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff were merely warnings. In effect they were telling us not to be “damn’ babies” at Geneva. He said he was willing to accept these cautions, but that we should also state clearly in the paper that we will not shut our eyes to evidence of changes in Soviet policy.

Mr. Anderson stated that he believed that this latter point that the President had made was adequately covered in the section of the paper dealing with Soviet objectives.

Mr. Anderson then continued his briefing of NSC 5524 by a description of the contents of the paragraph entitled “Current Soviet Actions”. He explained that the list of five recent Soviet actions was thought to mark a possible demonstration of increased flexibility in the conduct of Soviet foreign policy. In this connection, Mr. Anderson also referred to the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the effect that there had been no real “change in tactics” by the Soviet Union, but merely a change of “pace” in unflagging pursuit of their ultimate objectives. He suggested that Admiral Radford might wish to explain this point more fully.

Secretary Dulles observed that the list of current Soviet actions contained five main points, and suggested that the Council might wish to add a sixth and additional point, that Molotov himself had specified in his San Francisco speech as constituting a Soviet concession to the West.5 This was the approach of the USSR to Japan for the conclusion of a peace treaty. The President directed that this point be added to the other five.

Admiral Radford then spoke to the point which Mr. Anderson had queried him on. He stated initially that the Joint Chiefs had had a very limited time to consider this very important paper. Some of the comments of the Joint Chiefs probably seemed “gratuitous”, but the Chiefs felt very strongly that we had no real evidence of any genuine change in the Soviet attitude. The general thrust of all the Joint Chiefs’ comments on this paper was directed to bringing out the fact that the Soviet Union would not negotiate from weakness at Geneva and that the Soviet Union had not changed its aggressive policies.

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When Admiral Radford had finished his remarks, Mr. Anderson proceeded with his briefing and covered the section entitled “Four Hypotheses”, most of which he read verbatim to the Council. These hypotheses related to the explanation of the current Soviet policy to be anticipated at the Geneva Conference and thereafter. He pointed out that the Director of Central Intelligence seemed to favor the third hypothesis,6 namely, that the USSR believed that the Geneva Conference afforded an opportunity for flexible exploration of the possibilities of settling selected outstanding issues, etc.; along with the possibility set forth in the fourth hypothesis, namely, that the USSR has decided to bring about a measure of substantial and prolonged reduction in international tensions and might accordingly alter to some degree its previous negotiating positions. Mr. Anderson also pointed out the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the hypotheses. They desired to introduce this subject with two paragraphs from the agreed intelligence estimate on “Soviet Capabilities and Probable Courses of Action Through 1960” (NIE 11–3–55, paragraphs 155 and 162).7 Their purpose in citing these paragraphs from the National Intelligence Estimate was by way of warning against any likelihood that the Soviet Union would seek a general understanding or settlement with the West at or after the Summit Conference.

The President expressed the view, regarding the four hypotheses, that an additional hypothesis, to explain current Soviet tactics, had been overlooked. He pointed out that since the death of Stalin there had been conspicuous confusion in the Russian dictatorship. The struggle for power in the ruling group in the Kremlin had tended to make for compromises rather than for a clear direction to Soviet policy. Mr. Anderson pointed out that this section had been carefully worked out with the Central Intelligence Agency and that accordingly Mr. Allen Dulles might wish to speak to it. However, the President went on to elaborate the point he had just made, stating that if Stalin were still alive the change he had described would not have happened. We should therefore take account, as a hypothesis, of this evident confusion in the Kremlin.

Governor Stassen said that he believed that the chief explanation of the Soviet change of tactics was their fear of nuclear war and its possible effect on the security of the regime. Mr. Allen Dulles stated his wholehearted agreement with the President’s additional hypothesis, and said that he had included much the same thought in the written views which had been circulated prior to the meeting. (Copy of the views of the Director of Central Intelligence filed in the minutes of the meeting.)

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The President then observed that we were going to the Geneva Conference hoping to see if we could not penetrate the veil of Soviet intentions. Did not the members of the Council think that the Soviets might be going to Geneva for the purpose of probing our own intentions? Mr. Anderson commented that this point was the essence of the third hypothesis in NSC 5524.

Secretary Dulles stated that as he had said earlier, these hypotheses were rather interesting and provided a useful exchange of views as to what motivated the Soviet Union. On the other hand, he was not inclined to follow any one of them precisely, and he doubted whether, in and of themselves, these hypotheses were of any great significance.

Mr. Anderson then asked the members of the Council whether the suggested additions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be added to this section on hypotheses. The President, in response, indicated a degree of impatience with the suggestion of the Joint Chiefs, but stated that he had no real objection to inserting these additional warning paragraphs. On the other hand he felt, as did the Secretary of State, that these hypotheses were in no sense a critically important part of the paper. Secretary Dulles also indicated no objection to including these paragraphs from the National Intelligence Estimate, but said that if they were included he disliked and mistrusted the many sentences which began with such phrases as “it is probable” or “it is almost certain”. The Secretary of State thought that we were not so omniscient with respect to the motives behind Soviet policy. He therefore suggested changing “most probable” to “may” or “might”. The President accepted this suggestion from the Secretary of State.

Mr. Anderson then continued his briefing with a discussion of the paragraph entitled “Soviet Objectives”, in the course of which he explained the split view in this paragraph. The State Department had desired to say “Until the USSR demonstrates otherwise, the U.S. should assume that the USSR is attempting to achieve the following objectives, etc.”. The Joint Chiefs and the other Planning Board agencies desired to delete this conditional clause.

Secretary Dulles said he did not think that this split was very important, and the President suggested the insertion of the word “continued” between “should” and “assume”. Secretary Humphrey inquired whether it wasn’t precisely to find out what the Soviet Union was going to demonstrate that we were going to Geneva. Why else would we go? Why go if there were to be absolutely no change in Soviet policy? Agreeing with Secretary Humphrey, Secretary Dulles said that in any case we must not be so stubborn as to refuse to recognize possible changes in the Soviet attitude. Secretary Humphrey went on to observe that it was perfectly all right to insert all kinds of warning in the present paper, but that the United States [Page 273] could not go to Geneva determined to refuse to see any change that might have occurred in Soviet policy. If our delegation so refused, they might as well stay home.

The Council continued to discuss the paragraph on Soviet objectives and to agree to certain changes which are noted in the Record of Action. Secretary Dulles, in the course of this discussion, inquired whether there was any special reason for not including among the Soviet objectives with regard to the Far East the manifest Soviet desire to bring Communist China into the United Nations. The Director of Central Intelligence agreed that this was a major objective, and the Council accordingly agreed to its incorporation in this paragraph.

Mr. Anderson then went on to brief the Council on the paragraph headed “Attitudes and Policies of U.S. European Allies”. When Mr. Anderson reached the point that the governments of our allied countries would be strongly influenced by popular pressures for a reduction of tensions and some form of East-West settlement, the President said he thought this was perhaps the most important paragraph in the whole paper. He based his judgment, he said, on the most recent results of the popular opinion polls taken in the Western European countries under the auspices of the United States Information Agency. The results of some of these polls, said the President, indicated popular attitudes in France and even in Great Britain which were actually alarming. These could not be ignored.

Mr. Anderson proceeded with a briefing of the next paragraph, dealing with U.S. objectives at the forthcoming conference. Apropos of this paragraph, Secretary Dulles said that he had read earlier this morning a very interesting statement which had been sent by the British Ambassador at Moscow to the British Ambassador in Washington, and subsequently to himself. The Ambassador’s statement pointed out that in the Russian language the phrase “negotiating from strength” carried with it an offensive rather than a defensive connotation. Indeed, the Russians use the same words to mean “rape”. It was accordingly not hard to understand the Russian anxiety about our use of the phrase “negotiating from strength”, and this fact should be borne in mind (laughter).

The President continued with his earlier thought, and said that the same public opinion polls indicated to him how very touchy was this matter of “an increase in allied strength, unity and determination”. He then cited the verdict of the polls taken in Western Europe on the subject of possible withdrawal of U.S. forces. These polls indicated a considerable popular opinion in favor of such a withdrawal of U.S. forces under certain circumstances and safeguards. This view, said the President, contrasted sharply with the U.S. position that we were wholly opposed to the withdrawal of U.S. forces at this time.

