Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Oral History Interview with
Paul H. Nitze

In the years from 1941 to 1944, Mr. Nitze served as Financial Director for the Coordinator of Inter American Affairs; Chief, Metals and Minerals Branch, Board of Economic Welfare; Director, Foreign Procurement and Development Branch, Foreign Economic Administration; and, as special consultant to the War Department. He served during the Truman administration as Vice-Chairman, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, 1944-46; Deputy Director, Office of International Trade Policy, U.S. Department of State, 1946; Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, 1948-49; and, Director, Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State, 1950-53.

Northeast Harbor, Maine
August 5, and August 6, 1975
by Richard D. McKinzie

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed | Additional Nitze Oral History Transcripts]


NOTICE
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened July, 1990
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed | Additional Nitze Oral History Transcripts]



Oral History Interview with
Paul H. Nitze

Northeast Harbor, Maine
August 5, 1975
by Richard D. McKinzie

Summary Description:

Topics discussed include the Dillon, Read, and Company; administrative assistants to President Roosevelt in World War II; Office of Coordinator of Inter American Affairs; International Basic Economy Corporation; conscription law; Board of Economic Welfare; Combined Raw Materials Board; War Production Board; Reconstruction Finance Corporation; procurement of strategic materials in World War II; Foreign Economic Administration; foreign property disposal; Strategic Bombing Survey; Lend lease program; Quartz crystals for military radio communication; Joint Strategic Target Selection Group; the decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan; Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbor; surrender of Japan; effects of atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; postwar missions of American armed forces; Office of International Trade Policy; U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff; Marshall plan; balance of payments policy; Committee for European Economic Cooperation; origins of Point IV program; Truman Doctrine; Trieste question; NSC-68; Joint Strategic Survey Committee; nuclear war strategy; Korean War; dismissal of General MacArthur; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; German rearmament; French Indo-China; Middle East oil development; Iran oil controversy; transition to Eisenhower administration; defense budget in Eisenhower administration; and Spain and NATO.

Names mentioned include James Forrestal., Paul Shields, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Corcoran , Benjamin Cohen, James Rowe, Oscar Cox, August Belmont, Cordell Hull, Henry Wallace, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Harry Hopkins, Leo Pasvolsky, Arthur Krock, Will Clayton, Ferdinand Eberstadt, Nelson Rockefeller, Donald Nelson, William Burden, Charles Harding, Josh Figueres, William Knox, William Draper, George C. Marshall, Henry Stimson, Jesse Jones, Carl Spaeth, Milo Perkins, Cresswell Maku, Morris Rosenthal, Monroe Oppenheimer, Temple Bridgeman, Alan Bateman, Theodore Kreps, Willard Wirtz, Pierre de Lagarde Boal, George Ball, Leo Crowley, Harold Starr, Lucius Clay, Guido Perera, Franklin D'Olier, Henry Alexander, Victor Emanuel) Henry Riley, Don Hochschild, Simon Strauss, Harry S. Truman, Leon Pearson, Charles Thornton, Henry H. Arnold, J. Fred Searls, Muir Fairchild, Orvil Anderson, Frederick Castle, Carl Spaatz, Walter Rostow, Solly Zuckerman, Philip Farley, Rensis Likert, Albert Speer, Wolfgang Sklarz, J. Kenneth Galbraith, Burton Klein, Trevor Roper, Rolf Wagenfuehr, Phyllis Nitze, James F. Byrnes, William Leahy, Joseph Alsop, Albert Wedemeyer, Douglas MacArthur, Charles Willoughby, Robert Richardson, Prince Fumimaro Konoye, Marquis Kido, Lauris Norstad, Forrest Sherman, H.V. Kaltenborn, Ralph Ofstie, Thomas Moorer, Charles McCain, Jock Whitney, William Jackson, Clair Wilcox, Otis Mulliken, Dag Hammarskjold, Joseph Jones, Dean Acheson, Charles Bohlen, George Kennan, Charles Bonesteel, George Lincoln, Robert Tufts, William Phillips, William Bray, Harold Glasser, Oliver Franks, Richard Bissell, Thomas Blaisdell, Paul Hoffman, Robert Lovett, John Taber, Ernest Gross, Thomas Connelly, William Y. Elliott, Charles Burton Marshall, Walter Judd, Sol Bloom, John Lodge, Christian Herter, Phil Watts, Robert Lovett, Arthur Vandenberg, Alben Barkley, Kenneth McKeller, Jefferson Caffery, Robert Murphy, Mauricio Hochschild, Richard Coudenhave Kalergi, Eugene Loebl, W. Averell Harriman, William Draper, Harry Dexter White. V.I. Chuikov, George Kennan, George McGhee, James Reston, Clark Clifford, Loy Henderson, Robert Joyce, Sherman Kent, Robert Le Baron, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, David Lillienthal, Ernest Lawrence, Louis Johnson, H. Freeman Matthews, Truman Landon, Alexander Sachs, John Muccio, John Foster Dulles, John Ferguson, John Paton Davies, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Corry, Samen Tsarapkin, Jacob Malik, Forrest Sherman, Niles Bond, C. Turner Joy, Arleigh Burke, Chester Clifton, Omar Bradley, Arthur C. Davis, Joseph Collins, Frank Nash, Royden E. Beebe, John McCloy, Robert Schuman, Ernest Bevin, Herve Alphand, Charles E. Wilson, Emmett Hughes, Bedell Smith, Milton Eisenhower, Everett DeGolyer, Walter Levy, Calouste Sortis Gulbenkian, Richard Wigglesworth, Mohammed Mossadegh, John W. Snyder, William Martin, J. Howard McGrath, Leonard Emmerglick, Henry Fowler, Clement Attlee, Harold Linder, Kennett Love, Herbert Hoover, Jr., Henry Cabot Lodge, Robert Cutler, Alfred McCormack, Frank Wisner, Henry Owen, Tom Mann, and Francisco Franco.

