155. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Gray) in Washington and the President in Augusta, Georgia, November 11, 19601

SUBJECT

  • Provision of Jet Training and Jet Aircraft to Cambodia

There is attached a copy of a memorandum for the President2 and and OCB minute3 which had been sent to Augusta by General Goodpaster on November 10. Subsequent to the dispatch of these documents it appeared that the Secretary of Defense took a contrary view to the decision with respect to furnishing jet pilot training and the Secretary of the Treasury took exception to the agreement as to sources of jet aircraft. When these facts were communicated to General Goodpaster he felt it desirable that I talk with the President.

On the morning of November 11, I ascertained from Under Secretary Merchant that the Secretary of State wished to press the matter with the President in spite of the disagreement of the Secretary of Defense. Also, I agreed with representatives of the Secretary of the Treasury that the source problem would be considered not agreed and would be further considered in the OCB.

At approximately noon, the President having been informed of the dilemma by Mrs. Whitman, telephoned me. He had before him the documents heretofore referred to.

I said to the President that the immediate requirement was his approval of paragraph b of the OCB minute. I explained to him that the Secretary of State wished to press for his approval in spite of the Secretary’s knowledge that the Secretary of Defense was opposed. I said that I felt that it was generally agreed that there was no military requirement for training or aircraft and it came down largely to a political matter. In this case I felt that the President would probably accept the views of the Secretary of State.

The President said that he would be but he was concerned about any implication that there would be off-shore procurement of jet aircraft from the point of view of the balance of payment problem. I explained to the President that we were not asking his approval at this [Page 403] time of paragraph c and that this would be further considered with the understanding that the documents would not show any contemplated off-shore procurement.

The President then said he wished us to go ahead with informing the Cambodian Government. He wished to make it clear that he understood that the training was to be done in this country; that the Cambodian Government understand that we wished to proceed promptly; that we should take care if the requirement was for six pilots to invite 10 or so to participate in view of the inevitable rejection of some of the individuals; and that if the Cambodian Government raised the question of jet aircraft we would respond that the question would be given sympathetic consideration at an appropriate time. The President underscored the need for a clear indication that we wished to move promptly with the training.

Gordon Gray

Attachment

MINUTE FOR OCB MEETING OF NOVEMBER 9, 19604

Cambodia—Jet Training and Aircraft

(a)
Discussed a State–Defense report on the possible provision of jet training and jet aircraft to Cambodia.
(b)
Subject to the provisions of NSC Action 2267 c, agreed that the Government of Cambodia be informed that the United States is prepared to provide jet training in response to their request. Further agreed that, if the Cambodians inquire concerning the provision of jet aircraft, they be informed that the question will be given sympathetic consideration at an appropriate time. In view of the agreement reflected below, noted that any discussion of jet aircraft with the Cambodians at this time should be conducted in such manner as not to prejudice the actual source of supply of such aircraft.
(c)
Further agreed (1) that the Departments of State and Defense would examine possible alternate sources of Free World supply of jet aircraft to Cambodia on a grant, sale or cost-sharing basis, such as France, Japan or Australia; (2) recognized that, while such alternate source of supply might be desirable, it may be necessary to provide the aircraft from U.S. sources.
(d)
Noted that the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, in order to comply with NSC Action 2267 c, would transmit to the President a memorandum containing the foregoing as soon as concurred in by the Secretaries of State and Defense.
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up, Meetings with the Pres. Secret. Drafted by Gray on November 15.
  2. This memorandum, November 10, briefing the President on the background to the request by the Cambodian Government for jet aircraft training and jet aircraft is attached, but not printed.
  3. Below.
  4. Secret.