24. National Security Council Report0

NSC 5810/1



  • A. NSC 5707/8
  • B. NIE 100–58
  • C. NSC 5810
  • D. NSC Action No. 1903

The National Security Council, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Commerce, the Director, Bureau of the Budget, the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, the Federal Civil Defense Administrator, and the Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, at the 364th Council meeting on May 1, 1958, discussed the draft statement of Basic National Security Policy contained in NSC 5810, prepared by the NSC Planning Board, in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thereon (particularly with reference to paragraphs 13 and 14), as presented orally at the meeting. The Council adopted the statement of policy contained in NSC 5810, subject to the amendments and provisos set forth in NSC Action No. 1903–b.

The President has this date approved the statement of policy in NSC 5810 as amended and adopted by the Council and enclosed herewith as NSC 5810/1, and directs its implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of U.S. Government, with the understanding that final determination on budget requests based thereon will be made by the President after normal budgetary review.

NSC 5810/1 supersedes NSC 5707/8, and is the basic guide in the implementation of all other national security policies, superseding any provisions in such other policies as may be in conflict with it. Progress reports to the National Security Council on other policies should include specific reference to policies which have been modified by NSC 5810/1.

Existing basic policy in paragraphs 14 and 15 of NSC 5707/8, without change, has tentatively been included as paragraphs 13 and 14 of NSC 5810/1, pending submission on or before June 16, 1958, by the Department of Defense (perhaps in the form of a limited-distribution supplement) or recommendations for any revision of the military strategy outlined in NSC 5810/1, after further consideration in the light of Council discussion at the 364th Meeting.

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Subparagraph 27–d of NSC 5810 has been deleted, and has been referred, together with the alternative proposed by the Secretary of State, to the Council on Foreign Economic Policy for review of existing policy on international commodity agreements and advice on June 2, 1958, to the Council as to the results of such review.

James S. Lay, Jr.1


[Here follows a table of contents.]



1. The spiritual, moral, and material posture of the United States rests upon established principles which have been asserted and defended throughout the history of the Republic. The genius, strength, and promise of America are founded in the dedication of its people and government to the dignity, equality, and freedom of the human being under God. These concepts and our institutions which nourish and maintain them with justice are the bulwark of our free society and the basis of the respect and leadership which have been accorded our nation by the peoples of the world.

Our constant aim at home is to preserve the liberties, expand the individual opportunities and enrich the lives of our people. Our goal abroad must be to strive unceasingly, in concert with other nations, for peace and security and to establish our nation firmly as the pioneer in breaking through to new levels of human achievement and well-being.

These principles and fundamental values must continue to inspire and guide our policies and actions at home and abroad. When they are challenged, our response must be resolute and worthy of our heritage. From this premise must derive our national will and the policies which express it. The continuing full exercise of our individual and collective responsibilities is required to realize the basic objective of our national security policy.

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2. The basic objective of U.S. national security policy is to preserve and enhance the security of the United States and its fundamental values and institutions.

3. The basic threat to U.S. security is the determination and ability of the hostile Soviet and Chinese Communist regimes effectively to direct the rapidly growing military and economic power under their control toward the objective of world domination; at a time when (a) there are sufficient quantities of nuclear weapons capable of causing immediate and incalculable devastation; (b) uncertainty is growing whether U.S. massive nuclear capabilities would be used to defend Free World interests; (c) weakness or instability in many areas exerts strong pressures for economic or political change and creates vulnerabilities to expanding Sino-Soviet subversion, political action and economic penetration; and (d) the American people have not been brought to appreciate the extent of the crisis facing the United States, or adequately to support certain elements of the U.S. strategy.

4. The basic problem for the United States, in order to minimize this basic threat, is to mobilize and effectively employ, over a long period and at an adequate and sustained level, the U.S. and Free World spiritual, political, military, economic, intellectual and scientific resources required (a) to maintain military strength sufficient to deter general war and limited aggression, (b) to maintain economic growth essential to U.S. security, welfare, and world leadership, (c) to provide leadership in maintaining the integrity of the Free World and in fostering an international environment in which the United States can sustain its values and institutions, and (d) to engage successfully in an over-all world-wide peaceful contest with the USSR, and thus to achieve its basic objective.

5. The initiation by the United States of preventive war to reduce Soviet or Chinese Communist military power is not an acceptable course either to the United States or its major allies. Therefore, U.S. policy must be designed (a) to reduce the threat of Soviet or Chinese Communist military power by other means (such as a safeguarded arms control agreement with the USSR), and (b) in a time of relative nuclear parity and increased Sino-Soviet political and economic aggressiveness, to place greater emphasis on non-military measures.