 

[234]

Fourth oral history interview with Paul Nitze at Northeast Harbor, Maine, August 5, 1975. By Richard D. McKinzie, University of Missouri Kansas City.

MCKINZIE: Perhaps it would be appropriate to begin with the history of NSC-68 and the relationship between the Policy Planning Staff and the National Security Council?

NITZE: The origins of NSC-68 go back to the period that I was referring to yesterday, after the Chinese Communists had consolidated their position on the mainland and the Soviet Union had tested their first nuclear device. All of us were concerned by the acceleration of the time schedule of the Soviets having tested their nuclear device. We had thought that it would take the Soviets maybe ten or fifteen years to develop a nuclear device of their own. It was not anticipated that they would test one as early as they did. The question was how one reacted to this, how one should react to it and, as I said yesterday, my view and that of Mr. Acheson were somewhat different than George Kennan's view, as to how one should react. One of the things that influenced my view was that I found there were three colonels who were working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose sole function was to work on nuclear matters. They were called "The Three Atomic Colonels." The leader of this group came to see me one day and said, in their view after having talked to the various scientists involved,

 

[235]

it was, and had long been known to be, possible to make a thermo nuclear weapon. The AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] had refused to go forward with the work on that kind of a device. Such a device would be a thousand times as powerful as a fission weapon. This was the first that I'd heard of the technological possibility of such a device.

There was a man in the Pentagon then, by the name of [Robert] LeBaron who was chairman of the joint military Liaison Committee which was the liaison committee between the Pentagon and the AEC. He represented to the liaison between the Pentagon and the AEC. I talked to LeBaron about this and LeBaron agreed with the "Atomic Colonels." Then we talked to J. Robert Oppenheimer, who was consultant to the Policy Planning Staff. Oppenheimer said that (a) he did not think that such a device was technologically feasible, and (b) if it were feasible he thought the size of the device would be such that it couldn't be carried by any delivery vehicle it would be too big to fit into an aircraft or be a warhead on a missile; and, (c) that the amount of nuclear material which would be necessary to make such a device work would be less efficiently used in such a large device than in a larger number of smaller fission weapons. His main point was that if such a thing were technologically feasible, it would be easier for us to do

 

[236]

it with our more advanced technology in the field than for the Russians. If we demonstrated that the thing was feasible then it would be possible for the Russians to develop one. But if we did not develop it, then it would be harder for the Russians to develop it. Demonstrating its feasibility would make it more likely that the Russians would develop a fusion weapon. Therefore, he was against proceeding on a program to try out this technology.

After having talked to Oppenheimer, LeBaron suggested to me that I ought to see Ed Teller. He sent Ed Teller to see me and he came to our office in the Policy Planning Staff, where we have a blackboard. He went through all the physics of his ideas as to how one could make a thermo nuclear device work. Ed Teller is one of those scientists who has an extremely clear mind and is able to make his ideas understandable to non-physicists. After two hours of his briefing me on the physical principles involved, I was persuaded Teller was right. He had two different approaches and wasn't sure which one of the two would work. He was confident that one of the two approaches would work and went through the mathematics with me. I was persuaded that there was something to this. It was not that Oppenheimer was not necessarily right, that the thing was technologically infeasible. We talked further to Oppie and to various

 

[237]

other people of the AEC including [David E.] Lilienthal. There was another point involved. One of the reasons the Russians couldn't do this was that they had a high degree of secrecy. They didn't let their scientists publish. One could only make really deep advances and basic strides in an atmosphere in which there was freedom to publish, and an exchange of ideas between the deep thinkers in this field.

LeBaron sent another man over to see me named [Ernest 0.] Lawrence who ran the Lawrence Radiation Laboratories in connection with the University of California. I discussed this matter with him. Lawrence said, no, he had an entirely different view than Oppie did. In his laboratory all the real advances were made by the young fellows aged 21 to 27. He said it was the people of that age who had the flexibility of mind to make the real advances. All the work they were doing in Lawrence Laboratories was classified and couldn't be published. That was no inhibition at all to these young fellows working on this sort of thing. What motivated them was their sense that they were expanding the limits of prior knowledge and the prestige they got from the appreciation of their own peer groups. People of their own age would appreciate that they really had made an advance in expanding the frontiers of knowledge. That was enough to stimulate this creative work. In the

 

[238]

U.S.S.R. the situation undoubtedly was the same. They had young fellows working in secret laboratories and it wasn't necessary to have publishing. Therefore, it was conceivable that the Russians were working as rapidly as we in the same field.

