26. Circular Airgram From the Department of State to Certain Posts 1
- Survey of U.S. Overseas Bases
Joint State/Defense Message. The basic National Security Policy Planning Task Program calls for a re-examination of U.S. base and installation requirements,2 both military and non-military, over the next five years on a world-wide basis with a view to:
- Restricting number and kind to those most urgently needed.
- Determining alternate ways of meeting future requirements through exploitation new technology (such as space-borne communications, use of U.S. or U.K.-owned islands, establishment floating bases, etc.)
- Exploring various ways essential requirements can be met through cooperative arrangements, sharing of facilities, standby agreements, etc.
DOD has been given responsibility for directing re-examination and has established steering committee in Washington under Asst. Sec. Def. for Installations and Logistics.3 Committee, composed of representatives from State, Joint Staff JCS and DOD (ISA), has developed guidelines and procedures for conduct of examination provided for under part 1, which are outlined in latter part of this message. Committee has also established liaison with other U.S. agencies having facilities abroad for purposes of securing accurate reflection of the interests of and appropriate participation by all such agencies. Parts 2 and 3 of task outlined above will be prosecuted separately, under guidance provided by steering committee.[Page 73]
As the initial step to carry out part 1 above, a small interagency survey group will proceed to Europe on or about May 6.4 This group and subsequent groups will conduct an on the ground country by country survey of existing facilities. Local participation in the survey group will be requested as appropriate from local commands and agencies. As shown in following guidelines, primary objective will be recommendations for collocation and consolidation of U.S. facilities where feasible with full consideration local and area political and economic factors.
Italy has been selected as the first country for examination. A timetable for other country surveys will be announced as experience factors are developed.
The survey group, under the general guidance of the Ambassador in each country, will work closely with appropriate military commanders, representatives of U.S. non-defense agencies with facilities in the country under study—i.e., NASA, USIA, FAA, Coast Guard and the diplomatic mission. A physical inspection of selected facilities is anticipated.
To facilitate work of survey group, certain basic data is to be prepared by overseas military commands and by non-military agencies in advance of group’s arrival. Data prepared by non-defense agency activities in any country should be solicited and held by the Embassy concerned for the use of the survey group. All military data should be collected as directed by USCINCEUR and held by the senior U.S. commander in the country under survey. Details on the data required and the installations to be reviewed will follow immediately by separate instruction. All data should be completed so as to be available prior to the beginning of the work of the survey group in Rome, Italy on May 11.
To further assure that elements involved in supporting the work of the survey are fully informed of the objectives of this effort, a briefing by the chairman of the steering committee will be held at Camp Des Loges on April 20. USCINCEUR will designate required representation from subordinate commands and a separate message will outline the desired Embassy and non-defense agency representation. Additional briefings will be held in convenient locations as the survey group moves from country to country.
- To develop an inventory and description of current utilization for all U.S. bases and installations overseas including nature of real [Page 74] property interest, number, kind and cost of personnel, basic and collateral mission of activities, or other prime characteristics determining need for the property.
- To exploit opportunities for collocating several of the U.S. military Services at the same base or installation (i.e., Army/Air Force or Army/Air Force/Navy, etc.).
- To determine feasibility and economic desirability of collocation of non-military activities on military installations or military activities on non-military installations.
- To determine which of the U.S. real property holdings overseas can be released, which can be reduced in size, and which are urgently needed to support current operations or are to be retained in standby.
- To develop and recommend policy guidelines which contribute to the most efficient and economic utilization of U.S. Government overseas facilities.
- To examine the local as well as area political and economic implications of any recommended adjustment in the present U.S. base structure in each country surveyed.
II. Policy Assumptions
- Only those U.S. bases and installations overseas shall be retained that are most urgently needed to support U.S. Government or operations under joint agreements with other countries and all other property holdings shall be released or reduced in size to conform to need.
- Collocations of activities both military and non-military shall be recommended where dollar savings can be realized and where such relocation does not significantly interfere with the performance of the assigned task or mission or other basic policy considerations.
