38. National Security Action Memorandum No. 2700


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff


  • Meeting with the President, Thursday, October 24, 10:30 a.m., in the Cabinet Room, on European Matters
Based on Secretary Gilpatric’s summary of recent Presidential decisions concerning the redeployment of US military forces from Europe [Page 99] and the schedule for implementing the approved actions, the President reaffirmed that:
Possible redeployments of US forces under consideration within the government should not be discussed publicly nor with our allies until a decision has been made and a politico-military plan for action approved. Following these steps, we should consult as appropriate with our allies before any public announcement is made, and then proceed with our intended actions. Wherever possible, action of low visibility should be taken without public announcement.
The United States will maintain in Germany ground forces equivalent to six divisions as long as they are required, and this policy is to be reaffirmed by Secretary Rusk in Frankfurt.1
The following actions were approved by the President, to take place under the above guidelines.
The three C-130 squadrons permanently stationed in France will be returned as scheduled; two squadrons will be maintained in France on rotation.
US Army lines of communication forces in France will be reduced by approximately 5400 as scheduled.
The inactivation of the Lacrosse and 280mm gun battalions will proceed as scheduled.
A plan for the further reorganization of the Army’s European logistics forces, entailing an additional reduction of about 30,000 personnel over the next two calendar years, will be developed by the Department of the Army for review by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense.
The specific 10% reduction in headquarters staff of 7th Army and USAREUR and the over-all 15% reduction worldwide in headquarters staffs (which may involve further adjustments in Headquarters, 7th Army, and USAREUR) will go forward as scheduled.
The President approved the return to the United States, commencing early in 1964 and to be completed within FY 1964 with the minimum explanation practicable, the six Berlin “Roundout” units consisting of three artillery battalions, two armored battalions, and one cavalry regiment, with its support units. The schedule of this action and the manner of disclosure to the FRG were left for later decision by the President.
The redeployment of the second Long Thrust battle group will not be discussed until January, although planning should go forward for its probable return to the United States in early spring.
B-47 units will be withdrawn from Spain and the United Kingdom as scheduled by the spring of 1965. The President reaffirmed this decision after being informed that although the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended against this action the Deputy Secretary and the Secretary of Defense strongly supported it.
The President approved in principle the proposal to withdraw three fighter squadrons from France and seven fighter squadrons from the UK by the end of FY 1966. Defense should urgently prepare, in connection with State, a plan of action to carry this out, with an estimate of the political and military problems (including the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) involved for final approval of the President before any implementation.
On the basis of the above guidelines and decisions, section IV of Secretary Rusk’s draft speech for Frankfurt on 27 October was reviewed and appropriate modifications were made. The President approved the attached revised draft.2
At the conclusion of the meeting, the President set forth the following rationale for use by US officials publicly, with the guidance that it should be used only as required, and only in such detail as is necessary.
The United States intends to keep the equivalent of six divisions in Europe as long as they are required. The United States will continue to meet its NATO commitment.
Operation Big Lift should be viewed as an example of our ability to add rapidly additional forces to Europe. Were it a replacement division, it would use the equipment of one of the divisions now in place. Instead, it is using one of the two division sets of equipment prestocked in Europe. In reality, the US thus will have over seven divisions in Europe over the next month or more.
McGeorge Bundy
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Subjects Series, Balance of Payments and Gold. Top Secret.
  2. Reference is to Secretary Rusk’s visit to Frankfurt, Germany, to dedicate a memorial to General George C. Marshall on October 27.
  3. Not attached. Text of Secretary Rusk’s address is in Department of State Bulletin, November 11, 1963, pp. 726-731.