106. Memorandum of Discussion at the 449th Meeting of the National Security Council0

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

1. Military Logistics Planning Base (NSC Action No. 2019;1NSC 5906/1, paragraph 59–a2)

Mr. Gray introduced this subject to the Council. (A copy of Mr. Gray’s Briefing Note is filed in the Minutes of the Meeting and another copy is attached to this Memorandum.)3 Mr. Gray asked whether Secretary Gates wished to make any introductory remarks before Assistant Secretary of Defense McGuire made the presentation on the subject. Mr. Gates said he had no comments in advance of the presentation, which he believed was explicit and to the point.

Assistant Secretary of Defense Perkins McGuire then made an oral presentation on the subject with the assistance of a series of charts shown on a viewgraph. A copy of Mr. McGuire’s presentation, including reproductions of the charts, is filed in the Minutes of the Meeting.4

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At the conclusion of the presentation, Secretary Gates said that the military logistics planning base was a vast and very complicated subject. Mr. McGuire’s presentation had been a condensed and excellent summary of a very complex field. Secretary Gates felt that the new concepts underlying the military logistics planning base represented a significant step forward. In contrast to the old base, which consumed the time of a great many people but which was never fully financed, the new base is quite realistic. Secretary Gates believed that it was possible to take pride in the work which had been done on the military logistics planning base.

The President asked whether General Twining had any comments on this subject. General Twining said he fully agreed with the remarks of the Secretary of Defense. The military mobilization base plans were formerly projected for three or four years in the future but were never funded. If an estimate were made of the cost of funding both the old plans and the new plans, it would be found that the new plans are less expensive. However, since the old plans were never fully implemented, a full implementation of the new plans will cost more than was being spent on the partial implementation of the old plans. With respect to limited war, the criticism had often been advanced that the U.S. has insufficient conventional type bombs, “iron bombs”, in its inventory to oppose limited aggression when it is contrary to policy to use nuclear weapons. General Twining believed we had sufficient conventional-type bombs to fight a limited war in the Far East unless the Chinese Communists intervened in such a war in great numbers, in which case our stock of conventional bombs would not be large enough and we would be compelled to use nuclear bombs.

Secretary Gates pointed out that, in general, our military logistics planning base for limited war was based, as indicated in the presentation, on contingency plans for the renewal of hostilities in Korea. This meant that our planning base for limited war was at a high, not a low, level. The President felt it would be difficult to plan a limited war on the scale of the Korean War without making plans for the use of nuclear weapons.

Secretary Gates said that development of the new military logistics planning base had certainly demonstrated the absurdity of the old base. The President believed the great accomplishment of the new base was the emphasis which it placed on D-Day. Mr. McGuire commented that some years ago, the Army had tried to establish a production base sufficient to equip 42 U.S. divisions plus indigenous divisions on the U.S. equipment scale. He had put an end to this kind of planning. Under the new plan, the number of tanks saved, for example, was fantastic. Moreover, the Army now admits that indigenous forces will not be equipped on the same basis as U.S. forces. The new logistics base should save money and allow a reduction in inventories and facilities.

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The President said he had thought that the M–48 tanks had diesel engines; in fact, he thought we converted to diesels with the M–47 model. Mr. McGuire said this was not the case. He pointed out, however, that we were modernizing some of our older-model tanks by installing diesel engines, thereby saving money in logistical support. The President recalled that tank crewmen did not like diesel engines in cold weather. Mr. McGuire said a tank with a diesel engine did not burn as fast when it was hit.

Mr. Gray wondered whether Mr. McGuire had not neglected to point out during his presentation that the new military logistics planning base had already been approved. Secretary Gates said the new base had been approved by all Services and by the Department of Defense.

Mr. McGuire said he had recently briefed the Army officers at Carlisle Barracks on the new logistics base. He felt these officers understood and accepted the new base quite thoroughly. The President said the new base was a great improvement over the old. When the mobilization base had been discussed at the Council last year, he had felt that the idea of supporting 42 divisions was ridiculous.

Mr. Gray remarked that we formerly said that readiness for general war included readiness for limited war. The new concept presented by Mr. McGuire took special account of limited war. It was clear that under this plan, U.S. forces would be prepared to use conventional weapons in limited wars, except in areas where main communist power might be brought to bear; in the latter areas, planning contemplates the use of nuclear weapons. Mr. Gray wondered whether the principles he had just stated did not constitute an answer to those critics who say we are neglecting preparations for limited war. General Twining agreed with Mr. Gray’s comments.

Mr. McGuire said the Joint Chiefs of Staff had put certain war-support items on a highly selective basis. For example, it had been decided that while ten brands of toothpaste might be used by the armed forces during peacetime, only one brand, if any, would be available during a war.

Secretary Gates said that before the new logistics base had been developed, logistics planning was tending to dictate the roles and missions of the forces. He believed Mr. McGuire deserved commendation for the new logistics planning base. The President said that at last year’s meeting on the mobilization base, he had spoken out vigorously because it appeared that we were committed to put twelve additional divisions into Europe. He was satisfied that logistics base planning was now on a realistic basis. He was much more satisfied with the whole situation and wished to thank Mr. McGuire for a splendid job.

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The National Security Council:5

Noted and discussed an oral presentation by Perkins McGuire, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Supply and Logistics, on the status of planning for the military logistics base, taking into account NSC Action No. 2019–b and paragraph 59–a of NSC 5906/1 (“Basic National Security Policy”).
Noted the President’s approval of the concepts outlined by Mr. McGuire, and the President’s commendations to Mr. McGuire and his associates in developing a more realistic base for planning the military logistics base.6

Note: The above actions, as approved by the President, subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of Defense.

[Here follow Agenda Items 2. “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security,” 3. “U.S. Policy Toward Iran,” and 4. “Recent Evidences of Social Unrest and Political Instability in Many Free World Nations.”]

Marion W. Boggs
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Boggs.
  2. See Document 43.
  3. See Document 74.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not found.
  6. The following paragraphs and note constitute NSC Action No. 2254, approved by the President on July 6. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)
  7. In Gray’s July 8 memorandum of a meeting with the President on July 6, a section on a mobilization reads:

    “I reminded the President that in November 1959, following a presentation by the Defense Department on the Status of Military Programs, the President had asked for a report by the Defense Department on the requirements for highly mobile and suitably deployed Army forces for use in the event of general war. I expressed the view to the President that at that time he had in mind smoking out the continued insistence of the Army to plan for a mobilization buildup of 44 divisions. I said that in my judgment his recent approval of the mobilization base following the presentation in the Council, had pretty well taken care of the problem which would be further nailed down, I felt, by the presentation on Limited War Capabilities which was due in September. I suggested that no further action was required with respect to his November request and he agreed.” (Eisenhower Library, White House Office Files, Project Clean Up)