69. Memorandum of Discussion at the 415th Meeting of the National Security Council0

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

1. Basic National Security Policy (NSC 5810/1; NIE 11–4–58; NIE 100–59; Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “Overseas Internal Security Program”, dated April 10, 1959; NSC Action No. 2079; Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “Status of Military Mobilization Base Program”, dated April 21, 1959; NSC 5906; Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “Basic National Security Policy”, dated June 19 and July 6, 7 and 28,1 1959; NSC Actions Nos. 2103, 2105, 2108 and 2110)

Mr. Gray said the Council was resuming consideration of Basic National Security Policy by taking up first the paragraph on outer space and then the six unresolved paragraphs in the military section. Agreement as to these paragraphs would complete Council consideration of the subject except for the paragraphs on the mobilization base (paragraph 58) and on strategic stockpiling (paragraph 59), the proposed revisions of which he would like to have it understood would be coming forward from the responsible agencies during August. (A copy of Mr. Gray’s [Page 278]briefing note is attached to this Memorandum and another is filed in the Minutes of the Meeting.)2

Mr. Gray then turned to Paragraph 62 (enclosure to the reference Memorandum of July 28). He said this paragraph contained new general guidance on outer space which was initially discussed at last week’s Council meeting. Action on the paragraph had been deferred to permit further study, in the light of the Council discussion, of the suggestions put forward at an informal Space Council meeting. The Planning Board was unable to reconcile the differences and the paragraph contained four splits. Mr. Gray then read the first sentence of Paragraph 62 in which Treasury and Budget proposed deletion of “and with a sense of urgency”3 and the second sentence in which the majority proposed that the U.S. should obtain a position of supremacy in outer space activities, with Treasury and Budget proposing that the U.S. be a recognized leader in this field. He then called on Dr. Dryden4 to explain the majority position.

Dr. Dryden said the differences in this paragraph were substantive rather than merely a question of language. Two countries, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., were in the forefront of space developments. He thought it was necessary to decide whether it was the policy of the U.S. to be ahead of the U.S.S.R. or merely equal to the U.S.S.R. in outer space activities. Once this question of policy was decided, the drafting of appropriate language would present no difficulty. The split occurred because the “civilian” members of the Space Council had objected to the phrase “recognized leader” on the ground that they were unable to determine whether it meant we should be first or second.

Mr. Gray asked whether Dr. Dryden was addressing himself to the “sense of urgency” phrase or only to “supremacy” vs. “a recognized leader.” Dr. Dryden indicated he was interested primarily in the supremacy split and thought the question was whether the U.S. should be ahead of the Soviet Union, equal to the Soviet Union, or in second place behind the Soviet Union.

The President said that if we stopped everything else, including our missiles program, and put every dollar and every scientist to work on outer space activities, we could forge ahead of the U.S.S.R. Dr. Dryden remarked that in his opinion the U.S. should go ahead of the U.S.S.R. in space programs. The President wondered whether we were in a 100-yard dash or a mile run. He thought we probably should not couch our own [Page 279]policy in terms of what the U.S.S.R. was doing when we did not know exactly what the U.S.S.R. was doing in outer space.

Dr. Dryden agreed that it was not necessary for our policy to be stated in terms of what other countries were doing. The President said that the majority proposal did just that.

Mr. Stans noted that Paragraph 62 had important budgetary implications. He said the proposal that the U.S. should be a “recognized leader” came from the language of the present policy and the language of the Space Act. He then listed five reasons for his objection to the majority proposal for “supremacy”:

