74. Editorial Note

On October 14, 1959, President Eisenhower approved NSC Action No. 2131, which provided for a new policy on the U.S. mobilization base. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council) This policy is reflected in paragraphs 59 and 64–f of NSC 5906/1 (Document 70). In a September 29 memorandum to Secretary Herter, Bromley Smith recommended approval of Planning Board draft paragraphs circulated to the NSC with a September 21 covering note by Lay. (Both in Department of State, S/P-NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, Basic National Security Policy) Smith [Page 325] stated that the revision, undertaken in accordance with the President’s instructions of December 1958, made three basic changes: the abandonment of a mobilization timetable extending 6 months from startup and its replacement by a flexible, shorter time period; the adoption, in planning for general war, of estimates of damage from nuclear attack both on the United States and on U.S. forces abroad; and the adoption of a distinction between mobilization requirements for general war and those for limited war. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a September 28 memorandum to the Secretary of Defense, which was circulated to the Council by Lay under a September 29 covering note, gave general approval to the revisions but asked that “cold war” as well as limited war be taken into account. (Ibid.)

The revision was discussed at the NSC meeting on October 1, and the Council recommended adoption with the modification suggested by the JCS and another having to do with planning for a postwar recovery. (Memorandum of discussion by Boggs, October 2, which incorporates NSC Action No. 2131 ; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records) All these documents are in the Supplement.

Concerning the President’s instructions of December 1958, see Document 43.