This then ended up in a serious debate as to whether or not to proceed with the development of a nuclear fusion device. This was referred to a subcommittee in the NSC. LeBaron was representing the Pentagon, Lilienthal was representing the AEC, and Acheson was representing the State Department. I was delegated by Acheson to represent him on this subcommittee of the NSC. Clearly the Pentagon was in favor of proceeding with experiments to see whether or not a fusion device was feasible or not. In fact, they thought we ought to engage in a crash program to test this technology. The AEC was against doing this and the General Advisory Committee of which Oppenheimer was chairman, was very much against doing this. The swing vote was the State Department vote, Acheson's vote.

I argued these things out at length with Lilienthal. His main objection to going forward with these experiments was he didn't think that the government had really thought through their international position and their overall strategy in a world in which such devices might be feasible. He felt

 

[239]

that what we needed was a basic review of U.S. national security policy. I wrote a paper for Acheson to give to the President with the proposal that Mr. Truman sign it. It was a decision paper deciding that one should go forward with the experiments for a fusion device, not on a crash program, but on a deliberate program. The last paragraph stated that, concurrently, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense were directed to conduct a basic review of national security policy. The upshot of this was to satisfy Lilienthal's basic argument. Mr. Truman signed that directive so the AEC did go forward with Teller's experiments.

Concurrently, in the same piece of paper, the Secretaries of State and Defense were ordered to conduct a basic review of national security policy. Acheson appointed me to be his representative to initiate this study on behalf of the State Department. The question was who would represent the Defense Department. In 1949 the Secretary of Defense was [Louis] Johnson.

The Secretary of Defense assured Mr. Truman that he would hold the Defense budget down to twelve and a half to thirteen billion dollars. He felt the State Department was making it more difficult for him to hold the Defense budget down to twelve and a half or thirteen billion dollars. He had issued a directive that nobody in the Defense Department could speak to anybody in the

 

[240]

State Department without his, Louis Johnson's, personal approval. He appointed General Burns in his office to be the point of contact for all relations between the State Department and the Defense Department. Part of the arrangement with Louis Johnson was that Doc [H. Freeman] Matthews, who was the Deputy Under Secretary of State, would be the State Department point of liaison. Doc Matthews took this up with General Burns to find out how the Defense Department proposed to work on this joint study. Burns then worked this out with the joint Chiefs of Staff. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had a subordinate called the "Joint Strategic Survey Committee" which consisted of three senior flight officers. Air Force General [Truman "Ted"] Landon, was the chairman; [the others were] Admiral Robbins, and a third man.

Landon was the person who was appointed to represent the Secretary of Defense in this study. He came to see us in the Policy Planning Staff; he had talked with the Joint Chiefs, to the Joint Staff and had some ideas of things that the Defense Department wanted. They wanted a few additional airwings and some more divisions. They had a few specific requirements, that they thought this would be an opportunity to promote. After a week or two of working with us, Landon became persuaded that we were serious about doing a basic

 

[241]

strategic review and not just writing some papers which would help people promote special projects of one kind or another. Landon suddenly came enthused with the idea of really doing this basic strategic review. He helped us by getting all the information we needed for getting all the support we needed from the Joint Staff, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the services. The work then began to proceed in earnest.

I kept Acheson daily informed as to how we were going about the job, what kind of an outline they were developing and what kind of work we were doing on individual sections. Over a period of five or six weeks we made quite a bit of progress on this paper. I was concerned that Acheson knew all about what we were doing on this study but Louis Johnson, perhaps, didn't know anything about it. Louis Johnson, I thought, ought to be briefed on where we were going because this was to be a joint report by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. I talked that over with Dean Acheson and he thought that this was right. We talked to General Burns who talked to Louis Johnson about it, and Johnson agreed. We set up a meeting in the office of the Director of the Policy Planning Staff which was adjacent to Acheson's office. Louis Johnson was to come over at 11:00 one morning. Acheson appeared but there were no signs of Louis Johnson. At about 11:15 Louis

 

[242]

Johnson, General Burns and all the chiefs appeared. Louis Johnson entered the room in a towering rage and said that he wasn't going to stay at this meeting. He said this entire effort was a conspiracy by me and General Landon to subvert his attempts to hold the Defense budget down to twelve and a half billion dollars. He wasn't going to have any part of it and he was going back to his office without being briefed on the study at all.

Acheson said, "Well, now look here. You and I are supposed to deliver this report and these are the people we've appointed to do the staff work for us. I can't understand why you won't let yourself be briefed on where they are. After all, the report's going to be yours and mine. It's not going to be theirs. We're the ones that are going to have to sign this report."

Johnson said, "No, I won't have anything to do with this conspiracy," and stalked out of the room taking the chiefs with him. General Burns stayed behind, sat down at my desk, put his head down and burst into tears. He said, "I've done everything I could do about this. I've kept my secretary advised. He agreed to this meeting and then he humiliates me that way and I'm going to have to resign."

I said, "For God's sake, don't resign. You're our link here. You've got to stay; otherwise this thing

 

[243]

can't be done. Burns finally agreed to stay on, so we continued to work on NSC-68 and finally got the thing into an ultimate draft and took it up with the joint Staff. They, in turn, took it up with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and they finally approved the report. It was submitted to the service secretaries who signed the report. Eventually they signed a covering letter. This covering letter finally went up to Louis Johnson with the prior endorsement of each one of the chiefs; of LeBaron, chairman of the joint liaison committee; of each one of the service secretaries; and of the Secretary of State. He had the option, then, of having a lone dissent or of signing it. He finally did sign it and it went up to President Truman with the endorsement of everybody involved in the business.

