112. Record of Actions Taken at the 275th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, February 7, 19561

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

Action Number 1513. U.S. Policy on Control of Armaments

[Here follows a list of reference actions and memoranda, all of which are cited in footnotes 2 and 9, Document 103, and footnote 2, Document 109.]

Discussed the proposed public statements on the subject drafted by the Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament pursuant to NSC Action No. 1510–b–(1) and circulated by the reference memorandum of February 2, 1956.2
Discussed a proposal by the Special Assistant to the President for Atomic Energy3 that, in connection with earmarking a specified quantity of fissionable material for domestic peaceful uses of atomic energy, the U.S. might make a corresponding offer to earmark a similar quantity of fissionable material to be available over a period of years for peaceful uses elsewhere in the world, including use by the international Atomic Energy Agency when created.
Noted the following decisions by the President:
That draft statements proposed by the Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament in the reference memorandum of February 2, 1956 will not be used.
The draft reply to the Bulganin letter of September 19, 1955 should be prepared by the Secretary of State and the Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament and submitted to the President at an early date.
That the Secretary of State be authorized to inform the British Government that, in connection with forthcoming disarmament negotiations, the U.S. will not be in a position at this time to agree to negotiate a reduction of the total levels of U.S. armed forces based upon the criterion of manpower.
That the Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament be authorized to explore and develop, as a basis for negotiation with the USSR, his proposal for the designation of small strips of territory in the U.S. and the USSR within which the feasibility of inspection systems would be tested.
That the Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament be authorized to explore and submit a report to the Council on the feasibility of measures for the reduction of major types of armaments, especially those capable of delivering nuclear weapons, in respects where inspection is shown to be effective.
That the U.S. disarmament position in the forthcoming meeting of the UN Subcommittee should include:
Proposals for advance notification of projected movements of armed units through international air or water or over foreign soil.
Proposals for an exchange for a test period of a small number of inspection personnel who could be used as members of inspection teams if an inspection agreement is subsequently concluded.

Note: The Action in c above subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of State, the Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament and the Special Assistant to the President for Atomic Energy. On March 1, 1956, the President, after consultation with the Secretary and Under Secretary of State, the Acting Secretary of Defense, the Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, approved the supplementary policy on the subject contained in the Annex hereto.4




If the Eisenhower aerial inspection and blueprint exchange proposal, with accompanying ground inspection, is accepted, and if such a system is proven to the U.S. to be satisfactorily installed and operating, and assuming the political situation is reasonably stable, the United States, with the other nations concerned, would be prepared to begin a gradual reciprocal, safeguarded reduction of armaments, armed forces, and military expenditures. For illustrative purposes, in the forthcoming session of the United Nations Subcommittee, the United States Representative is authorized to indicate that such reductions would presuppose, as a basis for measurement and in a specific manner to be mutually agreed, force levels of 2.5 million men for the U.S., USSR and China; corresponding appropriate levels for the UK and France and others to be determined after consultation with the representatives of these States.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 66 D 95, NSC Actions. Top Secret. No drafting information is given on the source text, but the final page is marked “Revised 3/1/56”, presumably to include new information contained in the final Note and following annex. The source text indicates that the President approved this record of action on February 15. An early draft of the record attached to a memorandum from Anderson to Dulles, February 8, solicited Dulles’ comments on and suggested possible changes in and additions to the draft. (Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up, Disarmament—General)
  2. Regarding NSC Action No. 1510, see footnote 9, Document 103. Regarding Stassen’s memorandum and enclosures, see footnote 2, Document 109.
  3. Lewis L. Strauss.
  4. A note for the files, March 1, indicates that no memorandum of discussion was prepared of this March 1 meeting. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File)
  5. Secret.