113. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Regional Organizations0
Washington, September 16, 1961, 6:57 p.m.
Topol 365. For Finletter from Rusk & McNamara.
- We have been reviewing, in light of recent conversations with you and Stikker, how best to handle further NATO consideration of longer-range military planning. Your Polto 2811 has been very helpful in this regard. September 18 NAC meeting to consider this subject makes it necessary for U.S. to take position this question. Statement at end this message is for your use in that meeting.
- We continue believe it essential that we devote our full attention over the next several months to those urgent measures which are required to improve the manning, equipment, training, reserve stocks and overall quality of existing forces. However we recognize necessity for taking action on the 1966 force requirements providing this can be done without detracting from the Berlin issue.
- We agree with you desirable to take action soon in way that (a) does not prejudice our future freedom of action in respect of matters on which US Government decisions have not yet been reached (b) leaves way open for U.S. making known any further views on force goals it believes should be sought to fulfill Green Book policy—as such views emerge from current U.S. studies of forces now building and underway, from standpoint of balance and capabilities (c) gives NAC key role to play (d) avoids divisive debate on conceptual aspects of strategy, since it is specific military programs that are of greatest importance in governing actual development of NATO force pattern rather than statements of long-range requirements (e) achieves outcome in NAC which appears to justify considerable commitment of U.S. prestige and NATO effort to recent review of long-term strategy initiated by U.S.
- To this end following procedure seems to us desirable:
- U.S. would introduce into NAC statement which it would propose NAC adopt as follow-up to Stikker paper, indicating clearly its view re relative priority of different basic elements 1966 requirements with high priority going to enhancing NATO capabilities for non-nuclear defense of forward areas Allied Command Europe against ground/air attack. NAC would then direct Military Committee to translate this view into specifics, i.e., to assign priority ratings to major 1966 force requirements approved by it. U.S. comments on 1966 requirements would be submitted to Military Committee so as to arrive by the time Military Committee had received NAC instructions.
- Upon receipt of directive from NAC Military Committee would approve NATO 1966 force requirements, leaving aside requirements for MRBMs and SSN(B)s, subject to development of a system of relative priorities for these requirements. It would direct Commanders jointly to develop detailed country programs based on this system of priorities.
- Simultaneously with transmission of approved requirements and the system of priorities to the NATO Commanders, Military Committee would forward them to NAC for review. Depending upon results of Military Committee action, NAC could conduct separate review of priorities or could review them when Commanders’ proposed programs are forwarded through NAC to countries as provided in TAR procedure. By time NAC review took place, current U.S. studies referred 2(b) should have been completed and results of the studies could be put to good use by U.S. Perm Rep in that review.
- To carry out above procedure we have drafted following U.S. statement
to Council which should be made at September 18 NAC session:
- “1. The U.S. believes that NAC discussions of long-term strategy have been useful in clarifying thinking and providing a basis for increased [Page 331]effort by all NATO nations to achieve needed military forces. U.S. would like to assert, however, that the importance of discussions of long-term planning and strategy and the forces related thereto has been overtaken by the pressing and urgent need to bring into being immediately, and at the prescribed levels of quality, forces necessary to cope with the developing crisis over Berlin.
- 2. The U.S. emphasizes again the need to provide now forces adequately manned as to number and technical qualifications, forces fully equipped with weapons, transport and ammunition, forces adequately backed up by spare parts, war reserve items, petroleum and other consumables, forces which are properly supported logistically and by service units, in short, balanced forces fully capable of discharging their responsibilities to defend NATO territories and peoples. This is the immediate and pressing priority to which all of us must direct the best effort of which we are capable.
- 3. Turning now to the matter of long-term defense planning with which we are dealing today, statements made by the various PermReps have been helpful contributions to the discussions in the Council. The paper prepared by SYG has drawn these contributions together. We note that SYG’s paper states necessary to increase capabilities in conventional field, but recognizes difficulty in reaching agreement on exact level to be attained. We recognize such difficulty. However, we consider that any actual increase in our conventional capability will increase proportionately the credibility of our overall deterrent. We hope that NATO will approach this task through a vigorous effort to augment conventional capabilities along the general lines already approved in MC–70, as updated by the proposed 1966 requirements.
- 4. In this connection, one general point should be made—the U.S. maintains now, and will continue to maintain, nuclear strike force capable of devastating the USSR. The U.S. intends fulfill its treaty commitments to its NATO Allies in all circumstances. Thus, the U.S. will not hesitate to use all means at its disposal including nuclear weapons and its strategic strike forces if such prove necessary to defend the peoples and territories of its NATO Allies, and will not be deterred by threats of a nuclear attack on the U.S.
- 5. The U.S. has withheld its comments in Military Committee on these proposed MC–96 requirements because these requirements which call for major new nuclear weapons programs, particularly the MRBMs, pose basic political, strategic and resource questions that are difficult to resolve and which require extensive further consideration. As soon as planning for the Berlin crisis has been completed, attention should again be directed to these questions.
- 6. Meanwhile, we understand that some action on end-66 requirements is needed promptly in order that NATO may proceed with urgent [Page 332]programming for 1963 and 1964 to achieve needed strengthening NATO forces. There seems to be consensus in NAC that we should now move ahead to this end. U.S. shares this view and believes NATO should base its programming for near future on proposed 1966 requirements other than elements referred to in para 5, which require extensive further examination. As part of this urgent programming, U.S. believes NATO should give a high priority and increased measures to building non-nuclear forces and that NATO should fulfill very substantial nuclear programs to which NATO is already committed and which will create even greater nuclear arsenal than very substantial one already existing in Europe.
- 7. The U.S. believes that NATO procedures to move ahead with this programming should ensure that Military Committee and Military Commanders receive specific guidance from NAC needed to discharge their respective roles in developing military plans and programs.
- 8. To this end, U.S. would propose that Council adopt following statement: ‘North Atlantic Council notes statements made by the SYG and the PermReps in discussion of NATO long-term planning. It requests Military Committee, in its action on NATO Commanders’ proposed 1966 requirements, to develop an agreed statement of priorities to govern the development of country programs by the NATO Military Commanders, in accordance with the Triennial Review procedure, which would accord high priority to enhancing NATO non-nuclear ground/air capabilities in forward areas Allied Command Europe. Pending further guidance from the Council, Military Committee should defer action on NATO Commanders’ proposed requirements for MRBMs and SSN(B)s. Simultaneously with its transmission to the Commanders, the Military Committee should forward this agreed statement of priorities to the NAC for review.’
- 9. This procedure would also have advantage of enabling NAC to act in way which would recognize in the long-term planning the gains being achieved currently by short-term Berlin measures.”2
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 375.75/9–1661. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Magill and Fessenden; cleared with Nitze, McNamara, and Kohler; and approved by Rusk. Repeated to SACLANT for Collins.↩
- Polto 281, September 5, reported on subjects that Stikker would raise during his trip to Washington and summarized a paper that the Secretary General had circulated, entitled “The Role of NATO Forces.” Stikker’s paper recognized the validity of the U.S. position on strengthening conventional forces and recommended that NATO military authorities reconsider and complete the force requirements for MC–96. (Ibid., 375/9–561)↩
- On September 19 Finletter reported that he had made the statement as authorized and, in response to a specific question from Stikker, approved the general lines of Stikker’s paper. (Polto 348; ibid., 375/9–1961)↩