MCKINZIE: In the course of the work between the time that Secretary Johnson marched out of the office and the time the final draft was done, did you have the feeling that the people from the Pentagon side were working with his ideas of economy in mind?

NITZE: I had the view that there was, in fact, a revolt from within. They knew, perfectly well, that what this document presaged was the breaking of the twelve and a half billion dollar ceiling. And that's exactly what it presaged.

 

[244]

One of the difficult questions involved in writing NSC-68 was the question of whether or not we should make an estimate as to the cost of a program, which would correspond with the analysis in the document. It was very difficult to make that kind of a cost estimate. To cost out a program generally takes hundreds of people working on the detail and putting it all together so that you get the cost right. I'd done some computations of my own as to what order of magnitude a program of this kind might involve. I had come to the conclusion that it was in the general range of forty billion dollars for the program as a whole because part of it was economic, and part of it was defense. It was in that general range that we were looking at. I had so told Acheson. In view of the fact that we couldn't do the detailed costing it was decided not to put in a section on the cost but to leave that for the second phase of the study.

The decision part of NSC-68 was very simple. What it did was to re affirm the conclusions of NSC 20/4 which was an earlier paper on U.S. U.S.S.R. relations which had already been approved by Mr. Truman. This was the paper which George Kennan had master minded. It reaffirmed a previous decision. That was the only decision that was called for. Obviously reaffirming a previous decision was to reaffirm an attitude, although

 

[245]

the facts had changed, because at the time of NSC 20/4, the Russians didn't have a nuclear capability. Now they did have a nuclear capability. It was an important decision. Mr. Truman did approve that decision, the re-acclamation of NSC 20/4. He didn't approve any additional expenditures. He directed, however, that work be done on costing out the program. He made it clear that he wasn't going to approve any additional expenditures without the detailed justification for those expenditures, which was a perfectly proper decision. It was what we anticipated would be his decision on the thing.

MCKINZIE: Do you happen to know if Secretary Acheson told him your "ballpark figures" for financing?

NITZE: I don't remember. What I would suspect was that Mr. Acheson told him that this would be an expensive program. The forty billion was just my figure; I wouldn't imagine Mr. Acheson told him that figure. He would have told him that it would be expensive. He would have a chance to review any given increase in the given program because it's got to be justified on its own basis. It became clear that Mr. Truman was of two minds. He simultaneously agreed with the analysis in NSC-68 and with the opposing point of view. That was that it was important to keep the budget in balance.

 

[246]

You couldn't have defense expenditures of more than a range of twelve and a half to thirteen billion dollars. He really still had in mind, two inconsistent ideas. As late as June, 1950, he gave an interview to Arthur Krock which Arthur Krock wrote up in the New York Times. In the interview President Truman reasserted his intentions to try to hold the defense budget down to twelve and a half billion dollars. He approved the conclusions of NSC-68 in April of 1950, and in June he still was not clear in his mind that any additional expenditure for defense was necessary.

MCKINZIE: Where did this leave you?

NITZE: About the same time as we worked up the final draft of NSC-68, I received a telephone call from a former friend of mine in New York, by the name of Alexander Sachs. He was the economist for Lehman Brothers and was a very knowledgeable man. He was the man who had introduced Einstein to President Roosevelt and had been instrumental in getting the proposal for the Manhattan Project off the ground. Sachs said he wanted to come down to see me in Washington. He came down, and had three pieces of paper. Sachs spoke with a slight German accent and wrote in a complicated style and he was rather hard to understand. His ideas on this particular problem were very clear and very understandable. The

 

[247]

first piece of paper that he had was trying to make the point that the Communist doctrine took seriously one point. This was that the Communists would always pay careful attention to what they called the "correlation of forces." By the correlation of forces, they meant not just military forces but social forces, economic forces and political forces. When the correlation of forces had moved in your favor then one was duty bound to try to nail down the real gains which would correspond with that change. If you didn't nail them down you had failed in your duty toward the Communist movement. If the correlation of forces turned against you, the correct tactic was to try to throw dust in the enemies' eyes. Keep them from exploiting the favorable change to them and devote yourself to rebuilding your own forces' structure: political, economic, and psychological. Then reverse this adverse trend and not let the other people nail down the gains which they might aspire to by virtue of the adverse or the favorable development of the correlation of forces to them. That was all that there was in the first paper.

The second paper dealt with the question as to how the Soviets would view the development of the correlation of forces over the last two years. This paper demonstrated that they would view their having broken our nuclear monopoly, and the Chinese Communists

 

[248]

having consolidated their position on the Asian mainland, as being very important changes in the correlation of forces. Nothing else that had gone on during that period of a couple of years out weighed this. Therefore, there was a situation in which the Communists would view the correlation of forces as having changed to their benefit and requiring some kind of action according to their doctrine.

The third piece of paper was a map of the world in which we then analyzed what the possibilities were the relative possibilities of exploiting a favorable change for the Communists in the correlation of forces with a minimum risk. The upshot of that piece of paper was to say that the most likely point of Soviet attack would be through a satellite and through, in particular, the North Koreans attacking South Korea.

The fourth piece of paper dealt with the question of when. That piece of paper came up with the proposal that the summer of 1950 would be about the time when such an attack might take place.