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Mr. Anderson continued his briefing by reading verbatim the statement of specific U.S. objectives with respect to Europe. When he had reached sub-paragraph c, which indicated that the U.S. and the UK should maintain forces in Germany “to the degree and for the time required by the security interests of the U.S. and its allies, including Germany”, Secretary Dulles said he wished to make a comment. It was of vital importance, he believed, that we should succeed in getting the French to work along together with the Germans. At the moment the French are weak and they are accordingly fearful of the revival of German military strength. Reconciliation between the French and the Germans could accordingly only be achieved if we and the United Kingdom continue to station sufficient forces in Germany which would permit the French to send necessary armed forces to North Africa without fear of the Germans. The French would never agree to accept any significant increase in German military strength if the U.S. withdrew its forces from Europe. Indeed, in such a contingency the French might even agree to make a deal with the Russians in order to keep the Germans down. Perhaps, continued Secretary Dulles, the point he was trying to make was already implicit in this sub-paragraph, but he believed that it would be a good idea to make the thought explicit. In short, our forces were not stationed in Europe solely in relation to a Soviet threat, but as a means of reassuring the French against the Germans. It was agreed to include Secretary Dulles’ point after the President had cited additional USIA public opinion polls in France on this subject.

The President then pointed to sub-paragraph g, which read: “The continued presence of the U.S. in Europe, maintaining such forces there as are necessary, and U.S. participation in the defense of free Europe at least so long as a measurable threat to the peace and security of Europe exists”. The President thought that the phrase “such forces as are necessary” was ambiguous. Moreover, the whole thought in sub-paragraph g should not be set forth as a U.S. objective in Europe, but rather as a U.S. concession to Europe. Secretary Dulles, agreeing with the President, said that of course our true objective was to get out of Europe, but we cannot do so for the time being because our presence is necessary to tide Europe over its insecurity. The President said that he was probably more sensitive on this point than most of those present, since it had fallen to his lot to negotiate and to deal with the committees of the Congress with regard to the dispatching of U.S. forces to Europe in the first instance. Despite everything, we should look on the presence of U.S. armed forces in friendly countries abroad as invariably an emergency measure rather than as a normal aspect of United States policy. The Vice President suggested, and the Council agreed, to delete the first part of sub-paragraph g down to “U.S. participation”.

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Mr. Anderson resumed his briefing with comments on the section of the paper dealing with the general subject of “Germany and European Security”. He noted that the several paragraphs composing this section included statements which were supplements to or elaborations of existing U.S. policy. When he reached the paragraph under this heading dealing with “Security Arrangements”, he pointed out that the United States should be prepared to consider possible regional security arrangements encompassing both the free world and the Soviet bloc countries, including such things as non-aggression declarations or pacts, mutual consultation pacts, guarantees of frontiers, etc., etc., as set forth in this paragraph. The Director of Central Intelligence said he felt that the United States would encounter very grave difficulties if it permitted itself to become involved in the guaranteeing of frontiers and in entering into non-aggression pacts with the countries of the Soviet bloc. Such U.S. action would have serious repercussions in the satellites, and he doubted the wisdom of U.S. entry into a European regional security arrangement which involved either non-aggression pacts or guarantees of frontiers.

Secretary Dulles quickly added that he was about to make the identical objection to the wording of this paragraph. He said that he felt the strongest objection to U.S. involvement in any non-aggression pacts with the USSR. The history of the Soviet use of non-aggression pacts as an entering wedge for aggression was only too well known. There was already sufficient cover for non-aggression undertakings in the Charter of the United Nations. Any additional search for safety from aggression by virtue of non-aggression pacts with the Soviet Union would only provide the free world with a quite false sense of security. As to the matter of guarantee of frontiers, the United States had never been willing to do so, and had most recently indicated its unwillingness to do so in the case of Austria.

The President asked Secretary Dulles to cite instances of violation by the Soviet Union of non-aggression pacts into which it had entered with other nations. Secretary Dulles cited a number of instances, beginning with the Baltic states.

Further discussion resulted in an appropriate revision of the paragraph on security arrangements.