6. U.S. policies, for which the full support of the American people should be enlisted, and U.S. and other Free World resources effectively used to meet the problem stated in paragraph 4 above, must be designed:

To take the initiative in promoting sound economic growth and acceptable political development in the Free World, not only to meet the [Page 101] Communist threat but also to create an international environment in which the values and institutions of freedom can be sustained.
To present the true image of the United States.
To accelerate acceptable changes in the character and policies of the Sino-Soviet Bloc regimes.
To prevent the occurrence of general war, without sacrificing vital U.S. security interests.
To deter Communist limited military aggression or, if necessary, to defeat such aggression in a manner and on a scale best calculated to keep hostilities from broadening into general war.
To prevent Communism from gaining political control of independent nations by subversion or other means short of war.
To destroy or neutralize the international Communist apparatus in the Free World.
To seek safeguarded arms control agreements as a means of reducing the threat of Sino-Soviet military power.

7. This national strategy requires a flexible and coordinated, overt and covert, combination of military, political, and economic actions, consistent with the national posture described in paragraph 1 above, and executed in a manner to achieve the optimum psychological advantage. Carried out with resolution and initiative, this general strategy can enable the United States to achieve its basic objective.



I. Military Elements of National Strategy

8. A central aim of U.S. policy must be to deter the Communists from use of their military power, remaining prepared to fight general war should one be forced upon the United States. This stress on deterrence is dictated by the disastrous character of general nuclear war, the danger of local conflicts developing into general war, and the serious effect of further Communist aggression. Hence the Communist rulers must be convinced that aggression will not serve their interests: that it will not pay.

9. If this purpose is to be achieved, the United States and its allies in the aggregate will have to have, for an indefinite period, military forces with sufficient strength, flexibility and mobility to enable them to deal swiftly and severely with Communist overt aggression in its various forms and to prevail in general war should one develop. In addition, the deterrent is much more likely to be effective if the United States and its major allies show that they are united in their determination to use military force against such aggression.

10. a. It is the policy of the United States to place main, but not sole, reliance on nuclear weapons; to integrate nuclear weapons with other [Page 102] weapons in the arsenal of the United States; to consider them as conventional weapons from a military point of view; and to use them when required to achieve national objectives. Advance authorization for their use is as determined by the President.

b. The U.S. nuclear stockpile should include, in varying sizes and yields, standard weapons and clean2 weapons as feasible, to provide flexible and selective capabilities for general or limited war, as may be required to achieve national objectives.

11. The United States will be prepared to use chemical and biological weapons to the extent that such use will enhance the military effectiveness of the armed forces. The decision as to their use will be made by the President.

12. If time permits and an attack on the United States or U.S. forces is not involved, the United States should consult appropriate allies before any decision to use nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is made by the President.

13. In carrying out the central aim of deterring general war, the United States must develop and maintain as part of its military forces its effective nuclear retaliatory power, and must keep that power secure from neutralization or from a Soviet knockout blow, even by surprise. The United States must also develop and maintain adequate military and non-military programs for continental defense. So long as the Soviet leaders are uncertain of their ability to neutralize the U.S. nuclear retaliatory power, there is little reason to expect them deliberately to initiate general war or actions which they believe would carry appreciable risk of general war, and thereby endanger the regime and the security of the USSR.

14. Within the total U.S. military forces there must be included ready forces which, with such help as may realistically be expected from allied forces, are adequate (a) to present a deterrent to any resort to local aggression, and (b) to defeat or hold, in conjunction with indigenous forces, any such local aggression, pending the application of such additional U.S. and allied power as may be required to suppress quickly the local aggression. Such ready forces must be highly mobile and suitably deployed, recognizing that some degree of maldeployment from the viewpoint of general war must be accepted.

Local aggression as used in this paragraph refers only to conflicts occurring in less developed areas of the world, in which limited U.S. forces participate because U.S. interests are involved. The prompt and resolute application of the degree of force necessary to defeat such local [Page 103] aggression is considered the best means to keep hostilities from broadening into general war. Therefore, military planning for U.S. forces to oppose local aggression will be based on the development of a flexible and selective capability, including nuclear capability for use as authorized by the President. When the use of U.S. forces is required to oppose local aggression, force will be applied in a manner and on a scale best calculated to avoid hostilities from broadening into general war.

15. In order to maximize the cold war contribution of U.S. military power, the military capabilities of the United States, to the extent consistent with primary missions, should be utilized in appropriate ways to reinforce and support overt and covert political, economic, psychological, technological, and cultural measures in order to achieve national objectives.

