11. Supplementary Notes of the Legislative Leadership Meeting, March 1, 1955, 8:30–10:30 a.m.1
National Security—In discussion of the opposition to the Administration’s plan for reducing force levels of the services, the President remarked on the irony of having spent a good part of his life fighting for an increase in the strength of the Army from 118,000 to 121,000, and then getting to the time when an Army of a million men backed by large reserve forces would be regarded as too small.
The President said there comes a limit to how much defense we can buy, and then morale and spirit and such things become of top importance. He noted how some say we should have more divisions on hand because many of the divisions of some of our allies aren’t as effective as they should be. But if a great Russian land attack occurs, [Page 58]he pointed out, it would do no good to ship divisions; by the time these divisions could be getting into full action, the damage would be done.
The President said that if you graph the curves of various elements and their strength and effectiveness at particular times, you can see how you must concentrate on the curves that are most practical. If, for instance, Cleveland were bombed, forces at Camp Hood could not do much good when there would be such chaos in the transportation system. But, he thought, it would be useful to have a good “home guard.”
Sen. Saltonstall remarked on General Ridgway’s “need a big army” line.
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Legislative Meetings. Confidential. Drafted by Minnich. Copies sent to Whitman and Minnich. Present at the meeting were: the President; Senators Knowland, Saltonstall, Millikin, and Bridges; Representatives Martin, Halleck, Allen, and Arends; Secretary Humphrey; Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield; Sherman Adams; General Persons; Gerald Morgan, Special Counsel to the President; James Hagerty; Murray Snyder, Assistant Press Secretary; Bryce Harlow; Howard Pyle, Fred Seaton, and Jack Martin, Administrative Assistants to the President; Homer Gruenther, and Earle Chesney, Assistants to the Deputy Assistant to the President; and Minnich. (Ibid.,Eisenhower Records, President’s Appointment Book) An agenda of the meeting attached to the source text lists eight items; the notes printed here presumably relate to item 3, military reserve bill.↩