119. Memorandum of Discussion at the 325th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, May 27, 19571
[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda item 1, “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security,” an oral briefing by Allen Dulles.]
2. Basic National Security Policy (NSC 5602/1; Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “Review of Basic National Security Policy: Proposed Council Agenda”, dated February 19, 1957; NSC Action No. 1675; NSC 5707; NSC 5707/1; NSC 5707/2;NSC 5707/3; NSC 5707/4; NSC 5707/5;NSC 5707/6; NSC 5707/7; Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “Basic National Security Policy”, dated May 24, 1957)2[Page 489]
Mr. Cutler commenced his briefing with a reminder to the Council of the new approach to the revision of basic national security policy. (A copy of Mr. Cutler’s briefing note is filed in the minutes of the meeting.)3 He suggested that before explaining to the Council the major differences which had developed in the paper on the use of nuclear weapons in local war, he would like to clear up certain less significant points of controversy. Accordingly, he asked the Council to turn to paragraph 12, on page 5 of NSC 5707/7, which read as follows:
“12. The United States will [produce and]*4 be prepared to use chemical and bacteriological weapons in general war** to the extent that they will enhance the military effectiveness of the armed forces. The decision as to their use will be made by the President.
- “*Proposed by ODM Member.
- “**ODM Member proposes deletion of the phrase ‘in general’.”
After reading the paragraph and explaining the difference between the majority view and the ODM view, Mr. Cutler asked Mr. Gray to speak to the point.
Mr. Gray said that he did not wish to stand on the inclusion of the bracketed phrase “[produce and]”. He said, however, that he wanted at least to raise the question as to the wisdom of limiting the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons to general war as opposed to limited conflicts.
Mr. Cutler then asked Admiral Radford for his views. Admiral Radford replied that the text of paragraph 12 as written, without the bracketed language and without the deletion of the phrase “in general war”, was satisfactory to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Admiral Radford explained that if a situation developed in which a commander wished to use these weapons in a local conflict, he would apply for authority to order the use of such weapons, and we could make a decision at the time. As far as military planning was concerned, the question was not particularly serious.
Secretary Wilson said he favored leaving paragraph 12 as it was and as Admiral Radford had suggested. Mr. Gray repeated that he was not pressing for the changes proposed by the ODM Member of the Planning Board. The President said it was all right to leave it as written, because the phrase “be prepared to use” implied at least some production of chemical and bacteriological weapons. Accordingly, Mr. Cutler suggested that the paragraph be left as written in NSC 5707/7.[Page 490]
Mr. Cutler next invited the Council’s attention to another split of views, this time in paragraph 49, on page 21, reading as follows:
“49. Stockpiling. The United States should not authorize further procurement for additions to the stockpile for strategic and critical materials, except to complete the three-year objectives.*”
- “* Pending further study of the effects of this paragraph, the ODM Member reserves his position.“
Mr. Cutler explained that in place of the present paragraph 49, Mr. Gray had proposed a revision in lieu of his present reservation on this paragraph. Mr. Cutler then read Mr. Gray’s suggested revision, as follows:
“49. Stockpiling. The United States should not authorize further procurement* for additions to the Strategic Stockpile beyond the 3-year procurement priority levels except in those limited cases where procurement, within the long-term objectives, is necessary to maintain a vital domestic materials mobilization base.
- “* This limitation would not apply in those cases where commitments have already been made to purchase or otherwise acquire materials for the Strategic Stockpile or for transfer to it under the Defense Production Act or Commodity Credit Corporation programs.”
Describing Mr. Gray’s version as more exact in its terminology, Mr. Cutler called on Mr. Gray for further elucidation.
Mr. Gray emphasized that his proposed new language would not really change the spirit or intent of the first version of paragraph 49— that is, his revised paragraph would still confine new stockpiling procurement to the completion of the 3-year objectives. On the other hand, his language would protect the programs that we are now engaged upon with respect to certain materials such as lead, zinc, antimony, etc., pending the development of a Long-Range Minerals Program. 5 If the Council accepted the Planning Board language instead of Mr. Gray’s, the effect would be to put an immediate stop to further procurement of these minerals. Moreover, additional materials might be included next year, in accordance with the exceptions policy directed by the President in 1954. In short, we may feel that it will be necessary to procure some other commodities and materials in order to preserve a vital mobilization base. This was, in summary, the purpose of the changes proposed in his version of paragraph 49.
The President recalled that Mr. Gray had spoken of the possibility of jeweled bearings being stockpiled. Was anybody thinking of taking jeweled bearings out of the stockpile? Mr. Gray replied that jeweled bearings would be taken out of the stockpile only in the event of an [Page 491]emergency. The President stated that we already have a 3 year supply of these bearings, and why were we proposing to get any more? Secretary Wilson replied that the reason we were proposing to get more was the “interest” which certain people had in jeweled bearings. He added that he was sternly opposed to continuing to maintain the 5 year objectives for stockpile levels, and was even somewhat dubious about the 3 year objectives.
