2. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Radford) to the Secretary of Defense (Wilson)1
- U.S. Planning Regarding Implementation of the Proposed Austrian State Treaty
- Reference is made to a memorandum by the Deputy Assistant
Secretary of Defense (ISA), dated 4
May 1955,2 subject as above, which requested that the
Joint Chiefs of Staff provide recommendations as to:
- An outline plan for the phase-out of U.S. military activities in Austria.
- Timing of the redeployment and future stations of U.S. Forces now in Austria.
Proposed future use or disposition of the U.S. LOC through Italy.
Reference is also made to a memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), dated 24 May 1955, subject: “Psychological Aspects of Troop Withdrawal from Austria.” The latter memorandum forwarded a memorandum from Mr. Nelson Rockefeller to Deputy Secretary of Defense Anderson 3 for consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at their meeting on Wednesday, 25 May 1955, in connection with their reply to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA) memorandum, dated 4 May 1955, subject as above.
- A recommended plan for the phase-out of U.S. military activities in Austria is attached hereto as an Appendix.
a. It is recommended that the United States Forces, Austria (USFA) be deployed to Northeast Italy, reorganized as a Special Weapons Support Force, and redesignated as U.S. Army, Italy (USARIT). The timing of the redeployment should be as outlined in the phase-out plan contained in the Appendix hereto. This action is contingent upon Italian ratification of NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOF) or its equivalent.
b. If arrangements with the Italian Government cannot be consummated in time to meet the withdrawal deadline, appropriate forces will be withdrawn to Germany until such time as the necessary arrangements have been made for their redeployment to Northeast [Page 4] Italy. Depending upon the progress of negotiations and the acquisition or construction of interim facilities, it may be possible to redeploy some of these forces direct to Italy with the remainder going temporarily to Germany until such time as they can be sent to Italy.
c. The primary mission of USARIT would be to provide special weapons support for allied forces protecting the vital approaches to Italy in the Villach–Ljubljana area.
d. USARIT will have a strength of approximately 5000 (subject to detailed planning USCINCEUR) which will be provided within the Army over-all personnel ceiling for FY 1956. The major combat units to be contained in USARIT will consist of Corporal surface-to-surface missile battalion(s), Honest John rocket batteries, and appropriate security units. Adequate logistic and administrative units will be included for support of USARIT, U.S. Air Force and other U.S. agencies in Northern Italy.
e. USARIT would be a uniservice command assigned to USCINCEUR for unified command purposes. Combat units will be earmarked for assignment to NATO on M-day for operational control except that authority to expend atomic weapons will remain in U.S. command channels.
- In respect to lines of communication, it will be necessary to maintain the present Leghorn base area to provide support for the above proposed USARIT. This will require that the present facilities at Verona be expanded to an advance general depot and that modified emergency type facilities be constructed in Northeast Italy for U.S. Army combat and direct support units. USARIT would provide interservice support to the U.S. Air Force and Naval forces and other U.S. agencies in Northern Italy as directed by USCINCEUR. The U.S. Air Force has planned additional requirements in the Leghorn base area to support U.S. Air Force units to be stationed in Italy.
- In connection with the above recommendations, the Joint Chiefs of
Staff desire to emphasize the following:
- The defense of the southern flank of NATO and the intelligence
surveillance of Soviet Bloc areas adjacent thereto have been
partially met in the past by the US-UK-French forces
deployed in Austria, as well as by Italian and Yugoslavian
forces deployed in their respective countries in accordance
with their national capabilities. The capability of holding
that flank by the forces named has been considered to be
extremely marginal. This overall weakness was magnified by
Yugoslav reluctance to make even covert commitments to the
West or coordinate any effective planning with the Allies.
Therefore, from a military point of view, the neutralization
of Austria and the withdrawal of occupation forces, coupled
with the general Yugoslav tendency toward neutrality and
possible rapprochement with the Soviet Bloc, increase the
weakness in the southern [Page 5] flank of NATO and close
a primary source of extremely important intelligence on the
adjacent areas. Under the eventuating circumstances, the
Villach–Ljubljana Gap area can become an undefended avenue
of approach to Northeast Italy. The Soviet penetration of
Italy could result in:
- Turning of the NATO southern flank.
- Splitting Greece and Turkey and the Middle Fast from Western Europe.
- Facilitating Soviet access to the Mediterranean.
- SACEUR has indicated that during a recent conversation the Italian Minister of Defense stated that the possible movement of U.S. units to Italy would present no tremendous political problem provided such units could be scattered in reasonably small groups. In this connection, the Joint Chiefs of Staff note that the size of units was not defined nor was this point overly emphasized, but they would like to point out that any restricted deployment with respect to size of units which would adversely affect the combat effectiveness of U.S. forces deployed to Italy would be militarily and logistically unacceptable.
- SACEUR has strongly recommended stationing a force in Northeast Italy with an atomic delivery capability and limited operational ability. He is reluctant to reduce U.S. Army forces in Central Europe to accomplish this but feels he has no other option.
- In light of the above, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that you note that the proposals contained in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 above are essential to U.S. strategy in Europe and that you request the Department of State to (a) make the necessary arrangements with the Italian Government to permit not later than 60 days subsequent to ratification of the Austrian Treaty deployment of U.S. forces as discussed above, and (b) impress the Italian Government with the importance of timely ratification of the NATO SOF Agreement.
- In presenting their views on the subject, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the psychological aspects presented by the memorandum of 18 May 1955 by the Special Assistant to the President to the Honorable Robert B. Anderson.
Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/6–355. Top Secret.↩
- Not printed. (Department of Defense Files)↩
- The covering memorandum of May 24 and Rockefeller’s memorandum of May 18, which recommended that political-psychological considerations be taken into account before a decision was made on the final location of the U.S. forces in Austria, are ibid. ↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩
- Top Secret.↩