16. U.S. security is predicated upon the support and cooperation of appropriate major allies and certain other Free World nations, in providing and using their share of military forces in the common defense and in furnishing, bases for U.S. military power. Although developments in weapons technology and other factors over future years will change the need for, and will necessitate periodic review of, the present U.S. overseas base system, a small net expansion of this system may be required, at least initially. The determination as to whether to position IRBM’s around the Sino-Soviet periphery outside the NATO area will be made by the President.

17. The United States should strengthen as practicable the collective defense system. The United States should take the necessary steps to convince its NATO and other allies that U.S. strategy and policy serve their security as well as its own, and that, while their full contribution and participation must be forthcoming, the United States is committed to carry out its obligations for their defense and possesses the capability to fulfill its commitments. In particular, to counter existing uncertainty, the United States should reaffirm that its nuclear weapons will be used, as necessary, to defend Free World interests.

18. The United States should continue efforts to educate its allies as to the importance of nuclear weapons as an integral part of the arsenal of the Free World and the need for their prompt and selective use when required. Taking into account the protection of classified data, the essential requirements of U.S. forces, and production capabilities, the United States should continue to provide to selected allies, capable of using them effectively, advanced weapons systems (including nuclear weapons systems with the elements required by law to be under U.S. control, readily available). Special attention should be directed to assisting selected allies rapidly to develop and produce in concert, through NATO, their own advanced weapons systems (less nuclear elements), and to facilitating and increasing the exchange and utilization of Free [Page 104] World scientific and technological resources. The United States should seek to prevent the development by additional nations of national nuclear weapons capabilities and to prevent or retard the acquisition of national control over nuclear weapons components by nations which do not now possess them. The United States should consider the long-term development of a NATO nuclear weapons authority to determine requirements for, hold custody of, and control the use of nuclear weapons in accordance with NATO policy and plans for defense of NATO areas.

19. The United States should continue to provide military and support assistance to nations whose increased ability to defend themselves and to make their appropriate contributions to collective military power is important to the security of the United States. To the extent possible without sacrifice of U.S. security, the United States should seek to reduce requirements for military assistance by encouraging selected recipient nations (principally non-Europeans) (a) to reduce large indigenous forces maintained to resist external aggression to a size commensurate with both the economic ability of the allied nation to support and with the external threat, placing reliance for additional support on U.S. capabilities, and (b) to emphasize police and constabulary type forces for internal security purposes in lieu of large indigenous military establishments.

20. The United States and its allies must reject the concept of preventive war or acts intended to provoke war. Hence, the United States should attempt to make clear, by word and conduct, that it is not our intention to provoke war. At the same time, the United States and its major allies must make clear their determination to oppose aggression despite risk of general war; and the United States must make clear its determination to prevail if general war occurs. To strengthen the deterrent to limited aggression and to reduce the danger of limited aggression expanding into general war, the United States should, in appropriate cases, make timely communication of its intentions.

21. a. Dynamic research and development for military application are a necessity for the continued maintenance of effective armed forces and an adequate U.S. military posture. The military technology of the United States and its allies required to support these objectives should be superior to the military technology of the Soviet Bloc.

b. The United States must tap the basic and most advanced research of the nation, both private and governmental, so that it can rapidly take advantage of new discoveries, including those related to outer space, which may profoundly influence military technology. Moreover, the United States must speed up by all practicable steps the translation of research and development into an appropriate flow of new weapons and equipment to the armed forces.

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c. Measures should be undertaken to increase mutual support between the United States and its allies in selective research and development for military application.

II. Political and Economic Strategy

22. Political and economic progress in the Free World is vitally important (a) to maintain the effectiveness of the military deterrent by preserving the cohesion of our alliances and the political basis for allied facilities and capabilities; (b) as an end in itself, in strengthening the vitality and well-being of the free nations; and (c) to create the conditions which over time will be conducive to acceptable change in the Communist Bloc. Behind the shield of its deterrent system, the United States should place relatively more stress on promoting growth and development in the Free World and constructive evolution in the Communist Bloc.

23. The ability of the Free World, over the long pull, to compete successfully with the Communist World will depend in large measure on demonstrated progress in meeting the basic needs and aspirations of Free World peoples. In helping to remedy conditions throughout the Free World which are readily susceptible to Communist exploitation, the United States should take timely action rather than allow a further deterioration to ensue which may require more costly and less certain measures (including military action).