Director Brundage asked Mr. Gray whether he was still purchasing lead and zinc for purposes of the mobilization base. Mr. Gray said that he was purchasing lead and zinc in accordance with the President’s directive to support a certain domestic production of these minerals. In point of fact, we had lead and zinc running out of our ears, and we would stop purchasing lead and zinc as soon as the proposed Long-Range Minerals Program was finally adopted.
Mr. Cutler inquired whether Mr. Gray did not feel that his revised language was necessary in order to bring the national stockpiling policy into consonance with the views of Congress. Mr. Gray replied in the negative, and said that his revised language was designed to take account of the President’s directive of 1954.
Secretary Humphrey said he could perfectly well understand Mr. Gray’s argument in favor of trying to ease off procurement of such minerals gradually and not suddenly. Nevertheless, he believed that we really must decide to come to a full stop in procurement of these minerals at some definite date and before three or four more years go by. Essentially we were engaged in procuring lead and zinc in order to avoid raising the tariff on imports of these minerals. If Congress did not adopt the Department of the Interior’s Long-Range Minerals Program, why should we continue this subterfuge of purchasing lead and zinc to avoid raising the tariff on them?
Mr. Gray replied that if this were done he would have to recommend to the President that he change the Executive Order of 1954. If the National Security Council directed the cutting off of further procurement of lead and zinc while the Congress is engaged in considering the Long-Range Minerals Program, we would be facing a very difficult situation. Secretary Humphrey said that he was not suggesting the cutting off of the procurement of lead and zinc prior to the end of the current session of Congress. He was merely arguing against continuing to purchase lead and zinc in the course of future sessions of Congress.
Mr. Gray said that he too disliked the use of stockpiling funds for these purposes, but that he did not see how he could cut off such procurement until the Administration took a different view of the matter. Secretary Wilson said that we all understood Mr. Gray’s position, but when did Mr. Gray plan to stop future procurement of these minerals? Mr. Gray said that of course this was purely a political [Page 492]problem. He would like very much himself to get off the hook, but the matter was also related to the barter of surplus agricultural commodities for minerals having a strategic value to the United States.
The President said that the point was at least arguable. After all, the Council had decided to place these minerals, which did not deteriorate in value, in the stockpile in exchange for certain surplus commodities whose value after a time would deteriorate. He still believed that this policy made good sense.
Mr. Cutler then suggested that the Council adopt Mr. Gray’s proposed language temporarily, until such time as Mr. Gray could come in with new language and after adoption of the Long-Range Minerals Program. Secretary Wilson commented that Mr. Cutler’s proposal would put Mr. Gray in a better position, but would put Secretary Wilson in a worse position. After all, the Defense Department could establish no security need for this kind of procurement for the stockpile. The President argued that this was not precisely the case. One of our purposes in acquiring these strategic materials from overseas was to help our allies and friendly nations who were in need of help. Accordingly in one sense, at least, this type of procurement was related to national defense.
Mr. Cutler then suggested further language to meet the points raised in the discussion, and asked Secretary Dulles to speak. Secretary Dulles replied that he thought Mr. Cutler’s language was appropriate. The original procurement program adopted by the Council in the interests of national defense and national security had worked well, but it was now on the point of collapsing. Accordingly, Secretary Dulles trusted that we would soon be given the Long-Range Minerals Program. If we failed to get this program, then it would be necessary for the National Security Council to review the entire procurement policy. Mr. Gray and Secretary Wilson both found difficulties with the language suggested by Mr. Cutler, and Secretary Wilson suggested language which would continue procurement under Mr. Gray’s exception clause, “until mobilization base needs were clarified”. Mr. Gray, however, took exception to this proposal, and stated that while he agreed firmly that there should be no further additions to the strategic stockpile beyond the 3-year levels, he had nevertheless been informed by staff officials of the Defense Department that it was necessary to take measures to keep jeweled bearings in production in the United States. The President agreed with this point, and added that it was for reasons of national security that we had raised the tariff recently on jeweled bearings.[Page 493]
Mr. Cutler pointed out that in view of the variety of opinion and the length of time which the Council had given to this problem, it might be feasible simply to state that paragraph 49, on stockpiling, would be deleted and the subject brought up for separate consideration at a later time. The President agreed with Mr. Cutler’s suggestion.
