24. Memorandum of Discussion at the 250th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, May 26, 19551

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

3. Accelerated Production of B–52 Heavy Bombers

The President stated that Secretary Wilson wished to make some remarks to the Council regarding the program for the production of the B–52 heavy bomber.

Secretary Wilson said facilities for the production of B–52 aircraft had recently been doubled. He had not believed, said Secretary Wilson, that the Soviets would have been able to manufacture as many as ten of their so-called Type 37 heavy bombers in one year. Since they had, however, he believed that we should step up our B–52 production program. Secretary Wilson added that the President had already given his approval to this change in the program, which would now be increased from eleven or twelve B–52’s each month to seventeen a month.

Secretary Wilson then alluded to the fact that the Defense Department was getting quite a going-over in the Senate, especially by Senator Symington. Accordingly, Secretary Wilson proposed to tell the appropriate Senate committee about the increase in the B–52 program, and also to tell the committee that there appeared to be no immediate need for additional funds for increasing the production of these aircraft. He had authorized Secretary Talbott to state that the increase in the production of B–52 aircraft had been approved by the President and by the Secretary of Defense.

The President inquired how many B–52’s were now actually flying. Admiral Radford replied that there were nineteen or twenty.

Secretary Wilson added that we were also increasing the program for the production of F–100 aircraft by adding a second facility.

At the end of the discussion, the President warned Secretary Wilson that whatever he did about aircraft production would be subject to politics in Congress. Accordingly, there was no sense in becoming frantic about criticism.

[Page 83]

The National Security Council: 2

Noted the President’s approval of the recommendation by the Secretary of Defense that production of B–52 heavy bombers be promptly accelerated.

Note: The above action, as approved by the President (on May 27, 1955), subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of Defense.

[Here follow the remaining agenda items.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on May 27.
  2. The following paragraph and Note constitute NSC Action No. 1410. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)