(1)
It would be impossible for the U.S. to meet every shift in communist tactics or to compete with the U.S.S.R. in every field. For example, the U.S.S.R. had built a nuclear ice-breaker, but a bill for a similar ice-breaker for the U.S. had been vetoed.
(2)
It was impossible to measure the point at which we became the leader or attained supremacy, which according to the dictionary meant superiority. The U.S. could not attain superiority over the U.S.S.R. when it did not know what the U.S.S.R. was trying to achieve in outer space, The current space policy paper (NSC 5814/1) contained a timetable of Soviet capabilities. Each capability was stated as an individual estimate, and the paper specifically said that the sum of the individual capabilities was not the aggregate Soviet capability in outer space. If the U.S. attempted to compete with the U.S.S.R. in every phase of outer space activity, it would mean writing a blank check, especially if the phrase “a sense of urgency” remained in the paragraph.
(3)
We were already spending $800 million on outer space activities and expected to spend a billion dollars in FY 1960. Future funding to carry out our present policy might require $1.4 billion in 1961 and two billion in 1963. If we increased our goals, even greater sums would be required in the future.
(4)
Outer space activities should be related to other activities, since we had insufficient resources to engage in all activities that might be desirable. If we devoted too many resources to outer space, we would be compelled to cut down in equally important broad scientific areas.
(5)
The type of competition which might be characterized as “a stern chase of the Soviets” was inconsistent with the policy of using outer space for peaceful purposes.

Accordingly, for all these reasons Mr. Stans urged that the existing policy language be incorporated in Basic Policy unless the Space Council presents an approved change in policy.

The President felt that the space programs proposed by Dr. Glennan and later approved represented a fine effort by the U.S. in outer space. It appeared to him that we were now trying to state in general language and in terms of the activity of another country the specific space programs [Page 280]that had already been approved. He was more interested in the programs themselves and in any changes that might be contemplated in those programs than he was in such general language; He felt that if it were considered necessary to have an outer space section in Basic National Security Policy, it might consist of policies approved by the Space Council. However, he felt it would be unwise to spend too much time discussing this split.

Mr. Gray suggested that perhaps it was sufficient to say, as the first sentence stated, that we would pursue programs to develop and exploit outer space as needed to achieve our purposes.

The President asked whether the space program had come before the National Security Council. Mr. Gray said the Council had adopted a policy on outer space (NSC 5814/1) and that this policy was now under review by the Space Council. The President said the space program had been before the Space Council and had been adopted. He recalled that the cost of that program was somewhat less than the cost mentioned by Mr. Stans. Dr. Dryden said that Mr. Stans’ figures had included expenditures by the Department of Defense as well as by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Secretary McElroy thought it was time to effect a clear separation between military space projects and other space projects. We were approaching the point of operational capability for such military programs as surveillance satellites, communications satellites, etc. If a surveillance satellite should be considered superior to other means of military reconnaissance, he could see no reason why it should not be used even though there was a total ceiling on expenditures for space activities. The President agreed, adding that in the case mentioned by Secretary McElroy, the Defense Department could stop buying reconnaissance planes and buy reconnaissance satellites instead. Secretary McElroy said he had thought that any restrictions on expenditures for outer space applied only to non-military space activities. He repeated that it was time to consider the military and the non-military space programs separately The President said that basic research was one type of space activity and the use of outer space for military purposes was another type of activity. We were trying to avoid basic research on outer space being done in N.A.S.A. and in the military departments. He believed that any purely research activity should be conducted by the Space Agency while applied research looking toward a military capability should be conducted by the military.

The Attorney General felt that the effort to find general words to describe specific programs amounted to approaching the problem backwards.

Secretary Dillon said that the present space programs were satisfactory to the Department of State, which was chiefly interested in the [Page 281]psychological impact of these programs throughout the world. The way other countries looked on our space activities was an important element in national security. Accordingly, he dissented from one of Mr. Stans’ arguments which contained the implication that the U.S. might have to take a secondary position in outer space activities. If it became our policy to allow ourselves to take a secondary position, and if the world believed we were in second place, the repercussions throughout the world would be most unfortunate.

Mr. Stans suggested that the words “and with a sense of urgency” be deleted from Paragraph 62, that the first sentence without these words be adopted, and that the rest of the discussion be referred to the Space Council. Mr. Gray said that the suggestion of leaving out both the “supremacy” language and the “recognized leader” language would have the virtue of not impairing a review of the space policy paper by the Space Council. If the Space Council recommended enlarged space programs, the matter could properly come back to the National Security Council.

The President asked whether Paragraph 62 covered both ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) and NASA and Mr. Gray said that it did.