Mr. Cutler stated that he would now like to have the Council turn to the major area of policy cleavage in NSC 5707/7. These cleavages occurred in paragraph 11, 15 and 17. At the same time, he invited the Council’s attention to the sheets which had been passed out to the members of the Council, on which were noted paragraphs 11, 15, 16 and 17 as they were set forth in existing policy (NSC 5602/1) and as these paragraphs would read in the proposed revisions in NSC 5707/ 7. (Copies of these sheets6 are filed in the minutes of the meeting.) The existing and proposed versions of these paragraphs were read by Mr. Cutler as follows:
|“ Existing Policy (NSC 5602/1)||“ Proposed Revision (NSC 5707/7)|
|“11. It is the policy of the United States to integrate nuclear weapons with other weapons in the arsenal of the United States. Nuclear weapons will be used in general war and in military operations short of general war as authorized by the President. Such authorization as may be given in advance will be determined by the President.”||“11. It is the policy of the United States to place main, but not sole, reliance on nuclear weapons, to integrate nuclear weapons with other weapons in the arsenal of the United States, to consider them as conventional weapons from a military point of view, and to use them when required to achieve military objectives. Advance authorization for their use is as determined by the President.”|
|“15. Within the total U.S. military forces there must be included ready forces which, with such help as may realistically be expected from allied forces, are adequate (a) to present a deterrent to any resort to local aggression, and (b) to defeat or hold, in conjunction with indigenous forces, any such local aggression, pending the application of such additional U.S. and allied power as may be required to suppress quickly the local aggression in a manner and on a scale best calculated to avoid the hostilities broadening into general war. Such ready forces must be sufficiently versatile to use both conventional and nuclear weapons. They must be highly mobile and suitably deployed, recognizing that some degree of maldeployment from the viewpoint of general war must be accepted. Such forces must not become so dependent on tactical nuclear capabilities that any decision to intervene against local aggression would probably be tantamount to a decision to use nuclear weapons. However, these forces must also have a flexible and selective nuclear capability, since the United States will not preclude itself from using nuclear weapons even in a local situation.”||“15. Within the total U.S. military forces there must be
included ready forces which, with such help as may
realistically be expected from allied forces, are adequate
(a) to present a deterrent to any resort to local
aggression, and (b) to defeat or hold, in conjunction with
indigenous forces, any such local aggression, pending the
application of such additional U.S. and allied power [Page 494]as may be required
to suppress quickly the local aggression. Such ready forces
must be highly mobile and suitably deployed, recognizing
that some degree of maldeployment from the viewpoint of
general war must be accepted.
“The use of nuclear weapons in limited war is unlikely by itself to result in general nuclear war. Furthermore, the prompt and resolute application of the degree of force necessary to defeat local aggression is considered the best means to keep hostilities from broadening into general war. Therefore, to oppose local aggression, U.S. forces must have a flexible and selective nuclear capability and, when its use is required, apply it in a manner and on a scale best calculated to prevent hostilities from broadening into general war.”
|16. With the coming of nuclear parity, the ability to apply force selectively and flexibly will become increasingly important in maintaining the morale and will of the Free World to resist aggression. The United States and its allies must avoid getting themselves in a position where they must choose between (a) not responding to local aggression and (b) applying force in a way which our own people or our allies would consider entails undue risks of nuclear devastation. The apprehensions of U.S. allies as to using nuclear weapons to counter local aggression can be lessened if the U.S. deterrent force is not [Page 495]solely dependent on such weapons, thus avoiding the question of their use unless and until the deterrent fails. In the event of actual Communist local aggression, the United States should, if necessary, make its own decision as to the use of nuclear weapons. In the last analysis, when confronted by the choice of (a) acquiescing in Communist aggression or (b) taking measures risking either general war or loss of allied support, the United States must be prepared to take these risks if necessary for its security.”||No comparable paragraph.|
|“17. National security policy is predicated upon the support and cooperation of appropriate major allies and certain other Free World countries, in furnishing bases for U.S. military power and in providing their share of military forces. It is important for the United States to take the necessary steps to convince its allies, particularly its NATO allies, that U.S. strategy and policy serve their security as well as its own, and that the United States is committed to their defense and possesses the capability to fulfill that commitment. The United States should strengthen as practicable, the collective defense system and utilize, where appropriate, the possibilities of collective action through the UN. The United States should provide new weapons (non-nuclear) and advanced technology to allies capable of using them effectively, taking into account the protection of classified data, the essential requirements [Page 496]of U.S. forces, production capabilities and the likely availability of funds. Atomic energy legislation as it relates to weapons should be progressively relaxed to the extent required for the progressive integration of such weapons into NATO defenses, to the extent of enabling selected allies to be able to use them upon the outbreak of war. The United States should continue to provide military and other assistance, including where deemed appropriate new weapons and advanced technology, to dependable allied nations where such assistance is necessary to enable them to make their appropriate contributions to collective military power. Special attention in the technological field should be directed to assisting selected U.S. allies rapidly to develop their own advanced weapons systems, and in other ways significantly to increase utilization of Free World scientific and technological resources.”||“16. U.S. security is predicated upon the support and
cooperation of appropriate major allies and certain other
Free World countries, in providing their share of military
forces and in furnishing bases for U.S. military power
(although U.S. dependence on such bases is likely to
diminish over the long run). The United States should take
the necessary steps to convince its NATO and other allies that U.S. strategy and
policy serve their security as well as its own, and that,
while their full contribution and participation must be
forthcoming, the United States is committed to their defense
and possesses the capability to fulfill that commitment. The
United States should strengthen as practicable the
collective defense system and utilize, where appropriate,
the possibilities of collective action through the
“17. a. The United States and its allies must accept nuclear weapons as an integral part of the arsenal of the Free World and the need for their prompt and selective use when required. Taking into account the protection of classified data, the essential requirements of U.S. forces, production capabilities, and the likely availability of funds, the United States should continue to provide to allies capable of using them effectively advanced weapons systems (including nuclear weapons systems less nuclear elements).