A. Strengthening the Free World

24. Maintaining the vitality of the NATO Alliance is essential to carrying out effectively our national strategy to meet the threat of the Communist Bloc. At the same time, the United States must increase its leadership and influence in strengthening other Free World nations. Accordingly, the United States should act (a) to increase in Free World nations, especially in neutral nations, mutuality of interest and common purpose; confidence in the United States, through better understanding of its national purposes and by reason of its actions; and the will, strength, and stability necessary to retain their independence; (b) to provide, especially to emerging nations, constructive and attractive economic and ideological alternatives to Communism, including the effective promotion of economic development of less developed areas; (c) to neutralize the Communist apparatus in the Free World; and (d) to prevent the political and economic efforts of the Sino-Soviet Bloc from subverting or gaining political control of independent nations.

25. a. In the foreign economic field U.S. objectives include strong, healthy, expanding Free World economies; with emphasis on sound and timely economic progress in less developed areas and on maintenance of high rates of economic activity with relatively stable price levels in industrialized nations.

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b. Necessary conditions for strength and growth in both the industrialized and less developed areas include:

Reasonable political stability and favorable internal policies.
A high level of international trade and investment within the Free World.
A strong, healthy and expanding U.S. economy

c. In order to foster a high level of international trade, the United States should (1) continue to press strongly for a general reduction of barriers to such trade; (2) seek to reduce further its own tariffs and other trade restrictions over the next few years on a reciprocal basis, with due regard to national security and total national advantage; and (3) support sound moves to widen the convertibility of currencies.

26. a. The United States should encourage and support movements toward European unity, especially those leading to supra-national institutions, bearing in mind that the basic initiative must come from the Europeans themselves. The United States should continue the policy of providing financial and other assistance to promote such integration. The United States should work, as appropriate with organizations which reflect progress toward such integration or increased cooperation among European nations.

b. The United States should encourage and assist the development of a sounder relationship between Europe and Africa and Europe and the Middle East.

27. a. Dangers to Free World stability are particularly acute in less developed areas (including certain European nations outside the Soviet Bloc), in view of lagging economic growth, rapid population increase, bitter national and colonial disputes, internal political instability, and increasingly vigorous Communist efforts toward political and economic penetration. The United States should support and foster economic progress in these areas in order, and in a manner designed, to increase long-range political stability and Free World cohesion.

b. Primary responsibility for satisfactory economic growth must remain with the less developed nations themselves. U.S. assistance should be extended in a way to promote local self-help, incentives, and initiative in mobilizing local resources and developing sound programs. Bearing in mind the political motivation of some assistance, the United States should seek, where possible, to assure that its assistance will be effectively used and that recipient governments are willing to take the necessary and appropriate measures.

c. The difficult task of speeding up economic growth and promoting political stability in the less developed areas calls for some changes in their traditional habits and attitudes. In order to lift one of the major limitations on the rate of economic growth, (1) less developed nations should be encouraged to expand educational facilities and opportunities, [Page 107] especially in the administrative and technical fields, and to share their knowledge and techniques with other less developed nations; and (2) the United States should devote, and should encourage other Free World industrialized nations to devote, more effort (by training programs, by strengthening educational institutions, by greatly expanding training in administrative and technical skills, and by providing competent advisers) to the development of local leaders, administrators, and skilled personnel. The United States should offer attractive contact and exchange opportunities to citizens of less developed nations.

d. To provide new capital investment required for economic development in less developed areas at a rate consistent with U.S. objectives, the United States should:

Encourage the governments of underdeveloped nations to mobilize the maximum amount of local capital for domestic economic development, and create a favorable climate for foreign private investment.
Encourage other industrialized Free World nations to facilitate movements of private capital to the less developed areas and to supply governmental capital where their own resources permit.
Support, wherever appropriate, the efforts of the IBRD and the IFC to promote development in less developed nations.
Develop positive programs to foster increased U.S. private investment in less developed nations as well as in industrialized nations.
Be prepared to make appropriately increased economic development financing available in substantial amounts and on a long-term basis.
Be prepared to study the acceptability of proposals for the establishment of international institutions for development financing.

28. a. In order to meet the challenge posed by the Sino-Soviet Bloc economic offensive (both trade and aid), the United States should vigorously press forward its own positive programs to foster a high level of Free World trade and to promote economic development in the less developed areas, rather than react defensively to Sino-Soviet Bloc programs.

b. Recognizing that it is not always feasible or desirable for less developed nations to reject Sino-Soviet Bloc aid or trade, the United States, in cooperation with other Free World nations as appropriate, should (1) insure that nations are aware of the opportunities which expanding trade with the United States and the rest of the Free World, and U.S. aid programs, create for them to achieve economic progress as independent members of the Free World; (2) seek to induce nations not to (a) accept Sino-Soviet Bloc aid in certain sensitive fields which would create damaging dependence on the Bloc, (b) trade with the Bloc on prejudicial terms, or (c) become unduly dependent on trade with the Bloc; and (3) in very exceptional cases, take direct measures to counter Bloc [Page 108] moves, by Free World actions in aid or trade taken specifically for this purpose.

