109. Record of Meeting Between President Kennedy and the Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council (Finletter)0

Also present: Secretary Rusk, Mr. Acheson, Deputy Secretary Gilpatric, Assistant Secretary Nitze, Assistant Secretary Kohler, Mr. Rostow, Mr. Owen.

Mr. Finletter emphasized the need for greater civilian control by the North Atlantic Council over NATO military programs.
Secretary Rusk indicated that Mr. Stikker might wish to strengthen his International Staff to facilitate civilian control. Mr. Stikker had spoken of the possible need for a high level assistant who would help him in negotiating NATO military programs with individual NATO countries.
Mr. Finletter spoke of the differences between General Norstad’s views and the new U.S. policy which Mr. Finletter was representing. The President asked for a fuller description of these differences. Secretary Rusk, Mr. Acheson, and Mr. Nitze indicated that they centered on, but were not limited to, General Norstad’s desire for 500 land based MRBMs. This desire was inconsistent with existing U.S. policy, which holds that there is enough nuclear power already programmed for Europe and that a large new MRBM program would absorb such energies and resources as to prevent needed improvement in existing conventional forces.
The President stressed the importance of making clear to the Europeans that the projected improvement in conventional forces did not imply any weakening in its use of nuclear weapons. He asked that a letter to General Norstad be prepared making the point.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, NATO. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text.