In reply to a question from Mr. Gray, Mr. Stans said he was suggesting that Paragraph 62 consist of the first sentence only. The President said the first sentence of Paragraph 62 seemed satisfactory to him, but asked whether the material beginning with “Objectives should include”, should not remain in the paragraph. Mr. Gray said he believed the majority might wish to retain this material, although he understood Mr. Stans was suggesting its deletion.

Secretary McElroy, referring to sub-paragraph (2) under “Objectives”5 suggested that the bracketed language proposed by Budget and Treasury could well be omitted. He felt the high officials of the Department of Defense should be relieved of duty if they do not understand that the military space program is restricted to fields showing promise of offering advantages over other means for achieving required military capabilities. Mr. Gray pointed out that the Budget and Treasury proposal in sub-paragraph (2) would require that every military space program be justified as the best way of accomplishing the purposes in view. The President pointed out that the Secretary of Defense had said that the necessity [Page 282]for such justification was inherent and therefore need not be specifically stated. Mr. Stans said he was urging the inclusion of the Budget–Treasury proposal in sub-paragraph (2) in order to recognize the point the Secretary of Defense had just made. He felt it was necessary to match the advantages of spending money on outer space against the advantages of spending money for other activities. He believed it was desirable to make clear that the activities of the Defense Department in outer space were limited to the military field and that Defense would not engage in research in areas allocated to NASA. Secretary Anderson thought the Budget–Treasury language was appropriate because two agencies were dealing with space. NASA and the Department of Defense should not both engage in the same type of activity. Secretary McElroy said he felt the bracketed language was totally unnecessary and thoroughly undesirable; it implied that Defense might be engaging in non-military space activities and he did not like this implication.

The President noted that one of the purposes of the Space Council was to determine in specific terms where outer space resources were to go. He agreed with the Secretary of Defense that something would be wrong if the Department of Defense were going beyond the military applications of outer space.

Mr. Stans thought the Budget–Treasury proposal was a desirable qualification because documents based on an understanding by the Council might not be clear when read “down the line” in the various departments and agencies. Secretary McElroy observed that he was also concerned with the lower echelons in the various agencies. He feared that if the Budget–Treasury proposal were included in the paragraph, some of the lower echelons in the Bureau of the Budget perhaps would require that every space program proposed by the Defense Department be discussed over and over again. He believed that general responsibility must be placed on someone and that person’s general performance be the basis for his retention or dismissal.

Dr. Dryden felt that the lower echelons would benefit by good guidance. NASA and Defense were working closely together on future planning. He believed the language of the Space Act was not very useful here and that the language suggested by the majority would provide desirable guidance. Secretary McElroy agreed with Dr. Dryden that cooperation between NASA and the Department of Defense was close and effective. Dr. Dryden said that few problems of cooperation existed at the top level; problems arose in the lower echelons, which would accordingly benefit from adequate guidance.

The President said the problem was one of finding language to show the difference between Objective (1) and Objective (2). We were trying to eliminate the chance that the scientific program would invade the military field and vice versa. The desire to eliminate duplication was one reason [Page 283]for the Space Council. Each side has to bring its programs before the Space Council or the National Security Council.

Mr. Gray felt that the programs and details should come before the Space Council and that the Basic Policy paper should state a broad general policy. The Space Council was perhaps the proper forum for raising the questions implicit in the Budget–Treasury proposal for Objective (2). Mr. Gray also pointed out that the Budget–Treasury proposal was not included in existing policy.

The President said that in place of the Budget–Treasury proposal, he believed the following language should be added to Objective (2): “with out invading the responsibilities of NASA.” Mr. Stans wondered whether we could say at the end of Objective (2) “without competing with Objective (1)”. The President said he preferred the language he had just suggested.

