92. Memorandum of Discussion at the 299th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, October 4, 19561

[Here follows a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting.]

1. Status of the U.S. Military Program (NSC 5611, Part 1)2

Mr. Jackson informed the Council that Admiral Radford would provide an oral presentation on the status of the U.S. military program as of June 30, 1956, based on Part 1 of NSC 5611 (Status of National [Page 367] Security Programs as of June 30, 1956). A copy of Admiral Radford’s report is contained in the Minutes of the Meeting.3

At the conclusion of Admiral Radford’s report, the President inquired whether any members of the Council had any questions they wished to put to Admiral Radford. There being no such questions, the President himself inquired as to the nature, range and accuracy of the Regulus missile to which Admiral Radford had referred in the course of his report.

The National Security Council: 4

Noted and discussed an oral presentation by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the Department of Defense on the status of the U.S. Military Program as of June 30, 1956, based on Part 1 of NSC 5611.

2. Recommendations of the Report to the President by the Technological Capabilities Panel of the Science Advisory Committee, ODM (Report to the President by the Technological Capabilities Panel of the Science Advisory Committee of the Office of Defense Mobilization, dated February 14, 1955;5 NSC Actions Nos. 1355 and 1430;6 NSC 5611, Part 1, Annexes B, C and D; Part 3, Annex I; Part 4, Annex 5; Part 5, Annex 2; Part 7, Annex C7)

Mr. Jackson summarized the current status of the recommendations of the Technological Capabilities Panel (the so-called Killian Committee) with particular reference to the ten recommendations of the TCP which the Council had set aside at an earlier meeting for subsequent consideration. Mr. Jackson also called attention to two recommendations by the NSC Planning Board with respect to the ten recommendations referred to above. He then called on Dr. Furnas 8 for his report.

At the conclusion of Dr. Furnas’s brief summary, the President thanked him and observed with a smile that it seemed to him that every new survey of our problems by a scientific team seemed to result in recommendations that we undertake additional things. He rather wished we could find a team which would recommend programs which we could dispense with. Secretary Robertson said the President [Page 368] would be happy to hear that the Navy Department had just conducted such a survey, with recommendations that certain programs be dropped.

The National Security Council: 9

a.
Noted the status, as set forth in NSC 5611, of those recommendations in the Technological Capabilities Panel Report which were to be implemented in accordance with NSC Action No. 1430.
b.
Noted, as summarized orally at the meeting by Assistant Secretary of Defense Furnas, the following status of the recommendations in the Technological Capabilities Panel Report which, in accordance with NSC Action No. 1430—j, were to receive further consideration by the responsible agencies.
(1)
Now being implemented to the extent indicated in NSC 5611:
  • General Recommendation 7b: Specific Recommendations B–1 and B–8b: Installation of DEW line without delay for technical and geographical refinements; early installation of extension of north Canada line to Greenland; and shifting of northern terminus of Atlantic extension from Newfoundland to Greenland; extending DEW line from Greenland to join NATO system with early installation of ground-based components; and related international negotiations.
  • B–4b and B–4i: Intensified effort to create effective defenses at low and very high altitudes (matching radar net to needs and capabilities of SAGE system; field and operational trials and experiments).
(2)
Not now being implemented but still under consideration:
  • B–4a: (That part of the recommendation relating to maintaining Nike radars in a continuous alert status.)
  • B–8a: Installation of a new “action” line 500-700 miles from U.S. boundaries.
  • B–9a: Extension of contiguous radar cover by 300 miles.
  • B–9c: Extension seaward of air control and surveillance zones to exploit future improvements in interceptor ranges.
(3)
Will not be implemented:
  • E–6: Establishment of Arctic military maintenance corps.
c.
Requested the Secretary of Defense, in connection with the special briefing which he is scheduled to give the Council annually in December on the intercontinental ballistic missile program under NSC Action No. 1433–a (4),10 additionally to brief the Council on progress in developing a defense against ballistic missiles.
d.
Deferred further action as to the follow-up study proposed in General Recommendation 12 of the Technological Capabilities Panel Report, pending subsequent Planning Board recommendations pursuant to NSC Action No. 1430–o.

[Page 369]

Note: The action in c above, as approved by the President, subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of Defense for implementation.

[Here follow the remaining agenda items.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on October 4.
  2. See Document 87.
  3. Neither the report nor the minutes has been found in the Eisenhower Library or Department of State files.
  4. The paragraph that follows constitutes NSC Action No. 1614, approved by the President on October 8. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)
  5. Document 9.
  6. Regarding NSC Action No. 1355, see footnote 3, Document 17. Regarding NSC Action No. 1430, see footnote 9, Document 30.
  7. Parts 3, 4, 5, and 7 of NSC 5611 have not been found in the Eisenhower Library or Department of State files.
  8. Clifford C. Furnas, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Development).
  9. Paragraphs a–d and the Note that follow constitute NSC Action No. 1615, approved by the President on October 8. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)
  10. Regarding NSC Action No. 1433, see footnote 9, Document 34.