“b. Additionally, the United States should in the future, as feasible and appropriate, provide selected major allies with nuclear weapons with nuclear elements under arrangements which insure their employment in accordance with combined operational plans and common objectives. The United States should assist selected major U.S. allies rapidly to develop their own advanced weapons systems (excluding nuclear elements except in the case of the U.K.) and in other ways significantly to increase utilization of Free World scientific and technological resources. To achieve the foregoing, atomic energy legislation relating to nuclear weapons should, as necessary, be progressively relaxed.”
In the course of commenting on paragraph 17–b, Mr. Cutler pointed out that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had suggested the substitution of the phrase “the United Kingdom and Canada” for “selected [Page 497]major allies” in the first sentence of the paragraph, and the deletion of the last two sentences.7
Mr. Cutler then said that the State Member of the Planning Board had indicated great concern over the proposed revision of paragraphs 11, 15 and 17. While he had not actually suggested alternate language, he had set forth the general views of the State Department on these paragraphs in the Annex to NSC 5707/7,8 beginning on page 23. Mr. Cutler then read paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Annex, as follows:
- “3. Three factors greatly complicate the problem of dealing
effectively with limited hostilities:
- “a. The wide range of contingencies as to objectives, participants, locale, extent, weapons, tactics—and the degree of intervention required from the United States.
- “b. Our continued dependence on our allies and other Free World countries. If local aggression is to be prevented, we must rely on them to maintain their will to resist, their appropriate share of military forces, and access to their territories for the Free World military operations. Our policy and strategy cannot succeed unless they consider that their interests are served as well as our own.
- “c. The extensive capabilities available to the USSR for direct or indirect local aggression using both conventional forces and nuclear weapons systems, and extending from threat to enticement.
- “4. To fulfill our political purposes, our military policy and
strategy for dealing with limited hostilities must:
- “a. Leave the President free to choose the appropriate means (including choice as to nuclear or non-nuclear weapons) for responding to limited hostilities in the light of actual political and military circumstances.
- “b. Offer the best prospect for coping with limited hostilities effectively with minimum risk of their expanding into general war.
- “c. Not risk erosion of alliance and base arrangements vital to our security.
- “d. Not lead threatened nations to reject U.S. military support in case of limited hostilities; or facilitate Soviet indirect aggression and subversion or foster accommodation.
- “e. Not prejudice our moral leadership in the world by appearing to commit us to use of undue force.”
As a procedure, Mr. Cutler suggested that the Council look first at paragraph 17 of NSC 5707/7, pointing out that in addition to the objections of the State Member of the Planning Board, the AEC Observer believed it premature to authorize giving nuclear weapons to foreign nations or assisting them technically in developing their own, and that he was therefore opposed to modifying existing legislation on this subject.
The President turned to Admiral Strauss and asked why the Atomic Energy Commission was opposed to changing the existing atomic energy legislation relating to nuclear weapons. Admiral Strauss replied that the AEC objection was based on the belief that the protection of classified information relative to the construction of nuclear weapons was not adequately safeguarded by our allies. If such information became available to the Soviets it would constitute information some of which we do not think the Soviets now have. Admiral Strauss therefore counselled that our policy should be to keep nuclear warheads under our own U.S. control, although they should be located in close proximity to the weapons in which they would be used in the event of war.
Apropos of the suggestion of the Joint Chiefs, the President asked Admiral Radford whether he had carefully considered the effect on our other allies of a U.S. policy which would restrict the provision of nuclear weapons and warheads to the United Kingdom and Canada alone. Admiral Radford replied that the Joint Chiefs had considered this matter, but had agreed that from the point of view of U.S. national security the most important course of action was to give such nuclear weapons to Canada for the air defense of the continent, in which the role of Canada was an integral part of the total defense picture. Admiral Radford admitted that providing these weapons to the United Kingdom would constitute a more difficult problem. [1 sentence (44 words) not declassified]
The President then suggested that subparagraph 17–b be rewritten to state in effect that in order to integrate the air defense of the continent, it was essential that Canada be provided with ground-to-air nuclear weapons. Admiral Radford replied that for that matter the Joint Chiefs of Staff would just as soon drop out the entire subparagraph, since the matter could not now be decided in any event (presumably because of the requirement for a change in the legislation). The President said that this was the way he certainly felt about it. Secretary Wilson and Secretary Quarles agreed on the desirability of deleting subparagraph 17–b altogether, in view of the existing world situation.