Mr. Gray then read the two alternative versions of the last sentence of Paragraph 62 dealing with the psychological aspect of space programs. He felt this was a substantive question which should be decided by the Council. Secretary Dillon was at a loss to understand why this split was regarded as deeply substantive. He felt the majority proposal for the last sentence of Paragraph 62 was so general that it contained little guidance and accordingly he wanted to say specifically what the language in the right-hand column said. The President asked whether the word “comparable” in the right-hand column meant “equal”. Mr. Gray said the word “comparable” had been used because the drafters of the right-hand column felt that it would be impossible to say that any two projects were ever of equal scientific and technical value. The President asked who would determine which of two projects had the greater psychological value? For example, he wondered whether flying to the moon or visiting Venus had the greater psychological value. He believed the discussion was turning toward hypothetical situations when an effort should be made to be practical.

The Attorney General felt it was unnecessary to incorporate in Paragraph 62 either version of the last sentence because responsible officials in this field should be giving consideration to psychological values now.

The President wondered whether the language on psychological values did not pertain only to NASA, whose whole program was based on psychological values. Dr. Dryden could not agree that NASA’s whole program was based on psychological values; on the contrary, he believed NASA rendered very important support to the military. The President said that nevertheless the furor produced by Sputnik was really the reason for the creation of NASA. Mr. Abbott Washburn6 remarked that certain [Page 284]outer space projects carried more “world opinion freight” than others. For instance, a soft moon landing had captured people’s imagination. When the Soviets out-distanced us, as they had in putting up the Sputnik, there were important effects on world opinion. The President asked whether anyone could tell him what difference there was in psychological impact between a soft moon landing and a trip to Venus.

Dr. Dryden thought that the question in connection with the last sentence of Paragraph 62 was whether psychological considerations should be made the primary element in determining the value of space programs. The psychological value of a project really depended on whether or not it was successful. What is done must be successful or it will have no psychological or scientific value. The President said in the case of the last sentence of Paragraph 62, he found himself against both the majority and the minority positions and suggested that both versions of the sentence be deleted.

Mr. Gray then briefed the Council on Paragraph 12–a7 (enclosure to the reference Memorandum of July 28) which deals with the use or non-use of nuclear weapons. He said that so far as he knew, the only unresolved point concerned the footnote. The Secretary of Defense would like to make it clear by means of a footnote that the revised paragraph is not to be interpreted as a change in policy but rather a clarification of existing policy. He then called on Secretary Dillon to express his view.

Secretary Dillon said he fully agreed with the language of Paragraph 12–a as it was written (in the enclosure to the July 28 Memorandum). He felt that the paragraph should stand as written and that it was not of vital importance whether the language was called a clarification of policy or a change in policy. He assumed the footnote was not intended to bring in the superseded language of the old paragraph (paragraph 10–a of NSC 5810/1) by the backdoor. Referring to the State proposal that the footnote be included in the Record of Action, he said it was a matter of indifference to him whether the footnote appeared as a footnote or in the Record of Action.

Secretary McElroy noted that he had found the interpretation of the language in Paragraph 12–a differing according to who was reading it. Accordingly, he would like to have included in the paper a footnote stating that the language was a clarification rather than a change in policy. The President thought the language of Paragraph 12–a was a clarification rather than a change in existing policy, and that a footnote was preferable to a paragraph in the Record of Action.

[Page 285]

General Twining personally thought that Paragraph 10–a of NSC 5810/1 was preferable to Paragraph 12–a of NSC 5906, but he could agree with Paragraph 12–a as long as it was a clarification and not a change in policy. General Lemnitzer believed the language in Paragraph 12–a was clear, but that it would be clouded by the footnote. He feared that as long as the footnote said the policy was not changed, some of the planners would want to continue developing programs which had been started on the basis of the old language.8 The President said the revision of the paragraph on the use of nuclear weapons was necessary because there had been a lack of understanding of what was meant by the corresponding paragraph in last year’s Basic Policy. He felt that the footnote did not do any harm.