29. a. The total level of U.S. economic assistance world-wide should be consistent with the objectives we seek to achieve in the world, such as peace, the security and economic vitality of the United States, the independence of the new states, long-range security interests, and the development of future markets. Increases in economic development assistance should, to the extent politically and militarily feasible, be offset by decreases in other economic or in military assistance programs.

b. The Development Loan Fund should be assured of continuity and resources adequate to promote accelerated rates of development in less developed nations.

c. The disposal of U.S. surplus agricultural products to Free World nations should be consistent with our foreign policy objectives and avoid material injury to the trade of friendly nations. In taking actions affecting imports of products of special importance to friendly nations, the United States should consider the impact on our foreign policy objectives.

30. U.S. political policies must be adapted to the conditions prevailing in each less developed area. The United States should not exert pressure to make active allies of nations not so inclined, but should recognize that the independence of such nations from Sino-Soviet control serves U.S. interests even though they are not aligned with the United States. The United States should provide assistance on the basis of the will of such nations to defend and strengthen their independence, and should take other feasible steps which will strengthen their capacity to do so.

31. The United States should seek (a) to work with, rather than against, constructive nationalist and reform movements in colonial areas in Asia and Africa, when convinced of their present or potential power and influence; and (b) to prevent the capture of such movements by Communism. Where disputes or tensions involved the relations of a major U.S. ally with a colonial or dependent area, the United States should use its influence in behalf of an orderly evolution of political arrangements towards self-determination, and should seek to strengthen the forces of moderation in both the colonial and metropolitan areas.

32. The United States should continue its full support of, and active leadership in, the United Nations, and do what it can appropriately to strengthen the organization to meet changing circumstances. It should seek to make maximum effective use of the United Nations to settle international disputes; to promote collective security, including the averting or limiting of local conflicts; to advance dependent peoples and less developed nations through such measures as technical assistance and trusteeships; and to solve international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character. The United Nations can serve [Page 109] and should be used to mobilize Free World opinion in support of U.S. policies, to expose inimical Communist aims and actions, and to counter Communist propaganda. It should also be used for unobtrusive contacts, for intelligence, and for quiet diplomacy.

33. The United States should actively pursue programs for the peaceful uses of atomic energy. Objectives should include advancement of knowledge in this field, strengthening of the U.S. national economy, and furtherance of cooperative efforts with other nations, both through bilateral arrangements and through multilateral agencies such as I.A.E.A. and EURATOM.

34. In nations vulnerable to subversion, the United States should, as one of its objectives, assist in the development of adequate local internal security forces, recognizing that direct action against the Communist apparatus must rest largely with the local government concerned. The United States should:

Seek to alert vulnerable nations to the methods and dangers of Communist subversion.

Conduct civil police and other overt and covert programs and activities to combat Communist subversive forces and techniques.

[1 paragraph (2 lines of source text) not declassified]

In the event of an imminent or actual Communist seizure of control from within, take all feasible measures to thwart it, including military action if required and appropriate to cope with the situation.

B. Other Means of Influencing the Communist Bloc

35. a. In addition to political, military, and economic programs and actions to prevent further expansion of Communist influence and steadily to improve the relative position of the Free World, the United States, where appropriate in cooperation with other Free World nations, should seek to influence the Communist Bloc by:

Giving to the peoples of Communist nations, as well as those of the rest of the world, a clear conception of the true U.S. and Free World purposes, including uncompromising U.S. determination to resist Sino-Soviet Bloc aggressive moves and uphold freedom; and otherwise to correct the distorted Communist view of the world.
Making clear to the peoples of Communist nations, as well as those of the rest of the world, that the Free World opposes the Sino-Soviet Bloc because of Communist imperialism and continued use of violence and subversion.
Convincing the Communist leaders and their peoples that there are alternatives to their regimes’ present policies which would be acceptable to the United States and which they should come to consider compatible with their own security interests.
Encouraging the Communist regimes to take measures which make more difficult the reversal of policies more acceptable to us.

b. Advantage should be taken of every opportunity to accomplish paragraph a above, by such measures as expansion of Free World-Soviet [Page 110] Bloc exchanges and contacts, appropriate liberalization of trade controls, exploitation of Sino-Soviet Bloc vulnerabilities, the negotiating process, appropriate use of information media, and peaceful cooperation with the USSR in fields not inimical to U.S. security. The United States and the Free World should carry out these measures so as not to affect adversely the Free World’s will to resist Communism, taking the initiative whenever possible and with a view to making a favorable impact upon the Free World, including uncommitted peoples.