Mr. Anderson then turned to the next paragraph, which dealt with the subject of “Armaments Limitations”, and explained the split views in sub-paragraph c, with the State Department on record as favoring the establishment of arms limitation and controls in Eastern Europe “comparable to the WEU system, possibly with provision for exchange of information and verification of such information”; while the other agencies were recorded as being opposed to U.S. agreement to any proposals for a system of regional arms limitation involving West Europe together with the Soviet satellites. Mr. Anderson explained [Page 276] the anxiety of the Joint Chiefs of Staff lest the State proposal lead to a situation in which the Soviet Union might obtain a voice in decisions as to the level of armament in the countries composing WEU, a matter which these countries now controlled themselves.

The President said he was less worried over the point which bothered the Joint Chiefs of Staff than he was over the possibility that such a regional arms limitation arrangement might give recognition to the existing situation in the Soviet satellites.

With respect to the position taken by the Defense Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary Dulles stated with emphasis his belief that it was wrong for the National Security Council to declare flatly against any security arrangements which involved Eastern Europe. This was certainly an area in which we would be obliged to consider the views of our allies. Furthermore, if limits could be set on the armaments of the Eastern European countries, this would be a very good thing, provided an inspection system functioned properly to see that the agreements were observed.

Governor Stassen said that the great danger here was that if we agreed to any extension of WEU to cover the East European countries, we might well give the Soviet Union a voice in the management of Western European Union itself. The Soviets might well see in this an opportunity to prevent the rearmament of Germany. If they succeeded in this we would be handing them something that they desperately want in return for the very slight gain which we might achieve in limiting the military power of Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Secretary Dulles replied with feeling that we would never succeed in our objective of a united Germany if we insisted upon limitation of the level of German armament, which level was wholly controlled by the Western powers—that is, the unification of Germany would be impossible unless it was achieved under some sort of international control in which the Soviet Union would have a voice. The Soviets would never simply throw East Germany into the pot to be added to West Germany and the united Germany to be further rearmed against the Soviet Union itself.

Governor Stassen replied that if we went so far as to yield to the Russians any considerable degree of control over the rearmament of Germany without getting in return some degree of control over the level of the armaments of the Soviet Union itself, the United States would suffer a net loss to its security.

With some heat, Secretary Dulles answered that he was perfectly agreeable to having the present paragraph concerning armaments limitation state that this was a problem into which the U.S. must go with great care and caution; but he again warned that if we say flatly “no” to any European regional security arrangements we might just [Page 277] as well give up all hope of unifying Germany. Moreover, by such a course of action we would be bound to suffer a severe loss of support from the UK, from France, and from Germany itself. This was a hopeless position for the United States to take. Furthermore, if, as we were discussing at last week’s Council meeting on disarmament,8 there might be conditions under which we would let the Soviet Union send inspectors of armament to the United States, why must we be so afraid to permit Soviet inspectors to verify the level of armaments in Germany?

Governor Stassen reiterated his fear of any Soviet control over Germany. The President added that in this sphere our hand would in all probability be forced if all the rest of our allies desired to enter into such a regional arms limitation agreement. The President said he thought that for the United States to say precisely what it would do in this matter and to make up its mind to refuse to budge from this position, was an impossibility.

Secretary Dulles added that it was certainly highly unrealistic to think that the United States was going to secure a degree of control over the level of armaments in the Soviet Union merely by virtue of some deal respecting the rearming of West Germany.

Governor Stassen repeated his great fear of a Communist voice with respect to the ceiling on the armaments of the Western European powers. There was very little gain if all we got in return for this was a voice in the ceilings which were to be placed on the armaments of the satellite countries. What we really needed to secure was a voice in the control of armaments in the Soviet Union itself.

In reply to Governor Stassen, Secretary Dulles said “Suppose the Soviets state that they will agree to the unification of Germany provided the present limits of German armaments are made permanent. Could we turn down such a Soviet proposition?” Secretary Humphrey answered Secretary Dulles by arguing that at the present time we were in a position among the Western powers to make any agreed changes in the level of German armament. We would no longer be in a position to make such changes if the Soviets were in a position to veto these changes. How could we offset this great Soviet advantage? Could it be offset if the Western powers secured a similar veto on any upping of the level of armaments in the satellite nations?

