206. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Cutler) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Sprague)1

I am writing to you with reference to the discussion yesterday in the Planning Board relative to the March 13 draft of the new U.S. Policy toward Korea.2

In paragraphs 9–a and 19,3 there is a very sharp split between Defense–JCS and State. The split relates to whether the U.S. will [Page 411]proceed to adopt a new policy to modernize and equip its forces in Korea with dual conventional-nuclear weapons. Under the paper, such modernization and equipment are related, in a package deal, to the proposed reduction in active ROK divisions and the conversion of three ROK squadrons to jets. In paragraph 19–b, the State position is that the timing of such modernization and equipment of U.S. forces shall be decided by the Secretaries of State and Defense, in consultation with the DCI, “only after they shall have determined that publishable evidence establishes Communist violations sufficient to warrant such action by the U.S.” This paragraph sets up no standard to guide the determination (such as “comparable in nature and extent”), but I understand the underlying intention of State to relate to Communist violations (subsequent to the withdrawal of the NNSC into the demilitarized zone) of such a nature as to require the U.S. to take such action as it feasibly can to “redress the balance.”

In this ardent discussion, it was stated that Defense–JCS had promised to supply to State information relative to all Communist armistice violations but that such information had not yet been furnished. I think that this information should be promptly furnished and discussed between Secretaries Dulles and Wilson, in order that the Council Meeting can proceed on the basis of such discussion (and agreement, if any) having occurred.

The Korea paper is scheduled on the Council agenda for April 4. It is urgent, therefore, that the above mentioned information be furnished and discussed by the two Secretaries before the paper is presented to the Council. Otherwise, we shall possibly be wasting the President’s time. I, therefore, want you, Farrell,4 and Bowie to do your best to accomplish this meeting sometime before April 4.

Turning to the splits in paragraph 9–a of the March 13 draft, the Bureau of the Budget graciously agreed to eliminate its double-starred proposal. The Budget’s alternative proposal had been that the U.S. should now introduce as many [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] as the armistice would permit and later—when publishable evidence was at hand—proceed to introduce the balance of the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. It was felt that this proposal would fuzz-up the very clear and serious split in the paper and might seem to permit under its first clause going ahead with the ROK reduction in active divisions and jet plane substitution (contrary to the package deal). I understand that State and JCS will present a list for use by me at the NSC meeting of those [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] which under a liberal interpretation of the armistice can now be introduced without awaiting a determination as to publishable evidence [Page 412]and those [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] which State believes should not be introduced until the publishable evidence is determined.

Robert Cutler5
  1. Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 62 D 1, US Policy Toward Korea (NSC 5702, 5702/1, 5702/2). Top Secret.
  2. See footnote 2, Supra .
  3. See footnotes 3 and 5, Supra .
  4. General Francis W. Farrell, Special Assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Security Council Affairs.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.