The publication Foreign Relations of the United States constitutes the official record of the foreign policy of the United States. The volumes in the series include, subject to necessary security considerations, all documents needed to give a comprehensive record of the major foreign policy decisions of the United States together with appropriate materials concerning the facts that contributed to the formulation of policies. Documents in the files of the Department of State are supplemented by papers from other government agencies involved in the formulation of foreign policy.

The basic documentary diplomatic record printed in the volumes of the series is edited by the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, Department of State. The editing is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and in accordance with the following official guidance first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925:

There may be no alteration of the text, no deletions without indicating the place in the text where the deletion is made, and no omission of facts which were of major importance in reaching a decision. Nothing may be omitted for the purpose of concealing or glossing over what might be regarded by some as a defect of policy. However, certain omissions of documents are permissible for the following reasons:

To avoid publication of matters that would tend to impede current diplomatic negotiations or other business.
To condense the record and avoid repetition of needless details.
To preserve the confidence reposed in the Department by individuals and by foreign governments.
To avoid giving needless offense to other nationalities or individuals.
To eliminate personal opinions presented in despatches and not acted upon by the Department. To this consideration there is one qualification: in connection with major decisions it is desirable, where possible, to show the alternative presented to the Department before the decision was made.

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Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, Volume XIX

The focus of the volume is policy formulation and decisionmaking on national security issues in the foreign affairs community in Washington. The editors selected documents on the basis of their importance in elucidating the review and formulation of U.S. national security policies. These policies included basic national security doctrine, the U.S. missile program, and other scientific and technological developments to deter war and to reduce U.S. vulnerability in the event of surprise attack. The editors also sought to include estimates of probable popular reactions to nuclear war and of destruction and casualties in the event of general war, responses to local aggression, limited war, internal subversion, and civil defense.

Very few documents concern diplomatic negotiations or reporting from abroad. Arms control and atomic energy are also national security issues, but documentation on these subjects, including disarmament talks in Europe, is contained in Volume XX, Regulation of Armaments; Atomic Energy. The political-military capabilities and intentions of the Soviet Union, which U.S. policymakers perceived as an omnipresent threat to the security interests of the United States and its allies, receive considerable attention in this volume, but national security issues pertaining primarily to other countries or regions are treated in geographical volumes in this series.

Documents on national security questions usually involved or were prepared for high-level officials in the Eisenhower administration, especially the Secretary of State and the President. Occasionally, records documenting lower-level exchanges and discussions were selected to provide more complete coverage of key subject areas.

The major decisions on national security questions were made by President Eisenhower, usually after recommendations from and discussion in the National Security Council (NSC). The most important Presidential records are the relevant White House files at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas, to which the editors had complete access. The Eisenhower Library contains, among other important collections, the memoranda of discussion at the NSC meetings, usually prepared by Deputy Executive Secretary S. Everett Gleason, and the memoranda of conferences with the President, prepared by the President’s Staff Secretary, Andrew J. Goodpaster.

The Department of State’s collections of NSC papers and correspondence are also of the highest value. Some of these documents are available in the central (decimal) files and lot (office) files deposited at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. Later Department records will be transferred to NARA and made available for scholarly research. NSC materials located in NARA include the numbered NSC papers and related documentation.

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Because White House and Department of State records contain many significant Department of Defense documents, the editors did not seek further access to the Department of Defense files. The editors perused the official papers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the manuscript collections of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, Admiral Arthur M. Radford, and General Nathan F. Twining.

The 174 documents printed in this volume furnish an accurate and comprehensive record of basic U.S. national security policy doctrine. To supplement the documents published here, the editors have identified or cited in the annotation many additional documents from the large body of records on U.S. national security policy. Footnotes, for instance, summarize documents that space limitations prevented from publishing, and editorial notes describe other important record collections. In addition to providing readers with a more complete context for the issues, these editorial devices will assist scholars who are interested in undertaking additional research to learn more about the complexities and nuances of the policymaking process on national security matters.

Some documents originally selected for inclusion in the volume could not be declassified. In particular, documents in the subject areas of nuclear weapons and “finished intelligence”, which comprise interagency analyses of a wide range of national security-related subjects, were withheld in whole or in part. The editors have referenced denied and excised documents in bracketed insertions in the texts of the documents or in the annotation. The exclusions have obviously restricted the coverage of a few subjects, but the editors are confident that the excisions do not compromise the fundamental accuracy of the volume.

The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, in particular David Haight; the National Archives and Records Administration; the Department of Defense; and other specialized repositories who assisted in the collection of documents for this volume.

Editorial Methodology

The documents in the volume are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversations are placed according to the time and. date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the Editor in Chief and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in footnotes. Obvious typographical errors are corrected, but other mistakes and omissions in the source [Page VI] text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an omission in roman type. Brackets are also used to indicate text that has been omitted because it deals with an unrelated subject or because it remained classified after the declassification review process. The amount of material not declassified has been quantified by noting the number of words, lines of source text, or pages of source text that were omitted. All ellipses and brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

The first footnote to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. The source footnote also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates if the President or Secretary of State read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in this volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs of participants and other first-hand accounts has been used where possible to supplement the official record.

Declassification Review Procedures

Declassification review of the documents selected for publication was conducted by the Division of Historical Documents Review, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Department of State. The review was made in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and the criteria established in Executive Order 12356 regarding:

military plans, weapons, or operations;
the vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, projects, or plans relating to the national security;
foreign government information;
intelligence activities (including special activities), or intelligence sources or methods;
foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States;
scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security;
U.S. Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
cryptology; and
a confidential source.

Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State and of other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and communication with foreign governments regarding documents of those governments. [Page VII] The principle of declassification review is to release as much information as is consistent with contemporary requirements of national security and sound foreign relations.

William Klingaman, David S. Patterson, and Ilana Stern compiled this volume under the supervision of Editor in Chief John P. Glennon. Neal H. Petersen provided initial planning and direction. Rosa Pace assisted with the preparation of the lists of sources, names, and abbreviations. Rita M. Baker of the Editing Division of the Historian’s Office performed the technical editing. Barbara A. Bacon of the Publishing Services Division (Paul M. Washington, Chief) oversaw production of the volume. Catherine Dettmar of Editorial Experts, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, prepared the index.

William Z. Slany

The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs