264. Memorandum from Gen. Taylor to President Kennedy, April 171

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  • Scheduled Reduction in Strength of the U.S. Army in Fiscal Year 1963

1. Secretary McNamara’s recent memorandum to you, “Release of Reservists Involuntarily Recalled to Active Duty,” informs you of the present intention to reduce the U.S. Army to 960,000 by 30 September 1962 through the release of some 110,000 reservists. He indicates that this reduction will not affect the strength of Army combat units in Europe as long as the present crisis persists. However, he considers that it may be possible through a careful screening of support forces to effect some reduction of Army personnel strength in Europe without reducing combat power. Thus, it would appear that the impact of this reduction will fall largely upon our forces in the United States, particularly the Strategic Army Force.

2. You raised this matter previously with Secretary McNamara by a memorandum dated January 22, 1962 in which you asked to be shown the alternatives to consider in trying to reconcile the following points:

a. An early return of reservists to an inactive status.

b. Maintenance of present U.S. Army strength in Europe.

c. A strong, deployable Strategic Army Force in the United States.

d. An active Army strength of 960,000 for FY 1963.

3. As a decision has now been made with regard to the release of reservists, it becomes a question of how to reconcile the requirements for maintaining the U.S. Army in Europe at approximately the present level while keeping an adequate Strategic Army Force within the planned strength of 960,000. April is the month of no return with regard to the maintenance of the strength of the Army as we [Facsimile Page 2] should be drafting men this month to replace the departing reservists if the strength of the Army is not to go down. Hence, I suggest that you ask Secretary McNamara to outline his plans and intentions, along with their impact upon the Strategic Army Force in the United States.

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4. I have informed Mr. McNamara that you wish to discuss this matter with him after the meeting with the Congressional leadership today.

Maxwell D. Taylor
  1. Provides background information for Kennedy’s meeting with McNamara on U.S. Army force reductions in FY 1963. Secret. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, 94B, DEF 4/62–6/62.