Secretary Dulles indicated again his strong opposition to a flat NSC veto against European regional security arrangements, and said that this kind of statement by the NSC would tie the U.S. delegation hand and foot in this very delicate area of negotiation at the forthcoming [Page 278] conference. Secretary Wilson commented that despite his dislike of the idea of such a regional arms limitation agreement, he agreed completely with the reasoning of the Secretary of State. Secretary Dulles said that he didn’t like the idea of such a regional armaments limitation agreement either, but it was a subject about which he might very well have to talk at Geneva.

The President said that it seemed to him that all the points that Governor Stassen had made in his exchange of views with Secretary Dulles had actually been included in the version of sub-paragraph c which was favored by the State Department. Secretary Dulles said that in any event he had never for a moment entertained the idea of agreeing to any such European arms limitation agreement involving West Europe and the Soviet satellites unless Germany were first rearmed and unified. He believed that Governor Stassen did not seem to realize that all his argument had been based on the assumption of the prior unification of Germany. The President said that this thought should be made explicit in the paragraph.

Admiral Radford said that the phrase to which the Joint Chiefs of Staff took most objection in the State Department version of subparagraph c was the phrase “comparable to the WEU system”. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that we could not afford to become involved in any arrangement with the satellites like WEU, which was a voluntary association, because to do so would provide the Soviets with a degree of control over Western rearmament which was unacceptable. Moreover, he added, the Chiefs believed that the State draft of sub-paragraph c was by no means clear on the important subject of inspection and control of any European regional arms limitation system.

The President at this point indicated a desire to get on with the remainder of the paper. Secretary Wilson again repeated his support for the views of the Secretary of State, as did Secretary Humphrey, who insisted that those who were going to have to negotiate at Geneva must be given reasonable leeway. This was inherent in any paper prepared in support of the U.S. negotiating position. The argument was settled when the President indicated that it would be best to take the first phrase of the State Department draft and leave out the remainder, which had the United States “favor establishment of limitations and controls in Eastern Europe”.

Mr. Anderson then went on to summarize the next paragraph, dealing with the problem of “Demilitarized Zones”. He pointed out that the Joint Chiefs had reconsidered their earlier view that a demilitarized zone confined to East Germany between the Elbe and [Page 279] Oder-Neisse might be acceptable.9 He called on Admiral Radford to explain more fully the reasons which had induced the Chiefs to reject this possibility.

Admiral Radford replied that the Joint Chiefs had come to feel that this was no longer a fair exchange. As to the problem of demilitarized zones, he added, the Chiefs had before them at least five different plans, none of which was very clear and straightforward in character. The President pointed out that the European powers and the Germans themselves would undoubtedly present plans for a demilitarized zone, of which the United States would have to take account at Geneva and subsequently. Admiral Radford admitted this was true, but expressed the thought that a shorter and more general paragraph on demilitarized zones would be best. The President suggested taking the first and last sentences of the existing paragraph, with which view Admiral Radford expressed agreement. Secretary Humphrey commented that this was another problem on which the United States position must be to some degree elastic, or else the United States had better not go to the Geneva Conference.

Mr. Anderson proceeded to the next paragraph of NSC 5524, dealing with “Withdrawal of Soviet and Western Forces”. Secretary Dulles immediately commented that the paragraph was needlessly long and set forth too many necessary conditions on the willingness of the United States to consider any proposal advanced by other countries at the Conference for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from a united Germany. The only fixed condition and requirement for U.S. consideration of such a proposal was that the proposal have the support of our major European allies, including the Federal Republic of Germany.

The President expressed his agreement with Secretary Dulles’ position, and suggested that the paragraph be limited to the opening lines and the one condition which Secretary Dulles had said was necessary. The remainder of the conditions set forth in the paragraph should be set forth not as conditions but merely as matters which should be borne in mind during discussions of the subject at Geneva. Otherwise we would be setting impossible conditions for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from a united Germany, and we would be inviting great difficulties with our allies.

Secretary Dulles said there was one thing that we could be sure of: When our allies and the Germans say they wish us to withdraw our forces from Europe, we will certainly get out promptly.

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At this point the Vice President said he wished to make a comment. As a general rule, he said, it is important that everything in NSC policy papers be stated with as much precision as possible, but in this particular instance, when the paper in question is being specifically prepared as advice to the President, there was no need or advantage to be so concerned for precision of language.