Mr. Gray then suggested that the Council turn to Paragraph 16 (enclosure to the Memorandum of July 28) with the thought that the resolution of the issues there presented might help dispose of any remaining issues in Paragraph 10. Mr. Gray briefed the Council on Paragraph 16.9

Secretary McElroy was prepared to accept Mr. Gray’s proposal to make the last part of the first sentence read “for use in cases authorized by the President.” The President felt this change was desirable because the word “as” might mean that he had already given his authorization. Mr. Gray pointed out that in the first sentence the Department of State wanted to insert the word “balanced”. The President said we had spent [Page 286]lots of money developing forces in every country touching on the communist part of Eurasia. Probably none of these forces were balanced. Balanced forces might lead to an unbalanced expedition. He felt that the word “balanced” did not belong in this sentence. The Air Force and the Navy comprise the bulk of our mobile forces; but in some expeditions the Army would furnish the largest component. Secretary Dillon agreed with the President’s remarks and wished to withdraw the word “balanced”. He believed his Planning Board Member in suggesting the word had been thinking of the overall balance in the total U.S. armed forces.

In presenting the next to the last sentence of Paragraph 16 Mr. Gray suggested that the word “limited” might be inserted before “U.S. forces”. The President concurred in this suggestion, but added that in some respects using the word “limited” was like asking how long is a piece of string. However, he felt the use of the word “limited” did indicate that all our forces could not be involved in local aggression. Mr. Gray said that of course it was impossible to write a policy which would cover every contingency and indicate exactly what the President would do when a crisis arrived. The President agreed.

Secretary McElroy remarked that an aggression could be “local” only if it involved a small engagement. The question arose whether we could have an engagement with Russian armed forces anywhere in the world without having general war. Secretary Dillon said he could conceive of a situation in the Middle East where Russian “volunteers” might be engaged with U.S. forces. Such an engagement would remain local aggression. The President noted that “limited” was a relative term. Did it mean a regiment, a battalion, a division, or what? However, he felt the term was useful, since it injected a note of caution. General White believed the next to the last sentence should say that local aggression refers to conflicts not involving the U.S.S.R. Otherwise we would be implying that we could have a conflict with the U.S.S.R. anywhere but in the NATO area without going to general war. In his view, we could not have a limited war anywhere in which U.S. and Soviet forces were directly and overtly engaged against each other. General White also thought the question of conflict with Communist China should be considered.

The President said suppose we were defending Formosa and the Russians sent a detachment of volunteers against Formosa. We would not necessarily be sure that the Russians were actually fighting against us. For example, we were not sure the Russians were fighting in the Korean War. General White regarded Russian participation in the Korean War as an “incursion”.

Mr. Gray said the last sentences of Paragraph 16 meant that a substantial conflict in the NATO area would be general war, but if the engagement was not substantial, NATO planning would govern the situation. [Page 287]He thought the language should be changed if it could be interpreted to permit a large engagement with Communist China—an engagement absorbing a substantial part of our military establishment—to be characterized as local aggression. Secretary Dillon agreed that if substantial U.S. forces were required, the fighting would not be local aggression. The President felt that it might be difficult to improve on the language of the paragraph, but said that if the Joint Chiefs of Staff or any individual Chief of Staff found in his planning that he was having difficulty because of this language, he should refer the matter back to the Council for further consideration. Admiral Burke said the whole question was one of judgment. If U.S. forces were fighting two Russian squads, this would not be general war; on the other hand, if U.S. forces were engaged with large Russian forces, then we would be in general war. The President said it was impossible to cross every “t” and dot every “i”. He recalled that Russia and Japan for six years before World War II had fought battles which absorbed up to a division on each side, but had not declared war.

Mr. Gray suggested in the last sentence of Paragraph 16 the words “in the NATO area” to be deleted after “aggression” and inserted after “incident”. Secretary Dillon agreed with this suggestion because it left it up to the President to decide what forces were sizable.

Mr. Gray then noted that Defense proposed a footnote to Paragraph 16 indicating that the revised paragraph is a clarification of existing policy rather than a change in policy. Secretary McElroy said that the revisions just made in the paragraph made the footnote less necessary. He was willing to delete the footnote to Paragraph 16. However, he felt that he should point out to the Council that he had been concerned about the sentence in Paragraph 16 which reads: “Force should be applied in a manner and on a scale best calculated to prevent hostilities broadening into general war.” When he read this sentence he thought about the Korean War and the fact that our military commanders were told they could not do this and could not do that in Korea—in fact that they could not win—because whatever they did might lead to general war. The forthright statement of policy in the preceding sentence, that is, that “Force should be promptly and resolutely applied in a degree necessary to defeat local aggression,” was weakened by saying that we had to apply force in a manner and on a scale calculated to prevent general war. The President recalled a previous and lively discussion of this statement. He felt, however, that the sentence was merely a caution, an admonition not to make the fight any bigger than necessary in the case of local aggression.