How seriously should you take an analysis of this kind? There were so many if's, and’s, and but's that you couldn't [take it seriously]. It wasn't wholly persuasive but it was quite persuasive. As it turned out Ambassador [John Joseph] Muccio, who was our ambassador to Korea, happened to be in town just at that

 

[249]

time. I had lunch with Muccio and discussed this with him and asked him whether he thought that Alexander Sachs might be right in his analysis. Muccio said he thought it was quite possible that Sachs was right. I said, "Under those circumstances what do you think ought to be done?"

He said, "The reason I'm in Washington is too see whether I can't get for the South Koreans a ten million dollar package of aid, of military assistance which would include, in particular, some fast patrol boats to help the South Koreans intercept the infiltration by sea of South Korea from North Korea." They were infiltrating agents. And he said he was having difficulty getting approval of that program from the Pentagon. He asked if I would help him get this program approved. I said that I would certainly try to get that done, but is that enough? The problem was that the military assistance program, with respect to Korea, had been approved by only one vote. The vote took place around 1949. This seemed to be the maximum that you could get with military assistance.

In the same month, John Foster Dulles came in to see me. He was working in a special advisory capacity to the Secretary of State with the special responsibility of working on the Japanese peace treaty. Foster said he was terribly concerned about the

 

[250]

possibility of an attack by the Chinese Communists on Formosa. He was in deep disagreement with Acheson's' January speech in which Acheson had restated the defense perimeter which excluded both Korea and Formosa. I said I had discussed this at great length with the joint Chiefs of Staff, and the view of the Joint Chiefs was that Formosa was not strategically necessary to our national security. That had been and was the opinion of the chiefs. And Foster said, "Is that the right question to have asked the chiefs? If you'd asked a different question; supposing you asked the question in the following way, 'From the political standpoint, is it important to defend Formosa? Is it possible for the United States to defend Formosa?' So you put the desirability not on strategic grounds but on political grounds. Then ask the chiefs whether they can do the job."

And I said, "I agree that that is a different question and I will put that question to the chiefs."

I went over and talked to the chiefs about it. I forget whether it was the chiefs or the director of the Joint Staff; in any case, that question was referred to the Joint Strategic Survey Committee. They took it under advisement. General Landon was head of the joint Strategic Committee and Admiral Robbins was a member, and I forget who the third member was. But the most

 

[251]

active person on the Joint Strategic Survey Committee was a Colonel Krepps, who had been the director of the staff of the joint Strategic Committee for many years. He had the memory and was, in a way, the most influential member of the group even though he wasn't a member of the committee. He was the staff director. Krepps took a very negative view of the question that I posed. After the first day with him I was pretty clear where they were going to come out because of Krepps' attitude toward it. They did finally recommend to the chiefs that the chiefs take the position that it would be incorrect to try to defend Formosa even if the President and the Secretary of State were to decide this was important from a political standpoint, on the grounds that it would require a diversion of forces. It would leave the western world in a vulnerable position if one were to do so. They answered this reformulated question the same way they'd answered the first question.

After that, in June, Foster came in to see me again. I'd kept in touch with him as to how the negotiations with the chiefs were going. He said he was going off to the Far East and would be in Korea and asked if there was anything that could be done to help detour an attack by North Korea into South Korea.

I said, "The policy is that Formosa is behind the

 

[252]

perimeter and Korea is behind the perimeter. It would be much easier to defend Formosa than it would be to defend South Korea. Having gotten the opinion that it would be unwise to try to defend even Formosa, then it certainly would be unwise to try to defend South Korea. We had not direct commitments to the defense of South Korea. The only commitment was an indirect commitment through our obligation to the U.N. Foster said, "Well, I understand all that but I think I'll make a speech out there which will come as close to the line as is possible, realizing that these are the facts." I think he did; I remember he made some kind of speech when he was there in Korea just before the attack.

Let me go back to NSC-68. When you look at the document you'll see that the first chapter is very short. What it tries to cover is really the essence of what is the continuing purpose of the United States. It really just quotes the preamble of the Constitution.

The second chapter, as I remember it, really was a capsulated statement what we conceived to be the basic Soviet objectives. We put, first, the continuation of the Communist Party within the Soviet Union; secondly, the security of that power base, in other words, the Soviet Union; thirdly, the eventual worldwide expansion of the Communists, not in Germany, but a Communist takeover in the world.

 

[253]

It was in that order. We placed the security of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks), first, and its power base in Russia second. Its expansionist aims were a third objective in the hierarchy. The next couple of chapters really dealt with what was the essence of the controversy between us. They put great emphasis on the Western concept of the importance of the individual and of the freedom of states to develop in the ways in which they wanted to develop. Then it dealt with the evolution of the threat, and the various things you could do about it .

Today, I think you'd write that question about the freedom of the individual, and the freedom of states to develop as they want, somewhat differently. I think one would. Which is a very interesting question. I think the climate of world opinion has changed somewhat as have U.S. opinions. One goes back to that period of '49 '50. This was really a very passionate belief on the part of those of us who were working on this statement, and on the part of Mr. Truman. I think there's less of that today than there was then. Read the document and you'll see.

MCKINZIE: Who had major drafting responsibility? Was it by sections or was there a drafting committee?