36. a. The United States should encourage expansion of U.S.-Soviet Bloc exchanges and selective expansion of Free World-Soviet Bloc exchanges, and continue to sponsor specific proposals, which are chosen particularly with the view to:

Sustaining current ferment in the thinking, and fostering evolutionary trends, within the Bloc.
Maintaining Free World initiative and leadership for advantageous reductions of barriers to free communications and peaceful trade.
Increasing the acquisition of useful intelligence concerning the Sino-Soviet Bloc and scientific information.
Avoiding a net disadvantage to the United States from such contacts.

If such proposals are rejected by the Bloc, we should utilize these rejections to expose the reality behind the Soviet facade.

b. In considering proposals for U.S.-Soviet Bloc contacts, the United States should: (1) weigh the potential advantages against the adverse effect of the U.S. example upon other Free World nations more vulnerable to Communist penetration; and (2) discreetly inform Free World nations that expansion of U.S.-Bloc contacts does not signify acceptance of Soviet Bloc attitudes, but rather is a means of influencing such attitudes toward more acceptable conduct.

37. a. The United States should agree to liberalize the multilateral security controls on trade with the Sino-Soviet Bloc, thereby facilitating accord with our allies and agreement on the maintenance of an effective multilateral security trade control system. Such system should continue controls on munitions and atomic energy items and on other items having a clear military application or involving advanced technology of strategic significance not available to the Sino-Soviet Bloc.

b. The United States should be prepared to conform its unilateral controls on trade with the European Soviet Bloc to those agreed multilaterally, except as to items control of which will clearly advance U.S. policy objectives.

c. The United States should continue its unilateral embargo on trade with Communist China, North Korea, and North Vietnam.

38. a. In the exploitation of Sino-Soviet Bloc vulnerabilities, the United States should design its policies and programs to (1) accelerate [Page 111] evolutionary changes in Sino-Soviet policies and conduct which will advance U.S. and Free World security and policy objectives; (2) weaken the ties which link the USSR and Communist China and the controls by which these nations dominate other nations; (3) exploit divisive forces within the Bloc; (4) encourage popular pressures on the Bloc leaders for greater emphasis on the legitimate needs and national aspirations of their peoples, such as greater liberties and improved standards of living; (5) undermine the faith of the Communist ruling classes in their own system and ideology; and (6) develop closer contacts with the peoples of the Eastern European nations in ways calculated to build on traditional feelings of friendship and respect for the United States.

b. In order to foster the development of internal freedom and national independence among the Soviet-dominated nations of Eastern Europe and Poland when judged to be to the net strategic advantage of the Free World, appropriate legislation should be sought, and necessary administrative changes should be made, relaxing present restrictions on the provision of economic aid.

39. The United States should continue its readiness to negotiate with the USSR whenever it appears that U.S. interests will be served thereby. Such negotiations may help to maintain Free World initiative and cohesion, and can be used to probe the intentions and expose the meaning of Soviet policies. The United States and its major allies should be prepared to sponsor mutual concessions between the Free World and the Sino-Soviet Bloc which would leave unimpaired the net security position of the Free World and which would contribute to the ultimate peaceful resolution of the Communist threat. The United States should not, however, make concessions in advance of similar action by the Soviets in the hope of inspiring Soviet concessions. Agreements with the USSR should be dependent upon a balance of advantages, and not upon implied good will or trust in written agreements.

40. Safeguarded arms control should be sought with particular urgency, in an effort to reduce the risk of war attendant on the increased possibility of achieving surprise and on the growth and proliferation of nuclear and strategic missile delivery capabilities. It should therefore be a major objective of the United States, in its own interest and as interrelated parts of its national policy, actively to seek a comprehensive, phased and safeguarded international system for inspection against surprise attack and for the regulation and reduction of conventional and nuclear armed forces and armaments; to make intensive efforts to resolve other major international issues because a comprehensive arms control agreement will depend upon the resolution of some of these issues; and meanwhile to continue the steady development of strength in the United States and in the Free World coalition required for U.S. security. As an initial step in developing this international arms system, the [Page 112] United States should give priority to early agreement on the implementation of measures designed to reduce the risk of general war. The acceptability and character of any international system for the regulation and reduction of armed forces and armaments depend primarily on the scope and effectiveness of the safeguards against violations and evasions, and especially the inspection system. Because in the future U.S. security will depend increasingly upon information and intelligence of Soviet military capabilities and intentions, the development of such an inspection system within the Soviet Union assumes, in and of itself, significance to U.S. security.