Mr. Cutler asked Admiral Radford if he thought deletion of subparagraph 17–b was indeed the best solution, or would it be better to go back to the phraseology on this subject which was contained in [Page 499]NSC 5602/1, the old policy. On further consideration, Mr. Cutler suggested that perhaps the best solution would be to delete subparagraph 17–b and adopt subparagraph 17–a, provided the course of action in subparagraph 17–a could be accomplished now without any change in legislation. Admiral Strauss and Admiral Radford agreed that there was no existing bar to carrying out the course of action set forth in subparagraph 17–a.
Mr. Cutler then suggested that the Council turn its attention to paragraph 15, which contained the most serious split of views with respect to the use of nuclear weapons in local aggression and related matters. He reminded the Council that the President had requested the Defense Department to draft its views on this subject in the manner which most fully represented the views of the Defense Department. He then called on Secretary Dulles to speak on this issue.
Secretary Dulles stated that he wished to speak rather generally of the new concept formulated by the Defense Department in paragraph 15 and in several other places in NSC 5707/7. He said he would preface his remarks by saying that he believed he accepted as fully as anyone present, and certainly more fully than any of his State Department colleagues, the inevitability of the general use of nuclear military power as conventional. As new sources of power have been developed historically, there were inevitably great difficulties of adjusting to them; but nevertheless one had in the last analysis to be realistic and to make the adjustment. The real problem, therefore, was the timeliness of the steps proposed by the Defense Department in NSC 5707/ 7, rather than the ultimate inevitability of treating nuclear weapons as conventional weapons. This, said Secretary Dulles, was not the time, in his opinion, to go as far as these paragraphs of NSC 5707/7 suggested. In the first place, in point of fact the United States does not now possess any nuclear weapons which are really limited in scope and power. Our so-called “little bang weapons” are actually of the type which produced such sensational results at Hiroshima. Thus, whether we have yet reached a point where we could wage a limited war with this kind of nuclear weapons, is very doubtful indeed.
Secondly, the concept of selectivity simply cannot be disregarded, and the apparent proposal to do so would run counter to public opinion as it has come down through the ages. The time will undoubtedly come when atomic weapons will be so varied and so selective that we can make use of them without involving widespread devastation, but that time is not yet. Thus, whereas the language of paragraphs 15 and 16 of the existing policy (NSC 5602/1) had emphasized that we should be prepared to make use of force selectively, the proposed revision of paragraph 15 in the present paper (NSC 5707/7) merely says that we will use atomic weapons selectively. Secretary Dulles stressed that he did not believe that we were yet ready and prepared to [Page 500]exercise a selective nuclear capability. If he were wrong, and we already did possess this selective nuclear capability, it was certainly something that the National Security Council should know about.
At this point Admiral Strauss interrupted, and asked if he could point out that nuclear weapons were now being developed which were approximately 10%, or even 5%, of the size of the weapon used at Nagasaki. Admittedly, however, these small weapons were in comparatively limited quantity at the present time. They were expensive, but the number of them could be increased if this were directed by authority.
Secretary Dulles went on to say that if in fact we now do have sufficient nuclear weapons to permit us to use them and at the same time confine the effects to local theatres of operations, it was extremely important that we should know this fact. Admiral Strauss indicated that this was a recent development. Secretary Dulles continued, pointing out that even if we do now have this capability (and he had not known it), our allies certainly do not realize that we possess such a capability. Accordingly, we must convince our allies that we have this capability and that these weapons can be used in such a way as to avoid the entire devastation of vast areas. Until we do so, the course of action proposed in the revision of paragraph 15 could be very dangerous indeed. For example, Chancellor Adenauer9 believes, as a result of deep religious feelings, that the use of this type of force and this sort of weapon is wrong. Furthermore, said Secretary Dulles, he well remembered, some fifty years ago this week, the Peace Conference of 1907 at The Hague. This Conference was called to try to control warfare by submarines and balloons, there being no aircraft to control or exclude. The attitude of the German delegation on this occasion made a very deep impression on everybody. It was their view that it was simply not practical to make exceptions of any particular weapon and, indeed, that perhaps the best deterrent to war was to avoid making war more humane. Perhaps the Germans were right in this respect, but their timing was certainly wrong, and a very bad impression was made for Germany.