- In those cases where U.S. bases or installations are maintained in a standby status or operations are greatly reduced, the facilities shall be utilized on an interim basis where practical to house or otherwise support U.S. activities, both military and non-military. Where economically practical, relocations shall be planned to such installations although the duration may be indefinite.
- Maximum joint use of facilities will be made with NATO, SEATO and similar alliances with proportionate sharing of construction and operational costs.
- Maximum utilization shall be made of large multi-purpose bases and installations to obtain effective withdrawal of U.S. activities from urban centers.
- Relocation of U.S. activities shall be recommended where present location interferes with local expansion or municipal growth.
III. Specific Guidance
A. Headquarters and Administrative Facilities
- Inspection of headquarters and administrative facilities shall be undertaken with particular interest in vacating leased space involving significant rental payments by the U.S. Government.
- Maximum utilization of administrative space in major U.S. bases and installations shall be a principal objective to be accomplished through consolidation of like activities or by collocation.
- Particular care shall be taken to identify the space in facilities vacated as a result of the recently directed reduction in Armed Forces Headquarters operations.
- Inspections of depot facilities shall include a review of inactive depots to determine their adaptability for other uses.
- Alternate uses for standby facilities shall be developed for interim utilization.
- Excess depots shall be noted and recommended for release and disposition.
C. Family Housing
- Family housing shall be reviewed to determine degree of utilization (present and estimated future), condition, and cost of operation.
- Leased housing shall receive particular attention with consideration given to rental savings possible from use of U.S.-owned facilities.
- Family housing available on active and inactive bases and installations shall be noted for possible utilization by relocated activities.
- Communication facilities shall be reviewed with consideration given to economic and/or technical advantages of relocation, consolidation, substitute facilities, etc.
- Retention of major properties due entirely to the retention of communication facilities shall be the subject of specific review. Possible relocation to hard core installations shall be explored.
E. Air Bases
Air facilities retained for current or future requirements shall be utilized to the maximum extent possible and alternate uses developed for vacant facilities which may be utilized to satisfy requirements for all U.S. Government activities overseas.[Page 76]
F. Public Affairs Guidance
- The survey groups from Washington will be limited in numbers and will maintain an inconspicuous presence. There will not be discussions with the host Government at this time. No announcement will be made by Washington or in the field on the mission of the survey groups.
- In the event questions arise in the individual countries, the survey group should be described as a routine inspection and evaluation of the effectiveness of the U.S. utilization of facilities stating that similar inspections have been held in the past and more can be expected in the future.
G. Diplomatic and Consular Facilities
Insofar as diplomatic and consular facilities are concerned, the steering committee, in advance of the departure from CONUS of the survey group, will coordinate with the FBO to determine if current space utilization of such facilities in the country under survey permits incorporation of miscellaneous needs of other U.S. agencies. Conversely, any additional diplomatic or consular space requirements which might be located in facilities currently administered by other agencies will be made known. This data plus any other supplementary information provided by the Country Team will be made available to the survey group for consideration.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–1966, DEF 15 US. Secret. Drafted by Richard G. Colbert (S/P) and George L. Warren (G/PM) on January 31; cleared by Henry D. Owen (S/P), Howard Meyers (G/PM), Arthur E. Pardee, Jr. (SCI), John J. Conroy and Charles R. Stout (EUR), Richard W. Barrett (O), Thomas P. Dillon (P), James R. Johnstone (FBO), Dillon (USIA), Heath (FAA), William P. Bundy (DOD/ISA), Thomas D. Morris (DOD/I&L), Arnold W. Frutkin and Packard (NASA), Joint Staff (JCS), Captain Muzzey (Coast Guard), David Rowe (S/S); and approved by U. Alexis Johnson. Sent to Ankara, Athens, Bonn, Brussels, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome, The Hague, and USCINCEUR.↩
- This review, coordinated by the Policy Planning Council, covered 34 subjects. Documentation on the assignments, status, and terms of reference of these tasks is ibid., S/S–NSC Files: Lot 70 D 265, Basic National Security Policy.↩
- Thomas D. Morris.↩
- Documentation on the European visit of this survey group, as well as later visits by other groups to other regions, is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 15 US, and S/PC Files: Lot 70 D 199, Bases.↩