41. In applying the strategy in paragraphs 35–40 inclusive to Communist China, the United States must take account of non-recognition of the regime, the special hostility of the regime, its aggressive aims, and the undesirability of enhancing the power and influence of Communist China relative to free Asian nations. Moreover, the United States should not overlook any possibility, however remote, of fostering among the Chinese people demands for an alternative to the Communist regime. However, the United States should continue its willingness to participate in talks with, or including, Communist China, on specific subjects on an ad hoc basis where the general objectives of its political strategy against the Communist Bloc would be served thereby.

C. Psychological Aspects of U.S. Policies

42. a. The psychological impact abroad of our policies—domestic as well as foreign—plays a crucial part in the over-all advancement of U.S. objectives. It is essential, therefore, that along with the pertinent military, political and economic considerations, the psychological factor be given due weight during the policy-forming process.

b. After specific policies have been determined, implementing actions and statements supporting these policies should be coordinated and presented publicly in a manner that will best advance U.S. objectives.

c. Foreign informational, cultural, educational and other psychological programs are vital elements in the implementation of U.S. policies and should be selectively strengthened.

III. Domestic Strength and Other National Security Measures

43. Sound U.S. Economy.

A strong, healthy and expanding economy is essential to U.S. national security and to the security and stability of the rest of the Free World. A U.S. recession could have very serious effects on the economic growth and political stability of the Free World. The Federal Government should, therefore, pursue over-all credit and fiscal policies designed to: [Page 113]
Counter the current recession and foster sustainable economic growth with a relatively stable price level.
Maximize the economic potential of private enterprise by minimizing governmental controls and regulations and by encouraging the development, through private effort, of natural and technological resources.
Consistent with paragraph a above and with the necessity to undertake all programs which are essential for the national security, the United States should keep all Federal expenditures to a necessary minimum. Expenditure levels must take into full account the danger to the United States and its allies resulting from impairment, through inflation or the undermining of incentives, of the basic soundness of the U.S. economy or of the continuing expansion of the U.S. economy under a free enterprise system. Constant efforts should be made to eliminate waste, duplication, unnecessary overhead, and unnecessary facilities and activities in the Federal Government.
Efforts should also be made to keep Federal expenditures at levels which, over a period of time, would permit some reduction in the public debt and reductions in tax rates essential to long-term economic growth.

44. Internal Security. Internal security measures should be made adequate, by strengthening them as necessary, to meet the threat to U.S. security of covert attack by the Soviet Bloc on the United States by means of sabotage, subversion, espionage and, particularly, the clandestine introduction and detonation of nuclear weapons.

45. Civil Defense.

An essential ingredient of our domestic strength is an improved and strengthened civil defense program which seeks, by both preventive and ameliorative measures, to minimize damage from nuclear attack. An effective civil defense program requires an increasing degree of Federal responsibility, support and influence on the civil defense activities of the states.
Such a civil defense program should include certain measures, as approved by the President, to carry out the concept of fallout shelter for protection of the population against radiation hazards.

46. Support by U.S. Citizens.

The support of the American people is essential to the success of a national strategy to meet the threat to our national security.
Our nation, our institutions, the principles we hold dear, and our very lives are now in great danger. This great danger to the United States and to all free nations, may persist for a long time. While this threat is taking on new dimensions, the determination of U.S. citizens to face the risks and sacrifices, and their willingness to support the demands on [Page 114] their spiritual and material resources, necessary to carry out this national strategy will be crucial.
Continuing efforts should be made to develop a comprehension among the American people of these needs and of the fact that our national strategy provides the best hope that war can be averted and our national security objectives achieved. Steadfastness, wisdom, courage, and readiness to sacrifice, rather than the complacent pursuit of peacetime living, are required to assure their survival during a period of crisis which may continue for many years.
Eternal vigilance to prevent intimidation of free criticism is also necessary in carrying out the national strategy.