Mr. Anderson then proceeded to brief the Council on the series of paragraphs relating to the position of the United States in the event of a continuance of two Germanies. His briefing evoked no discussion of the points made under this heading. He accordingly went on to the paragraphs dealing with the “Status of the Soviet Satellites”. The President suggested passing hastily over this matter, since time was running out, and Mr. Anderson went on to discuss the paragraphs relating to the “International Communist Movement”. On this subject Secretary Wilson inquired whether we could not at least induce the Soviet Union to reaffirm the Litvinov Agreement. Mr. Allen Dulles said that the difficulty with such a proposal was that the Soviets might well agree to reaffirm the Litvinov Agreement. At the same time, however, they would call on us to carry out similar commitments which would curtail our activities in the satellites, such as Radio Free Europe and the like. We, of course, would observe our commitments and cease the activities to which the Soviets objected. The Soviets, on the other hand, would not observe their commitments, and would continue to foster the International Communist Movement.

Mr. Anderson then went on to brief the Council on the paragraphs dealing with the U.S. position on East-West trade at the conference, noting the split of views in paragraph 27–a, where the majority proposal indicated that if the United States considered that its interests would be advanced thereby, the United States might agree to adopt a more liberal policy with respect to the export of non-strategic goods in conjunction with a demonstrated Soviet willingness “to expand East-West trade in non-strategic goods”. The Defense proposal, as opposed to the majority proposal, stated that the United States should not agree to such a more liberal policy in the export of non-strategic items except in conjunction with Soviet willingness “to ameliorate the fundamental sources of tension between East and West”.

After Mr. Anderson had explained the difference in these two viewpoints, the President expressed the opinion that this was one which must be played by ear. Secretary Dulles added that there was certainly a considerable difference of opinion as to the importance the Soviets attached to the relaxation of East-West trade restrictions. He said that it was his own feeling that our willingness to relax our [Page 281] trade controls was a strong negotiating card for us vis-à-vis the Soviets.

Secretary Humphrey said that in place of either of the proposed versions, he would substitute the phrase that we would adopt a more liberal trade policy in non-strategic goods “whenever the United States believed that its interests would be advanced thereby”. The President added that that was precisely his view, of course, though he was willing to accept the version proposed by the majority.

Admiral Radford said that wasn’t it a matter of what was strategic and what wasn’t? All that the Soviets really wanted out of East-West trade were strategic items and stuff that contributed to their war potential. In reply, Mr. Anderson read sub-paragraph d, which pointed out that in no event should the United States reduce or eliminate its embargo on arms, ammunition, implements of war, atomic energy materials, or advance prototypes of strategic items.

The President observed that the topic of East-West trade seemed to him to arise at nearly every meeting of the National Security Council; hence the U.S. delegation to Geneva would be very familiar indeed with the views of the Council and there was not the slightest danger of making a mistake in this area, although in the area of East-West trade we might find ourselves on one side of the argument while our allies and the Soviets were on the other.

Mr. Anderson then turned to sub-paragraph e, dealing with the problem of being prepared to discuss trade with Communist China and pointing out that we should not at the Geneva Conference undertake to discuss this matter, for reasons set forth in the sub-paragraph. Mr. Anderson indicated that Mr. Joseph M. Dodge, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Economic Policy, had expressed his agreement with the views set forth in this sub-paragraph.

Governor Stassen said he believed that the allied attitude toward trade controls vis-à-vis Communist China was more favorable to the U.S. view than it had been two years ago. The President said that the fact of the matter was that we were not going to talk about these issues at Geneva.

Secretary Dulles said that he had that very morning suggested to Under Secretary Hoover that he take up with Mr. Dodge’s Council those questions of economic policy and East-West trade that might come up for negotiation after the conclusion of the Summit Conference. Governor Stassen pointed out that unfortunately the Council on Foreign Economic Policy did not have any representation from the Central Intelligence Agency or from the Department of Defense, both of which had a legitimate interest and responsibility on the subject of East-West trade. He therefore suggested that instead of the [Page 282] Dodge Council, Mr. Hollister’s10 people in the State Department provided the best forum for discussions on the U.S. position with respect to East-West trade and similar economic problems. The Hollister people could work out the U.S. position, in which process they would have representation from all the interested agencies. After the position was formulated, Governor Stassen thought that some kind of subcommittee of the Big Four powers would provide the best vehicle for the subsequent international negotiations. The important thing, in any event, said Governor Stassen, is that no single department of the Government can really advise the President on these matters.