NITZE: The Policy Planning Staff as a whole worked on it. I

 

[254]

look back on the people who contributed most to it. My deputy was John Ferguson. John Ferguson was a very competent draftsman. He was a man who could do anything: he could write poetry, paint pictures; he was a very good lawyer, a very good negotiator, and he was a good athlete. He was one of these people who is just a very competent all around person. John contributed a good deal to working on the organization of it. The person who had the most kind of inspired ideas from time to time was John Paton Davies. One of those early chapters talks about what should be the essence of our foreign policy in relationship to the U.S.S.R. It used the phrase to "frustrate the Kremlin design." That was John Paton Davies' contribution to that particular chapter. It is interesting to note that in the Republican platform of 1952, they used that phrase "frustrate the Kremlin design" which John Foster Dulles borrowed from NSC-68. Bob Tufts, whom I described earlier as having worked with me on the Hammerskjold negotiations, was a tower of strength. Bob Hooker helped on those portions having to do with the kind of ideological part of the struggle. C.B. [Charles Burton] Marshall was very helpful a great deal. Everybody on the staff participated in one way or another in writing that document. This was a joint effort.

MCKINZIE: Even when the document was completed it required a

 

[255]

good deal to implement it. I take it that the discussion regarding the development of the hydrogen weapon, that preceded your explanation as to the evolution of NSC-68, was related?

NITZE: Yes, it was related.

The result of NSC-68 was that this was the first in a series of papers which were called basic national security policy documents. Every year thereafter, through the Eisenhower administration, there was a new paper in that series. I don't remember anything much about a paper in 1951 but I do remember the 1952 paper in this series. In '52 it appeared highly probable that Mr. Truman would be defeated and that the Republicans would come in. When we were working on the 1952 paper in this series, we, ourselves called it the legacy paper, because we felt that we wouldn't be around to implement this, but that it should contain our best wisdom as to what we wanted to pass on to the Eisenhower administration. I forget the various points of change of emphasis from NSC-68 to that paper in 1952. The one that sticks in my mind is, by '52 we felt that in '49 and '50 we concentrated too much on just Europe and the Far East. We had given inadequate emphasis to the problems of the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. The main drive of that '52 paper was to correct that we thought had been an over concentration

 

[256]

on Europe and the Far East in the initial '68 version.

I remember at one point during those years in the Policy Planning Staff, I directed the staff to try to make an evaluation of what was likely to happen five or ten years from then, area by area. It was a very difficult job. But they would address themselves to it. Part of that work then got incorporated into that 1952 document

There was another very interesting episode and that was that Mr. Truman one day raised the question of what would be our war aims in the event of a war with the U.S.S.R. I believe it was Mr. Truman that raised this question. I think it came about because of the fact that a number of people had been writing articles about war aims and World War II about whether our aim should have been unconditional surrender or whether it shouldn't have been. This became a matter of debate with the press and magazines. I think that Mr. Truman thought, "supposing there were a war with the U.S.S.R., what would our aims be; shouldn't someone be thinking about that?" Again this was directed at the Secretaries of State and Defense to do a study on this. This was a very difficult paper to work out, and I assigned that paper to Bob Tufts. He worked on it for a period of time and then it went to John Ferguson and he worked on it for a period of time. None of us liked the results

 

[257]

and I referred it to Burt Marshall. Burt Marshall really went off and worked hard on that. He made really a deep incision into that problem. Finally we got together a paper that I thought was well thought through and as profound a paper as we've ever done in the Policy Planning Staff.

This problem was directed to what our war aims would be in the event of a war with the U.S.S.R. This really did force one to concentrate one's mind on one's vision as to what kind of a world would an optimum world be. our war aims assumed, of course, that we would be victorious in a war and that therefore, we would have the power to bring about whatever it is we wanted to bring about. Now what is it that one wants to bring about?

There were a whole series of problems involved. one of the problems was, did you want a "pax Americana?" And it was our view that one did not want a pax Americana. The U.S. was not psychologically geared or attuned to trying to run the world with the authoritarianism which would be necessary in order to implement and enforce a pax Americana. That next raised the question as to whether one wanted a U.N. world, with no one having a position of pre eminence among equals. It was obvious that that just wouldn't work. The third alternative discussed was whether one wanted some kind of

 

[258]

a balance of power arrangement, with the U.S. playing "swing man" with this group or that group from time to time. The final upshot of all this was that we decided that the optimum solution would contain elements of all three of these concepts, or should. one of the main problems that we foresaw under these circumstances was that if the United States was head of a coalition which had defeated the U.S.S.R. in a war, that then all the basis of antagonism would focus upon the U.S. The normal thing in a multi national world is for the opposition and the coalitions to focus against the strongest power. How do you defuse this and how do you work this?

This was only one of the sets of problems involved. Another set of problems involved was what does the President say in the event of a war with respect to his war aims. What are your aims in particular with respect to the U.S.S.R. itself? Do you want to see Latvia liberated? In other words, this is an empire. Should it be broken up? Should one insist upon the substitution of a democratic regime for a Communist regime? And we came to the conclusion that with respect to those things, there were certain countries or certain parts of the U.S.S.R. which might be wisely liberated, including the Baltic States. But one ought to be very suspicious of trying to break up the U.S.S.R. into all

 

[259]

kinds of different parts, and one ought to be very suspicious about trying to impose any given political structure on the U.S.S.R. The important thing was that there be a nuclear monopoly; in other words, that the Baruch plan be executed.

