9. Briefing Note for the 353d NSC Meeting by Cutler1

[Facsimile Page 1]


In September, 1955, the President first gave highest priority to the ICBM program. At that time, the Secretary of Defense was asked to give a special briefing once a year on the status of ICBM progress; this request being later broadened to include highest priority IRBM progress and anti-ballistic missile defense programs. Additionally, the Defense Department has for some time been reporting monthly to the President on ICBM and IRBM programs.
The last annual briefing was given in January, 1957. You will remember that last July the Council heard an over-all presentation by the Defense Department, dealing with 41 different ballistic and non-ballistic missiles, with cost estimates projected through FY 1963.
The most recent Presidential action on missiles was, of course, last week, when the ICBM (ATLAS and TITAN), the IRBM (THOR-JUPITER, POLARIS) and the anti-missile missile were all placed in the highest priority both for research and development and for achieving operational capability.
This morning we will hear the third annual briefing by Defense. Because of the amount of consideration the Council has recently given to the subject in connection with the 1958 budget augmentations, the 1959 budget, and the “Gaither Report,” today’s briefing will be shorter than usual. It will not deal with defense against ballistic missiles, but will cover only the ICBM and IRBM programs.
At next week’s Council meeting the Department of Defense will report its recommendations on certain additional “Gaither Panel” resources the production of and initial operational capability dates for ICBM weapon systems, IRBM weapon systems, and POLARIS submarine weapon systems; the installation of interim defenses against ballistic missile attack at SAC bases by using modified available anti-aircraft missiles; and the hardening of SAC bases.

Secretary McElroy


cc: Dearborn




  1. Source: Introduction to Holaday’s briefing. Top Secret. 1 p. Eisenhower Library, Whitman File.