20. Memorandum of Discussion at the 244th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, April 7, 19551

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda items 1 and 2.]

3. Status of United States Programs for National Security as of December 31, 1954: The Military Program (Memo for All Holders of NSC 5509 from Executive Secretary, dated April 6, 1955; NSC 5509, Part 1—The Military Program2)

Mr. Dillon Anderson, who replaced Mr. Cutler as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on April 1, 1955, briefed the Council on the subject, and then introduced Admiral Radford. Admiral Radford said that he would open the presentation on the subject by a general statement with respect to the deployment of U.S. forces world-wide as of December 31, 1954 and as planned by June 30, 1955. Thereafter the four Chiefs of Staff would speak in greater detail on their respective programs.

At the conclusion of his general statement, Admiral Radford called on General Ridgway to describe the status of the Army programs. In general, the Chief of Staff of the Army described the Army’s capabilities as inadequate to carry out its present responsibilities and commitments.

At the conclusion of his report, General Ridgway called on Admiral Carney to discuss the status of the Navy’s programs. Admiral Carney’s conclusions were less pessimistic than General Ridgway’s, but he did emphasize notable deficiencies in naval capabilities in the Atlantic resulting from the demands on naval capabilities in the Pacific as a result of the disturbed situation in the Formosa area.

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At the conclusion of Admiral Carney’s report, the President referred to a statement which Admiral Carney had made respecting the deployment commitments of the U.S. Navy. If, asked the President, general war were to break out, would the present large forces of the U.S. Navy be kept in the Western Pacific, or would there be a redeployment from the Pacific to such other area as was the scene of actual hostilities? Admiral Carney replied that present plans in such an emergency called for redeployment from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The President agreed that such a redeployment would have to be undertaken.

Admiral Carney then called on General Twining. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force summed up his presentation by reassuring the Council that the Air Force programs were either on schedule or ahead of schedule, except for certain deficiencies which did detract somewhat from its capabilities. Nevertheless, General Twining said that an acceptable combat-ready U.S. Air Force was presently available.

General Twining called on General Shepherd to report on the status of Marine Corps programs. General Shepherd summed up his statement with the observation that in general the Marine Corps programs were advancing satisfactorily, although current personnel reductions would affect to some degree the capability of the Marine Corps to carry out its mission. Nevertheless, he assured the President that the Marine Corps was at this time prepared to carry out its commitments.

The President referred to a statement by General Shepherd indicating that while the Marine Corps had sufficient military end items and matériel to enable it to carry out its missions throughout the period D-plus-three-months, there would be difficulties in this field after the expiration of the three-month period. The President asked whether the procurement possibilities after the three-month interval were sufficient to provide what would be necessary for the Marine Corps. General Shepherd answered in the affirmative, but Dr. Flemming said that this was doubtful if, during the course of the war to that date, an attack on the continental United States had occurred. The President therefore suggested that it might be desirable to provide in some safe place more of the military end items which General Shepherd would need and might not have immediately on hand after the period D-plus-three-months. Dr. Hemming said that we would certainly be in better shape if we could stockpile such items in sufficient amounts to last longer than three months. The President thought a six-months stockpile would be appropriate, and Admiral Radford replied that such a six-months stockpile would provide the basis for all but the most critical military end items to be stockpiled.

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The National Security Council:3

Noted and discussed an oral presentation on the subject by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, based on Part 1 of NSC 5509 transmitted by the reference memorandum of April 6.

[Here follow agenda items 4–8.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on April 8.
  2. The April 6 memorandum transmitted Part 1 of NSC 5509; see Document 12.
  3. The paragraph that follows constitutes NSC Action No. 1373. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)