[Page 288]

When Mr. Gray turned to Paragraph 10 Secretary Dillon and Mr. McCone withdrew the State–AEC proposal.10

Mr. Gray brought up Paragraph 15, dealing with maintaining an effective nuclear retaliatory power, and said that while it was unchanged from existing policy, he did not wish to preclude discussion if anyone wished to raise a question. There was no discussion.

Mr. Gray then explained Paragraphs 23 and 24 of NSC 5906,11 dealing with the problem of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by additional nations. He added that late last night he had received the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who preferred the version of these paragraphs which the JCS Adviser had supported in the Planning Board. He read extracts from the Memorandum of the JCS to the Secretary of Defense12 on the subject of these paragraphs. Secretary Dillon believed the policy of limiting to the extent feasible the spread of nuclear capabilities was still a good policy. If we adopted a definite policy of giving nuclear capabilities to other countries, it would be difficult to know where to stop. The effect on general world opinion would be unfortunate, it would be more difficult to achieve a disarmament agreement, and the U.S.S.R. would be presented with a great propaganda advantage in being able to say that the U.S. was trying to spread its war implements around the world. We must of course recognize that we may not be able to retard the development of nuclear capabilities in additional countries forever, but we should try to prevent the spread of such capabilities as long as possible.

The President said he found himself in a difficult position. In 1945 he had advocated making our nuclear knowledge available to the U.K. because he did not see how two close allies could continue their cooperation unless they had similar forces in the nuclear field. He felt there was a great difference between NATO countries and other countries. He could conceive of nothing worse than permitting Israel and Egypt to have a nuclear capability, as they might easily set out to destroy one another. He could go along with the views of the Secretary of State until NATO countries came into the picture, at which point he found himself agreeing with the JCS. Secretary Dillon said he would be afraid to give nuclear weapons [Page 289]to [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] capable of violent emotional reactions. The President said our policy might be to give nuclear information to allies who can afford to make nuclear weapons, but not give such information to allies who cannot afford to make such weapons.

Mr. Gray felt he should point out that the Joint Chiefs did not propose giving weapons to our allies, but only information. The President agreed with Secretary Dillon that it would probably not be wise to give nuclear information to [less that 1 line of source text not declassified]. Secretary McElroy said the Joint Chiefs were proposing that we make nuclear information available to those countries which had an industrial capability to make effective use of such knowledge. The President said that if we were better protected by making nuclear weapons available to our allies, we should consider making them available. Secretary McElroy said his own views were very close to those of Secretary Dillon. It was difficult to see how once we started on a policy of making nuclear information available, we could stop short of giving information to all allied countries with a capacity to produce weapons. We would probably have to make the information available to Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada.

The President said we would not necessarily have to make public the policy of giving nuclear information to our allies. We might consider giving Germany nuclear information thus enabling the Germans to develop nuclear capabilities for themselves. Secretary McElroy said that during the 1900’s Germany had been rather an unstable member of the international community. The President observed Germany had been his enemy in the past, but on the principle of having only one main enemy at a time, only the U.S.S.R. was now his enemy. The President added that the JCS proposal referred to “selected allies.” He was not happy about that phrase and felt it should be more restrictive. Secretary Dillon said that the phrase “in the U.S. security interest” in Paragraph 23 of NSC 5906 was similar to the President’s idea. Secretary Anderson said it was inconceivable that language could be written which would determine what countries should receive technical information. He felt the matter was covered by the words “when the President decides that it is in our national security interest.”

Mr. Gray suggested that Paragraph 23–a might be left unchanged and that Paragraph 23–b might be revised to read as follows: “Whenever the President determines it is in the U.S. security interest to do so, the U.S. should enhance the nuclear weapons capability of selected allies by the exchange with them …” The President suggested that Mr. Gray might go over the specific language with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the State Department.