For reasons such as this, the United States could not disregard important elements of world opinion, and Secretary Dulles said he was convinced that world opinion was not yet ready to accept the general use of nuclear weapons in local conflicts. If we resort to such a use of nuclear weapons we will, in the eyes of the world, be cast as a ruthless military power, as was Germany earlier.[Page 501]
Secretary Dulles indicated that each of the Assistant Secretaries in the State Department had been asked to give his reaction to this problem.10 All of them were strongly opposed to the policy on the subject proposed in NSC 5707/7, because of the disastrous effect of such a policy on public opinion in the areas for which these Assistant Secretaries were responsible. Secretary Dulles predicted that all this would change at some point in the future, but the time had not yet come, even if the United States is beginning to manufacture these smaller nuclear weapons. The State Department people prefer the older concept that “force” would be applied selectively, rather than the new concept that “nuclear weapons” will be applied selectively. Hence Secretary Dulles said that it was his view that the policy proposed in paragraph 15 of NSC 5707/7 reflected the wave of the future. As our allies become more and more acquainted with the facts of our selective nuclear capability, this wave of the future will be accepted by them. Meanwhile, the limitations on this issue set forth in NSC 5602/ 1 should be retained in the new basic national security policy paper. To illustrate his point, Secretary Dulles alluded to specific illustrations in paragraphs 15, 16 and 17 of NSC 5707/7.
When Secretary Dulles had concluded his general observations, Mr. Cutler suggested that before the Council got down to considering the details of the phrasing of the paper, it should hear from Admiral Radford or Secretary Wilson on the general subject which had just been discussed by Secretary Dulles.
Admiral Radford stated that he personally did not disagree with much that Secretary Dulles had said. Perhaps much of the difficulty stemmed from the use to which this paper would be put. It is, of course, not given wide publicity. Nevertheless, in the Free World people do believe that U.S. military planning is along the line set forth in NSC 5707/7, and furthermore, said Admiral Radford, in his view we really adopted the essentials of this policy as far back as 1953. We have gotten a decision from the President, and we are in fact planning essentially along the lines of the military strategy set forth in NSC 5707/7.
Admiral Radford went on to say that for many years to come our stockpile of atomic weapons will not be so great as to permit any promiscuous use of such weapons. Moreover, for years to come the United States will continue to have very great conventional military capabilities. Nevertheless, we cannot go along with the old language of NSC 5602/1 with respect to the military elements of our national [Page 502]strategy. The language of NSC 5602/1 was simply too open and too fuzzed up to be useful for military planning purposes in the Defense Department.
Secretary Wilson commented that he was conscious that his own personal point of view was not as different from that of the Secretary of State as might seem to be the case. NSC 5707/7 was, after all, a secret policy paper, and one that is looking ahead to the future. After the President had interrupted briefly to express his strong and continued opposition to sending classified NSC papers overseas, Secretary Wilson continued his remarks. He noted that in the area under discussion, our program must be evolutionary rather than revolutionary in character. As Admiral Radford had pointed out, the United States still has strong conventional military capabilities. But the other side of the picture was this: The Defense Department was often severely criticized for seeming to develop two or even three different kinds of strategy, and Secretary Wilson said he could not go for this course of action either. There was, after all, no real way of avoiding resort to new military power once such power appears in the world. Accordingly, nuclear power must be developed and exploited, although on an evolutionary basis.
Finally, said Secretary Wilson, he was profoundly troubled about the definitions of limited war. Any kind of war in which U.S. military personnel were involved was very liable to develop into a big war. Secretary Wilson did not think that the United States should fight small wars. It should keep out of them. There should be no more Koreas. Accordingly, Secretary Wilson advised that this matter be clarified in the present paper and not leave the Defense Department to develop two strategies, each one of which cost billions of dollars. He said he would recommend that the Defense Department concept be rewritten to take account of the evolutionary development of the use of nuclear weapons.
Secretary Dulles commented that it likewise seemed to him that his own views were not greatly different from those of Admiral Radford and Secretary Wilson. But the evolutionary process of which Secretary Wilson had spoken must be timed both with relation to the techniques of the art of war and with the development of public opinion. He said that he felt a great sympathy for and an acceptance of the views of the Defense Department, but he did not want the United States to get out of step with world opinion.
The President stated that he had talked over these problems with Mr. Cutler prior to the meeting. At this time the President said that he himself had proposed a new sentence as an introduction to the second paragraph of paragraph 15 of NSC 5707/7, which the President read as follows: “local aggression as used in this paragraph refers only to conflicts occurring in less developed areas of the world, in which [Page 503]limited U.S. forces participate because U.S. interests are involved.” The President said that he had also a substitute for the last sentences in the second paragraph of paragraph 15, which he thought might meet the points which had been raised in the Council discussion thus far. The President read these sentences as follows: “Therefore, military planning for U.S. forces to oppose local aggression will be based on the development of a flexible and selective capability, including nuclear capability for use as authorized by the President. When the use of U.S. forces is required to oppose local aggression, force will be applied in a manner and on a scale best calculated to avoid hostilities from broadening into general war.”
Admiral Radford first referred to earlier discussions on measures required to protect Taiwan from Chinese Communist aggression and the need to use nuclear weapons in its defense. He added that what the President had suggested seemed to him exactly what we needed by way of revision. Mr. Cutler agreed with Admiral Radford, and reread paragraph 15 in its entirety as amended by the President. In explanation of his amendments, the President pointed out that military action in Berlin could not be kept local in character; nor, probably, could military action in the Near East. Limited wars could really only be limited in underdeveloped areas.