The President took issue with Governor Stassen’s argument, and said he believed that Mr. Dodge’s Council, with the additional elements of representation from Defense and CIA, was the best instrumentality for formulating U.S. policy in this field. Mr. Hollister and his people had too many heavy operating responsibilities. In fact, said the President, it was for precisely such matters that we had set up the Dodge Council.

Changing the subject, the President turned to the final section of the paper, dealing with “Far Eastern Issues”, and said he was happy to see that these issues were treated in summary fashion in the paper. Indeed, it might have been better if nothing at all had been said on this subject.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the President turned to Mr. Anderson and said that despite all the comments and criticism, he could not easily conceive of a better service which could have been rendered to himself and to the Secretary of State than this paper which Mr. Anderson and the Planning Board had prepared and which had brought so many differing views forward for discussion. The President then counseled Mr. Anderson to write up a record of the Council’s action and to check this record with the several responsible departments and agencies.

Secretary Humphrey, just before the Council meeting broke up, inquired whether Mr. Anderson should not now be asked to review NSC 5524 in its entirety, in order to remove much of the restrictive language and to emphasize the warning aspects. This process might well be gone through in the light of the view which history would one day take of this paper. In reply, the President announced that he was going to make a TV appearance just prior to departing for Geneva, and he believed that this was the best means, as it were, of setting the tone for this great proceeding. Secretary Wilson added the thought that the forthcoming Geneva Conference would present a great opportunity to the United States.

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The National Security Council:

[Here follow subparagraphs a and b which noted the discussion of NSC 5524 and recorded the various revisions of its text.]

c. Recommended that the President:

Approve NSC 5524 as amended, as supplementing but not superseding existing policy, and direct its use as guidance during the forthcoming negotiations, under the coordination of the Secretary of State.
Direct the Departments of State and Defense, in consultation with other executive departments and agencies as appropriate, to make a continuing examination of the acceptability to the U.S. of proposals which might be considered or advanced during the forthcoming negotiations on (1) European security arrangements, in accordance with paragraph 16, (2) demilitarized zones, in accordance with paragraph 18, and (3) withdrawal of forces, in accordance with paragraphs 19–a and –b; reporting to the National Security Council any major policy recommendations which may result from such examinations.

Note: The recommmendation in c above subsequently approved by the President. NSC 5524, as amended and approved, subsequently circulated as NSC 5524/111 and referred to the Secretary of State in accordance with c–(l) above. The action in c–(2) above, as approved by the President, subsequently transmitted to the Secretaries of State and Defense for implementation.

S. Everett Gleason 12
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Gleason on July 8.
  2. Regarding NSC 5524 and its annexes, see Document 144. The memoranda of July 1 and 5 by Lay circulated copies of Allen Dulles’ memorandum and the comments of the JCS, dated July 2, which are indicated in the discussion below. (Department of State, S/PNSC Files: Lot 61 D 167, NSC 5524 Series) NSC Action No. 1419, taken at the 253d meeting of the Council on June 30, records actions to be taken by Stassen on disarmament.
  3. NSC 5501, “Basic National Security Policy”, dated January 6, 1955, is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming volume of Foreign Relations.
  4. The JCS views are indicated below; copies of the revised text which they suggested are stapled to a copy of NSC 5524 in Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5524 Series. No copy of Anderson’s notes has been found in Department of State files.
  5. For text of Molotov’s speech on June 22, see Tenth Anniversary, pp. 103–115.
  6. For Allen Dulles’ views, see Document 144.
  7. Not printed. (Department of State, INRNIE Files)
  8. A memorandum of the discussion at the 253d meeting of the National Security Council on June 30 is in Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower Papers, Whitman File.
  9. The JCS views on a demilitarized zone in Europe were transmitted to the Department of State on June 3 as an enclosure to a letter from Secretary Wilson to Secretary Dulles. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 483)
  10. John B. Hollister, Director of the International Cooperation Administration.
  11. Document 153.
  12. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.