Mr. Gray said the Council had now completed all of the paragraphs on Basic Policy except Paragraphs 58 and 59. He suggested the Record of [Page 290]Action show that the responsible agencies would report on these paragraphs by August 31. The President agreed.

Mr. Gray concluded the discussion of Basic National Security Policy by expressing his appreciation for the President’s patience.

The National Security Council:13

a.
Discussed Paragraphs 62, 10, 12–a, 15, 16, 23 and 24 of NSC 5906; in the light of the further recommendations thereon by the NSC Planning Board (circulated by the reference memorandum of July 28, 1959, and the revised pages 16, 17 and 18 circulated July 22, 1959), and of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented orally at the meeting.
b.

Adopted NSC 5906 subject to the amendments made at previous Council meetings in NSC Actions Nos. 2103, 2105, 2108 and 2110, and the following amendments made at this meeting:

(1) Page 10, paragraph 10: Delete the bracketed clause and the footnote thereto.

[Here follow the texts of Paragraphs 12–a, 16, 23, and 62 as they appear in NSC 5906/1.]

c.
Noted that the Department of Defense and the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization would submit a report on the review of Paragraph 58 of NSC 5906 (Mobilization Base) by August 31, 1959.
d.
Noted that the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, in consultation with the Bureau of the Budget, would submit a proposed revision of Paragraph 59 of NSC 5906 (Strategic Stockpiling) by August 31, 1959.

Note: NSC 5906, as amended and adopted and approved by the President, subsequently circulated as NSC 5906/1 for implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of the 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 5906/1 supersedes NSC 5810/1, 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 5906/1.

The action in c above, as approved by the President, subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of Defense and the Director, OCDM, for appropriate implementation.

[Page 291]

The action in d above, as approved by the President, subsequently transmitted to the Director, OCDM, and the Director, Bureau of the Budget for appropriate implementation.

2. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security

Mr. Allen Dulles said that Khrushchev had recently made a speech at Dnepropetroosk which had not been immediately publicly reported. The text had only been received this morning and there was evidence it had been carefully revised. The speech was so long that there had not been time to analyze it thoroughly. However, it contained important announcements concerning the Geneva Conference and contained a note of optimism about the possibility of some agreement on Germany. Mr. Dulles felt that Khrushchev was trying to go far enough at Geneva to ensure that a Summit Meeting would be agreed to.

Secretary Dillon said the news from Geneva was somewhat more optimistic. Secretary Herter had reported that there was an outside chance that some agreement could be concluded before Wednesday.

Mr. Allen Dulles said the Soviets had conducted another ICBM test on the Kamchatka Peninsula range. This was the 13th successful Soviet ICBM test. The count-down had apparently been reduced from the normal eight hours to four hours, possibly because part of the count-down had already been completed in the July 25 and 27 tests, during which it was possible the missile did not get off the pad.

Mr. Dulles then noted that the Russians were devoting great effort to the northern reaches of the U.S.S.R., an area which extended from 60 degrees north to the North Pole and which included two per cent of the population of the Soviet Union (excluding Leningrad), forty per cent of the land mass, and four per cent of the production, principally gold, timber and furs. The Soviets hoped to ship a million tons of equipment into this area during the summer. In some years the area begins to freeze up about this time, but this year it appears the area will be open longer. The Soviets are buying ice-breakers abroad and of course are building a nuclear ice-breaker. The area is well covered by 75 radar stations and eight large Air Force bases, including jet bomber training bases. Mr. Dulles said he was calling attention to this area because of its significance from the point of view of possible attack against the U.S. The distances from various points in the northern reaches of the U.S.S.R. to targets in the U.S. are well within the range of Soviet ICBMs. Admiral Burke said this area had great advantages for the Soviet Union because any retaliatory effort by the U.S. against Soviet installations within this area would hit a region of little industrial or economic value to the U.S.S.R. (with the exception of the Murmansk Peninsula).

[Here follows the remainder of Dulles’ briefing on events in Vienna, Laos, and Tibet.]

