83. Editorial Note

On May 7, 1962, the Policy Planning Council circulated a revised draft of the paper, “Basic National Security Policy.” On May 9, the Council circulated a “short form” of the document, 66 pages long. In a covering memorandum to the May 7 draft, Walt W. Rostow stated his intention, after taking into account suggested changes, to prepare a draft to be circulated by Secretary Rusk to the President and NSC members. “The President will then give instructions for the further consideration of the document.” (All in Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 69 D 121, BNSP Drafts 5/7/62 etc.)

The revision of May 7, 166 pages in length, drops the two concluding sections on national security planning tasks and the anticipation of crises which had been included in the March 26 draft (see Document 70). The remainder of the paper retains the same basic structure while incorporating many changes.

Part One, formerly titled “Doctrine,” is renamed “Principles and Purposes.” In numerous places in the text, “principles” is substituted for “doctrine.” In an early section on the “Nature of the Communist Threat,” a statement retained from the March 26 draft that nuclear war itself “is one threat to the American interest” is followed by new language stating that “the safety of the nation and the possibility of deterring Communist aggression require that we be prepared to face nuclear war in defense of our vital interests, and that this fact be universally understood.” Introductory material retains emphasis on the creation of a “free world community,” but cautions that its creation is “a task which will remain unfinished for a long time.”

In Part Two, “Strategy,” a new discussion of tactical nuclear weapons identifies roles for them, such as deterring enemy initiation of tactical [Page 282] nuclear warfare, enhancement of the overall deterrent, selective use in situations in which escalation would be unlikely to result (“notably” at sea and in the air). In use of tactical nuclears, account should be taken of the danger of escalation, ability to “frustrate aggression” without their use, and the political and physical effects of a “local nuclear exchange.” The draft continues the emphasis on buildup of non-nuclear general purpose force capability, but introduces the term “dual capability” to describe the capacities of general purpose forces. It states that if “a conflict or priority arises in the training and equipping of general purpose forces as between non-nuclear and nuclear combat, the balance should be struck in such a way as to ensure that the entire requirements of non-nuclear combat are met.”

The section on arms control and disarmament states that “the possibility that a nuclear war might result from accident or, more likely, miscalculation or failure of communication is large enough to be an important reason for seeking remedial measures.”

In the section on the “Framework of Organization,” the term “Northern ‘Hard Core’” is retained. The draft continues the call, in connection with overall strengthening of the European community, for reduction in the special relationship with the United Kingdom, but states that the change should be “carefully developed and evolutionary, and should avoid the appearance of an abrupt turnaround.” The revision retains the remarks regarding the ineffectiveness of SEATO, CENTO, and ANZUS and the need for encouragement of their members to engage in wider regional relationships on non-defense matters, but speaks also of “maintaining fully the Manila Pact [SEATO]as the foundation for the U.S. commitment to Southeast Asia.” The section on the United Nations places somewhat greater emphasis on its utility for the achievement of U.S. objectives.

Under “Relations With Communist Regimes,” the draft omits in the section on Eastern Europe the former language on playing “‘liberation’ in a low key” but is otherwise substantively similar to the March 26 draft. In the paragraphs on China, the language from the March 26 draft on PRC “de facto recognition of the independent existence of Taiwan” as a condition for normalization of Sino-U.S. relations is dropped: “The specific kinds of modification that we would require as the price of more normal relations should be the subject of continuing planning study.” Regarding Quemoy and Matsu, the draft states: “The removal of GRC forces and/or the disengagement of U.S. prestige from the offshore islands remains an objective of U.S. policy.”

In the last section, “The Domestic Base,” the revision gives increased prominence to a proposal for solving the balance-of-payments problem through encouragement of gains in U.S. productivity.