MCKINZIE: Under control of the United Nations?

NITZE: Under control of the United Nations but with the United States playing the leading part. And with some balance of power considerations involved.

It's hard for me to recollect all the details of this paper. After we'd finished this paper, I took it in to Mr. Acheson. Mr. Acheson read it over and I was kind of suspicious, you know, dubious, as to what ought to be done with it next. Should we send it to the NSC? Once it went to the NSC it would then have a good deal of distribution and would probably leak. Acheson said, "My God, this is just dynamite. If this leaks you talk about a pax Americana, you talk about balance of power, you talk about a U.N. world, and you talk about liberating countries and part of the U.S.S.R.; all of this is just poison." He said, "How many copies of this piece of paper have you?"

I said, "We make these things in twelve copies."

He said, "You keep one copy and lock it up in the safe in your office and you burn the other eleven

 

[260]

copies."

That was the end of that paper. I don't know whatever happened to that one copy but it never got into the NSC series at all.

MCKINZIE: So far as you know, it never went to President Truman?

NITZE: Far as I know it never went to President Truman.

MCKINZIE: It was an interesting and I suppose important exercise. Were you assuming there would be a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and that it would be survivable?

NITZE: We did indeed. Your question raises a host of serious issues on this whole question of the effectiveness of nuclear weapons which we discussed in connection with the Korean war. I believe that it was inherent in General MacArthur's position that the alternative was expanding the Korean War into a war with the Chinese Communists, using nuclear weapons and being prepared for the contingency that such a war would expand to the U.S.S.R. It would be necessary at a minimum to isolate Siberia from mainland Russia. The stockpile of nuclear weapons at that time was small; these figures are still classified I guess, so I shouldn't mention any figures. We did a lot of work on

 

[261]

what could be done. What would be the results of using a large percentage of the stockpile as it existed at that time. Those were larger weapons than the 20 KT weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They weren't that much larger. It was highly dubious as to the real military effectiveness of that quantity of nuclear weapons in producing military results.

MCKINZIE: How did you first get brought into the Korean policy problem? Were you in it from the very beginning, from the decision to take it to the U.N.?

NITZE: No, I wasn't. I'd been in the Korean policy problem right up to the attack by North Korea into South Korea. In fact, one of the important preliminary issues was the question of whether to withdraw our military forces from Korea. I forget when that issue came up but I think it was in 1947. General Eisenhower was then Chief of Staff of the Army. General Eisenhower was the person who signed the JCS opinions which took an adamant opinion on the necessity for withdrawing our military forces from Korea. As I remember it, Mr. Truman has that document signed by Eisenhower in one of his books. But basically, I was the one who was conducting this argument with the JCS at the time. This was all burned deeply into my recollection.

The attack into South Korea was on June 25th. I'd

 

[262]

gone salmon fishing in New Brunswick on June the 22nd, I think. I was way up in the northwest branch of the Upsalquitch River, at least twenty miles from the railroad bridge, with no roads. You had to go down by canoe, way in the wilderness, alone with a guide. One of my two guides had a radio. Two of us were fishing together and this guide came up and said, "There was a report on the radio that South Korea has been attacked by the North Koreans." That's the first I heard of it. So I headed down the River and got down to the bridge that crossed the river where I'd left my car. As I remember it, it's 82 miles from the bridge to Van Buren, Maine, along an almost abandoned country road. I made those 82 miles in 62 minutes and got down to Washington as quickly as I could.

I'd missed the first two days of the reaction to the Korean attack. By that time the decision had already been made to react with air and naval forces. The decision had not been made yet to use ground forces. My recollection was that there was a subcommittee of the NSC. I guess it was just called the NSC staff. We met everyday and I was representing the State Department in that NSC staff committee. The very first day the question was turned over to the Pentagon boys as to, if we were to intervene with ground forces, what would we need in that? How many divisions would we require? The

 

[263]

attack took place on Sunday. By that Wednesday the JCS came up with an estimate. If the Chinese Communists did not intervene it was merely a question of assisting the South Koreans against the North Koreans. It would take seven U.S. divisions plus so many air squadrons. If the Chinese Communists intervened it would take twelve U.S. divisions plus x or y air squadrons. You know, those estimates turned out to be exactly correct. These were given on a Wednesday when the attack took place on Sunday. So the Pentagon isn't always wrong. Sometimes they can make an estimate that is surprisingly correct. they certainly did in that instance.

MCKINZIE: Were you approving of the internationalization of that conflict; that is, the view and the tactic of taking it through the U.N.?

NITZE: I was indeed. I think I was less enthusiastic about reacting. I was deeply concerned when I got these reports on the radio and got the newspaper in Van Buren, Maine, that we were, in fact, reacting. Having done all this work with the Joint Chiefs about why it was dangerous to defend Formosa and Korea, why the perimeter was where it was and knowing the total number of divisions that we had were seven and a half at that time, and having been deeply concerned by the twelve and half billion dollar defense budget as being totally

 

[264]

inadequate, knowing why it was inadequate and what the weaknesses were in our military forces, I was, frankly, I think more concerned than almost anybody else by the decision to intervene. But the decision having been made, it was clear to me that you couldn't do it just with air and navy forces. You had to intervene on the ground. Being in it, then the question was to do it. You couldn't have second thoughts about it once the decision had been made. Then the question was one of implementation; how did you get this thing done and how did we make a success of it rather than of the disastrous consequences of the failure.