Marion W. Boggs
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Boggs.
  2. This July 28 memorandum transmitted new texts of several military and outer space paragraphs for NSC 5906, some of which had been drafted by the Planning Board in response to NSC Actions No. 2105–c and 2110–a–(6). (Department of State, S/PNSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC 5906 Series) See the Supplement.
  3. Not printed.
  4. This sentence reads: “The United States should pursue actively [and with a sense of urgency] to pursue programs to develop and exploit outer space as needed to achieve scientific, military and political purposes.”
  5. Hugh Dryden, Acting Administrator of NASA.
  6. This paragraph begins: “Objectives should include: (1) a broad-based scientific and technological program in space flight and planetary-interplanetary exploration which will extend human knowledge and understanding; (2) a military space program designed to extend U.S. military capabilities through application of advancing space technology, [only in fields where such applications show promise of offering advantages over other possible means for achieving required capabilities];”. The bracketed language was proposed by Treasury and the Bureau of the Budget.
  7. Deputy Director, U.S. Information Agency.
  8. Paragraph 12–a and its footnote as discussed here are identical to the language adopted in NSC 5906/1. Eisenhower and Twining discussed the revised military paragraphs of NSC 5906 in a conversation on July 27. (Memorandum by Goodpaster; Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower Papers, NSC Records) See the Supplement.
  9. In a conversation with the President on July 27, Gray stated in part that agreement had been reached between the Secretaries of State and Defense on paragraph 12–a, but “there was still some disagreement within the military establishment.” (Memorandum of conversation, July 29; Eisenhower Library, White House Office Files, Project Clean Up) See the Supplement.
  10. Paragraph 16 reads as follows: “Military planning for U.S. forces to oppose local aggression will be based on a [balanced], flexible and selective capability, including nuclear capability for use [as] [in cases] authorized by the President. Within the total U.S. military forces there must be included ready forces which, in conjunction with indigenous forces and with such help as may be realistically expected from allied forces, are adequate (a) to present a deterrent to any resort to local aggression, and (b) to defeat such aggression, or to hold it pending the application of such additional U.S. and allied power as may be required to defeat it quickly. 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. When the use of U.S. forces is required to oppose local aggression, force should be promptly and resolutely applied in a degree necessary to defeat such local aggression. Force should be applied in a manner and on a scale best calculated to prevent hostilities broadening into general war. Local aggression as the term is used in this paragraph refers to conflicts occurring outside the NATO area in which limited U.S. forces participate because U.S. interests are involved. The possibility of local aggression in the NATO area involving sizable forces of the United States and the USSR is ruled out; incidents such as incursions, infiltrations and hostile local actions, involving the United States and the USSR, are covered by the NATO political directive and strategic concept.” The Department of State proposed the first bracketed phrase, Gray the second. The Department of Defense proposed the following footnote: “Paragraph 16 of NSC 5906 was approved by the President with the understanding that it is not to be interpreted as a change in policy but rather as a clarification of existing policy.”
  11. This was the language defining general war as “a war in which the survival of the United States is at stake.”
  12. In his briefing note, Gray stated that the Planning Board had consolidated the two in a new paragraph 23, identical to paragraph 23 of NSC 5906/1 except that subparagraph b read: “If, however, it is in the U.S. security interests to do so (for example, if it becomes clear that efforts to achieve agreed international controls affecting nuclear weapons development will not succeed, or if there is substantial evidence that the Soviet Union is permitting or contributing to the development of nuclear weapons capabilities by bloc countries), the United States should enhance the nuclear weapons capability of selected allies by the exchange with them or provision to them of appropriate information, materials, or nuclear weapons, under arrangements for control of weapons to be determined.”
  13. Not found.
  14. The following paragraphs and note constitute NSC Action No. 2114, approved by the President on August 5. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council) In a conversation with the President on August 3, Gray noted a few additional revisions to NSC 5906, included in NSC Action No. 2114 and NSC 5906/1, which had not been discussed at the July 30 meeting. (Memorandum of conversation, August 5; Eisenhower Library, White House Office Files, Project Clean Up) See the Supplement.