76. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara0



  • Basic National Security Policy (U)
The Department of State draft Basic National Security Policy1 referred to in the memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA) dated 31 March 19622 has been reviewed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the Department of State draft will meet their requirements for national guidance in discharge of their statutory responsibilities if the substance of the modifications accompanying this memorandum is incorporated therein. These modifications conform with the earlier views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Basic National Security Policy submitted to you in July 1961,3 which are hereby reaffirmed.
The following general comments are submitted. Specific comments are attached hereto.4
Over-all: The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider it essential that security policy which results from the current considerations specifically recognizes that effective deterrence to any sort of military threat, or to an expansion of any conflict, has as its basis the evident military capability to defeat the forces being deterred. While many other variable factors contribute to effective deterrence, this requirement to defeat the enemy is constant and must be satisfied.
Over-all: The Joint Chiefs of Staff also consider it essential that the policy provide for control of sea areas and sea lanes vital to the survival of the United States, to the protection of our maritime commerce, and to the support of US and Allied forces overseas.
In Part I: Doctrine. There appears to be undue emphasis throughout the section that divisive factors in the Communist Bloc such as nationalism, desire for improved standards of living, and impulses for human freedom move toward “a reduction in thrust toward the external world…” While these forces tend in this direction, insufficient emphasis is placed upon the still existing strong Police State apparatuses—police, party, military—immediately available to check these tendencies before any threat to the regime can occur, or the probable use of these instruments should the men in power require them.
In Part II: A Strategy. The NATO strategy now included in Chapter III, The Framework of Organizations, paragraphs 13-17, pages 129-135, would be more appropriate for inclusion in Chapter I Military Policy.5
In Part III: National Security Council Planning Tasks. The list includes many of the significant unresolved problems affecting Basic National Security Policy. However, the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the terms of reference and specific tasks outlined are not appropriate for NSC action and Presidential decision. As you will note, many of the military studies are currently being conducted under more specific terms of reference as developed within the Department of Defense. It is suggested that Part III be forwarded only for information and approval of the statement of the problem and that the Department responsible for conducting the studies develop specific tasks with consideration for the draft terms of reference.
Part IV: The Anticipation of Crises
This concept has been addressed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and their recommendations forwarded in JCSM-562-61, dated 30 November 1961, subject, “National Cold War Procedures”.6
It is noted in reviewing Part IV that no consideration has been given to the desirability of the United States creating crises to our own advantage. The Joint Chiefs of Staff suggest that it would be desirable to have the organization capability in-being for this eventuality.
The security classification of Secret is considered inadequate for control of this document. A Top Secret classification coupled with an injunction to authorize dissemination only on a “need to know” basis is considered appropriate for the Part II: A Strategy, with other sections classified according to content.
The general theme that there has been a shift in the communist threat from direct to indirect aggression does not acknowledge that this [Page 262] situation has been created, to a great extent, by US and Allied capabilities to deter overt communist aggression. The US goal must be to maintain forces which, at a minimum, confine the communist activities to indirect aggression while at the same time, provide the capabilities to cope effectively with that situation.
As the economy of the European nations improves, they should provide a greater proportion of the forces in Europe.
It is noted that the document—by stressing stability, peace and the theme of co-existence—does not give the true thrust of the new BNSP which is much more forcefully stated in paragraph 6, The Projection Abroad of US Purposes, page 214. It is suggested that this paragraph be inserted at the end of paragraph 1, Introduction.7
The utility of the document would be improved if condensed as much as practicable without sacrificing continuity or completeness. It should also be rearranged to provide a concise statement of basic principles, long-range objectives and short-range objectives.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognize that the draft volume of BNSP is currently under review by the several departments of the Government. Therefore, the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider it essential that they be afforded an opportunity to review this document again when the changes have been incorporated, and prior to its submission to the National Security Council. In this regard, it would appear most appropriate, and advantageous to later review, if the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or their representatives, could be invited to participate actively in the collection of comments and the preparation of this redraft—particularly those areas concerning the military aspects of national security policy.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
L.L. Lemnitzer8
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Folder 40A22. Secret. Forwarded to Taylor with a covering note from Vice Admiral Herbert D. Riley, Director of the Joint Staff. Another copy is in Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 69 D 121, BNSP 3/26/52.
  2. Reference is to the March 26 draft; see Document 70.
  3. Not found.
  4. See Document 39.
  5. A 20-page Appendix is attached to the Department of State copy cited in the source note above. One change requested is that language in the March 26 draft calling for conventional forces “sufficiently substantial so that they could, in conjunction with available allied troops, contain non-nuclear aggression short of all out Soviet or Chinese Communist attack without using nuclear weapons” be changed to a specification for forces able to contain the attack “long enough to demonstrate our determination to resist even at the risk of expansion of the conflict to nuclear war.”
  6. The equivalent section of the May 7 draft remains in the section on “Framework of Organization.” See Document 83.
  7. Not printed. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, JCS 1735/598, JMF 3310 (12 Jun 61))
  8. This paragraph reads: “It is also essential to project abroad a more clear and vivid concept of our aims and of the measures we are taking to move towards them. The understandable difficulties within a pluralistic society of developing and presenting such a concept make it all the more important that the government act consistently and with vigor to project a positive image of U.S. intentions, as developed in this paper, and to dissipate the corrosive conception that our policy is defensive, negative, and reactive.” The paragraph is expanded in the May 7 draft (see Document 83), but remains in the section on “The Domestic Base.”
  9. Printed from a copy that indicates Lemnitzer signed the original.