47. Mobilization Base. The mobilization base (military and non-military) should be designed to meet the requirements of (a) general war, initiated by the enemy with a nuclear onslaught or as a result of hostilities which were not intended to lead to general war, (b) cold war, and (c) military conflict short of general war. Emphasis should be given to those elements that will increase U.S. D-Day readiness and capability. Within the military, first emphasis should be placed on achieving readiness for the forces in being. The base should meet the following objectives:

Maintenance of the active forces in a condition of optimum readiness to execute initial wartime missions.
Maintenance and support in a high state of readiness of those selected reserve forces specified as being so essential to the execution of initial wartime missions as to require their being given priority treatment.
Maintenance and support of phased expansion to M+6 months force levels.
The capacity to meet the combat requirements of all forces which would be mobilized by M+6 months.
Pre-M-Day positioning of stocks of selected supplies and equipment within the United States to insure M-Day readiness.
Pre-M-Day provision and positioning of reasonably protected stocks of selected supplies and equipment outside the United States to insure that U.S. forces surviving the enemy nuclear attack will have a reasonable capability of performing assigned initial tasks effectively without substantial resupply from the United States during the initial phase of war.
Maintenance and support of the industrial capability to conserve and replenish stocks that may be used in a local war.
Development and maintenance in a high state of readiness of measures essential to survival as a nation, including minimum civilian needs and continuity of government.

Implementation of these objectives should emphasize immediate combat readiness and effectiveness, reflect any planned reductions in the over-all physical size of the military establishment, and provide for increased selectivity aimed at bringing the mobilization base structure, [Page 115] including equipment and standby facilities, in consonance with strategic concepts.

48. Stockpiling of Materials for the Strategic Stockpile.

Procurement for additions to the strategic stockpile authorized under P.L. 520, 79th Congress,3 should be limited to meeting shortages for a 3-year period of national emergency under (1) a “basic objective” which only partially discounts sources of supply outside North America and comparably accessible areas and (2) a “maximum objective” which discounts completely sources outside North America and comparably accessible areas.
The “basic objective” should be met expeditiously. The “maximum objective” should be reached on a lower priority basis, by such means as (1) deliveries under existing contracts; (2) transfers from other Government programs; (3) purchases with available foreign currencies; and (4) barter of U.S. agricultural surpluses.
Stockpile procurement for the purpose of maintaining the mobilization base should be undertaken only within the “maximum objective”.4
Commitments calling for deliveries beyond the “maximum objective” should be cancelled when settlements in the over-all best interests of the Government can be arranged through agreement with the contractor.

49. Intelligence. The United States should develop and maintain an intelligence system capable of collecting the requisite data on and accurately evaluating:

Indications of hostile intentions that would give maximum prior warning of possible aggression or subversion in any area of the world.
The capabilities of foreign nations, friendly and neutral as well as enemy, to undertake military, political, economic and subversive courses of action affecting U.S. security.
Potential foreign developments having a bearing on U.S. national security.

50. Manpower. The United States should develop and maintain manpower programs designed to:

Channel a larger share of our resources to the education and training of rapidly increasing numbers of young men and women, with special emphasis on meeting the needs of science and technology.
Develop incentives and public attitudes which will cause a sufficiently larger share of our manpower to enter research and other pursuits required to accomplish national security objectives.
Expand the training of U.S. technical, scientific, and management personnel to further U.S. objectives in less developed nations.
Provide an effective military training system which recognizes the need for full utilization of skills, both civilian and military, and is, so far as possible, equitable.
Maintain the necessary active military forces with an adequate number of career leaders, specialists, and the highly-trained manpower required for modern war.
Develop and maintain suitably-screened, organized and trained reserve forces, including ready-reserve forces, of the size necessary for selected missions in the early phases of war, and for the phased expansion to M+6 months force levels.
Provide effective manpower mobilization plans (1) to meet military requirements, and (2) to channel manpower into priority tasks under emergency conditions, including the immediate post-attack requirements of civil defense.

51. Research and Development. The United States must achieve and maintain a rate of technological advance adequate to serve its over-all national security objectives. To this end there are required:

Increased awareness throughout the nation of the importance to national security of science, of technological advance, and of the need for greater motivations for qualified youth to pursue scientific careers and engineering careers.
Strong continuing support by the U.S. Government for basic and applied research, in proper balance.
Improved methods for the evaluation, collation and dissemination of U.S. and foreign scientific information.
The fostering of foreign, or cooperative U.S.-foreign, scientific endeavor in friendly nations.
Facilitation of wider application by industry, within the bounds of security, of the results of governmental research and development, including that performed for military purposes.

As research and development results are translated into an operational capability with new weapons, there should be an attendant continuing review of the level and composition of forces and of the industrial base required for adequate defense and for successful prosecution of war.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5810 Series. Top Secret.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  3. Nuclear weapons capable of being exploded with greatly reduced radioactive fallout. [Footnote in the source text.]
  4. Approved on July 23, 1946; 60 Stat. 596.
  5. Through FY 1959 new mobilization base procurement could include battery-grade manganese (synthetic dioxide). New purchases of lead for the strategic stockpile will end on the effective date of any affirmative action on the application for increased tariff, but in no event later than June 30, 1958. [Footnote in the source text.]