Secretary Dulles then stated his objection to the statement in paragraph 15 that “The use of nuclear weapons in limited war is unlikely by itself to result in general nuclear war.” The President added that with respect to his inclusion of language in the last sentences of paragraph 15 to indicate the development of a flexible and selected capability for use as authorized by the President, this qualification was not likely to impose any problems, because in the contingency of limited war as opposed to general war, it would not be difficult, in a timely manner, to get the President’s authorization for the use of nuclear weapons.
Mr. Cutler suggested that if the language proposed by the President was agreeable, the Council look at paragraph 11, with particular reference to what he understood to be the views of the Secretary of State. Secretary Dulles said he would prefer the phraseology “and to use them when required to achieve national objectives” rather than the phraseology “when required to achieve military objectives.” The President and other members of the Council agreed with Secretary Dulles’ preference.
Mr. Cutler then invited the Council’s attention to paragraph 17-a, and the Secretary of State indicated that he did not like the phraseology “The United States and its allies must accept nuclear weapons as an integral part of the arsenal of the Free World, etc., etc.”. The President asked Secretary Dulles whether he meant that in effect we, the United States, accept nuclear weapons as an integral part of our [Page 504]arsenal, and we are trying to educate our allies to the same acceptance. Secretary Dulles said that the President was right, and that we were furthermore making considerable progress in getting our allies to accept this concept. Admiral Radford noted that as far back as 1953 the State Department had been charged in our basic national security policy paper with the effort to convince our allies that nuclear weapons should be an integral part of the Free World’s arsenal. He added that the State Department had done very well in carrying out this task. Mr. Cutler suggested that in place of the word “must”, we should insert the phrase “should continue to persuade”. The Council accepted Mr. Cutler’s amendment.
Mr. Cutler then asked Secretary Dulles whether he believed it desirable, as was suggested in the State Department annex to NSC 5707/7, that there should be a further study by an informed and disinterested group of the problem of the limited use of force or hypothetical studies of limited war. Secretary Dulles replied in the negative, as did the President and Admiral Radford, both with emphasis. The President, however, added that he would like to have Admiral Strauss come in with a report and a diagram delineating nuclear weapons available to the United States, from the 10-megaton weapon all the way down to the smallest size of nuclear weapon, as encompassed in our present programs. This should include the percentages of the different categories of weapons.11
Secretary Humphrey turned to the President and said he had just one observation to make. Let us be sure that we are clear, and that the language we choose is clear, as to the kind of program we are planning—the program for military planning of weapons, not the program for diplomacy. Secretary Humphrey warned that if we did not tailor our military planning and our military expenditures to nuclear capabilities, the result would cost an awful lot of money. No misunderstanding can be permitted that we are engaged in developing and continuing two distinct military capabilities and two different military strategies. The President commented that there just must be good sense and good judgment in this matter. Secretary Wilson strongly supported the point made by Secretary Humphrey.
Although Secretary Dulles was obliged to leave the meeting at this point to keep his engagement with Chancellor Adenauer, Mr. Cutler asked the President’s permission to call attention to a number of other paragraphs in NSC 5707/7 which had been agreed to in the Planning Board but which, nevertheless, marked a significant change of emphasis over the equivalent paragraphs in NSC 5602/1. In the course of pointing out these agreed paragraphs, Mr. Cutler came to paragraph 19, reading as follows: [Page 505]
“19. In those countries with which the United States does not have mutual security agreements, the United States should, where appropriate, avoid the provision of grant assistance as a means of compensation for base rights.”
With respect to this paragraph, Secretary Wilson said he believed that it should be deleted in its entirety. The United States should decide only on an ad hoc basis what it should do by way of compensation for base rights. Moreover, it was inopportune to agree to the policy set forth in paragraph 19 at the very time that former Assistant Secretary of Defense Nash was engaged in a review of U.S. base problems world-wide.12 Admiral Radford strongly supported Secretary Wilson’s views. The President commented that in place of paragraph 19 he would prefer to put in language suggesting that we should look at our overseas bases with a very jaundiced eye, to see if in point of fact we needed them all (laughter).
Mr. Cutler suggested elimination of paragraph 19, and this met with general agreement.
The National Security Council:13
- Noted and discussed the draft statement of Basic National Security Policy contained in NSC 5707/7, prepared by the NSC Planning Board on the basis of the discussion at the NSC meetings on the NSC 5707 Series; in the light of the revision of paragraph 49 of NSC 5707/ 7 proposed by the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization, and of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, transmitted by the reference memoranda of May 24, 1957.
- Adopted the statement of policy in NSC 5707/7, subject to the following amendments:
- Page 5, paragraph 11: Revise to
read as follows:
“11. It is the policy of the United States to place main, but not sole, reliance on nuclear weapons; to integrate nuclear weapons with other weapons in the arsenal of the United States; to consider them as conventional weapons from a military point of view; and to use them when required to achieve national objectives. Advance authorization for their use is as determined by the President.”
- Page 5, paragraph 12: Delete the bracketed words and the footnotes.
- Page 6, paragraph 15: Revise to
read as follows:
“15. Within the total U.S. military forces there must be included ready forces which, with such help as may realistically be expected from allied forces, are adequate (a) to present a deterrent to any resort to local aggression, and (b) to defeat or [Page 506]hold, in conjunction with indigenous forces, any such local aggression, pending the application of such additional U.S. and allied power as may be required to suppress quickly the local aggression. Such ready forces must be highly mobile and suitably deployed, recognizing that some degree of maldeployment from the viewpoint of general war must be accepted.
“Local aggression as used in this paragraph 15 refers only to conflicts occurring in less developed areas of the world, in which limited U.S. forces participate because U.S. interests are involved. The prompt and resolute application of the degree of force necessary to defeat local aggression is considered the best means to keep hostilities from broadening into general war. Therefore, military planning for U.S. forces to oppose local aggression will be based on the development of an appropriate flexible and selective capability, including nuclear capability for use as authorized by the President. When the use of U.S. forces is required to oppose local aggression, force will be applied in a manner and on a scale best calculated to avoid hostilities from broadening into general war.”
- Page 7, paragraph 17: Revise to
read as follows:
“17. The United States should continue efforts to persuade its allies to recognize nuclear weapons as an integral part of the arsenal of the Free World and the need for their prompt and selective use when required. Taking into account the protection of classified data, the essential requirements of U.S. forces, production capabilities, and the likely availability of funds, the United States should continue to provide to allies capable of using them effectively advanced weapons systems (including nuclear weapons systems less nuclear elements).”
- Page 8, paragraph 19: Delete, and renumber subsequent paragraphs accordingly.
- Page 21, old paragraph 49:
Delete the paragraph except for the title “Stockpiling*”, and substitute the
“* Action on this paragraph has been deferred pending further report to and consideration by the Council of the views of the interested departments and agencies.“
- Pages 23 and 24: Delete the Annex and the footnotes relating thereto, in view of the revisions agreed upon in paragraphs 11, 15 and 17, and in the light of the agreement by the Council that a study as suggested in paragraph 5 of the Annex is not needed at this time.
- Noted the President’s request that the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, make a presentation of the types of nuclear weapons produced or being developed, by size of yield, and the approximate percentage of each type in the stockpile.
Note: NSC 5707/7, as amended and adopted, approved by the President and circulated as NSC 5707/8,15 for implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, with the understanding (a) that progress reports to the Council on other policies should include specific reference to policies which have been modified by NSC 5707/8, and (b) that final determination on budget requests based thereon will be made by the President after normal budgetary review.
The action in c above, as approved by the President, subsequently transmitted to the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, for appropriate action.
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Gleason on May 28.↩
- NSC 5602/1 is printed as Document 66. Regarding the February 19 memorandum and NSC 5707, see footnote 2, Document 110. Regarding NSC Action No. 1675, see footnote 13, Document 110. Regarding NSC 5707/1–6, see footnotes 2 and 3, Document 117. The May 24 memoranda transmitted to the NSC a memorandum on NSC 5707/7 from the JCS to Secretary of Defense Wilson, dated May 24, and a revision of paragraph 49 of NSC 5707/7 proposed by the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization. (Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5707 Memoranda)↩
- Neither the briefing note nor the minutes has been found in the Eisenhower Library or Department of State files.↩
- All brackets in this document are in the source text.↩
- Regarding the Long-Range Minerals Program, see the editorial note, vol. X, p. 689.↩
- The sheets are filed in the minutes.↩
- In their May 24 memorandum to the Secretary of Defense, transmitted to the NSC in the May 24 memorandum cited in footnote 2 above, the JCS offered two reasons for these changes: “(1) To limit the statement of policy to provide for only the near term objective. (2) To avoid untimely reference to changes in the Atomic Energy Act.” (Department of State, S/P–NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC 5707 Series)↩
- “State Reservation on Paragraphs 11, 15 and 17,” was attached as an Annex to NSC 5707/7. (Ibid.,S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5707 Memoranda)↩
- Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, was then having talks with U.S. officials in Washington. Documentation on his visit to the United States, May 24–29, is scheduled for publication in volume XXVI.↩
- The memoranda are in Department of State, S/P–NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC 5707 Series. A memorandum from Bowie to Dulles summarizing the memoranda was not declassified. (Ibid.,S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5707 Memoranda)↩
- For a summary of Strauss’ report, see Document 121.↩
- Regarding Nash’s study, see footnote 2, Document 83 and Document 172.↩
- Paragraphs a–c and the Note that follow constitute NSC Action No. 1728, approved by the President on June 3. (Department of State, S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)↩
- Because paragraph 19 was deleted, this paragraph
became paragraph 48 in NSC 5707/8. See