Obviously, during the early months it looked awful. When we were back against the southern tip of the peninsula, it looked as though it might really turn out to be a disaster. But, after the Inchon landing and the reversal of the thing, then the interesting problems arose. Then we, in the Policy Planning Staff, really got into that. I think we were the main people working on it. The question at issue after that Inchon landing, and its success, was what is the optimum way to capitalize upon this military victory at Inchon?

It was our view that it was dangerous just to stop at the 38th parallel and do nothing about it. That would then mean that the North Koreans could re group and that you'd be pinned down there in South Korea with

 

[265]

this enormous percentage of your military forces, for a long period of time. You couldn't get out. So, in order to be able to liberate the forces that were committed to Korea it was important to get a settlement. They wanted a settlement of some kind and it was important to get a settlement.

Then, how to get a settlement. It seemed to me and to the other members of the Policy Planning Staff that the importance of a settlement was so great that you ought to make those terms as easy for the North Koreans to accept, as possible. We had worked out some kind of a paper on this. I forget whether we had already given it to Acheson or just discussed it with Acheson. My recollection is that the ideas were pretty clear as to what was the minimum effective kind of settlement that would be acceptable. No humiliation for the North Koreans at all, but just a clear situation under which we could get our forces out of there. It was while we were discussing this and discussing it with Acheson, that General MacArthur made some kind of a speech in Korea with very strong demands against the North Koreans, which were totally contrary to the view that we were developing in the Policy Planning Staff.

By that time the South Korean forces had already crossed the 38th parallel. These things happen awfully fast after that encounter. The question at issue was

 

[266]

whether U.S. forces should also cross the 38th. I think the majority view was that the U.S. forces should stop at the narrow neck of land. These issues were all discussed with General Marshall and with the joint Chiefs of Staff. General Marshall felt just as strongly as we did. I didn't have the feeling that there was any differences of opinion between Bohlen, Acheson, Rusk, Marshall, Lovett, or I. Marshall did have a very strong feeling that it was the tradition of the American military establishment, that the Joint Chiefs of Staff tried to give as much freedom of action to the field commander as possible. It was wrong for the Joint Chiefs of Staff to specifically dictate what the field commander should do. They should make it clear what their strategic conception was, but leave it up to the field commander as to how he would implement that in detail. That's my recollection of the atmosphere. Therefore, Secretary Marshall didn't want to sign the directive that Acheson and the rest of us wanted him to sign, to order MacArthur not to go beyond the narrow neck. He suggested that instead of that he would send Joe Collins out to talk to MacArthur. I forget all the details of the ins and outs of that, but it clearly didn't work.

MCKINZIE: There was some vague wording in the U. N. resolution which covered that. Were you involved in

 

[267]

these negotiations in the U.N.?

NITZE: My recollection was that Rusk was handling the negotiations of the U.N. You see, we were all working together on this thing. There were serious differences of opinion within the Policy Planning Staff. As I remember it, Herbert Feis was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at that time. There was this question of the Chinese intervention, and with the Indian Ambassador in Peking who said that the Chinese couldn't tolerate the U.N. forces' presence on the Yalu and how seriously to take that. My recollection is vague as to the position of each member of the Policy Planning Staff. All I can recollect is what my views on the things were.

MCKINZIE: Once the decision to cross the 38th parallel had been made or once it was crossed, then this did present a whole new set of problems to you?

NITZE: Yes, because it was that entire period after the crossing of the 38th parallel and the deep concern that something was wrong. The Chinese were, in fact, behind our forces. There were five weeks between the time when there was the first evidence that the Chinese Communists might have intervened to the time they pulled the string at the Chongchon River. It was five weeks that we were getting all these messages from General Mac Arthur that everything was going fine when, in fact, from where we

 

[268]

sat it didn't look as though it was going fine. It was just dangerous as all get out. You couldn't get General Marshall to order General MacArthur to stop or to consolidate his position. He was spread out onto two different prongs with no real liaison between them. it seemed to be a horribly dangerous kind of a thing that he was up to.

It was possible to read some of the diplomatic communications from Ambassadors in Tokyo. From the reports of particularly the Spanish Ambassador and of his conversations with MacArthur, you could get a much better view of what General MacArthur really had in mind than you could from any of the communications that he sent back directly. From those communications it was perfectly clear that what MacArthur had in mind was that either he would have a complete victory in North Korea or, if the Chinese Communists got involved, then the war would be spread to the Chinese mainland as a whole and the object of the game would then be the unseating of Mao Tse tung and the restoration of Chiang Kai shek. In the course of doing that you had your nuclear weapons if you needed them. This would then enable one to do what was strategically important and that was to defeat the Chinese Communists. That was clearly what was on MacArthur's mind. Part of the reason he took these excessive risks was to create a situation in which we

 

[269]

would be involved in a war with the Chinese Communists.

Clearly, one could argue what would happen in the event we had gone down that route. I was of the firm opinion that it would turn out disastrously. You never can tell what would have happened but that was my view.

MCKINZIE: Where did this leave you in your desire to have a settlement as quick as possible? Were you still pushing for that or did you have to wait?

NITZE: You had to wait on that military campaign. The opportunity had been lost after the disaster at Chongchon and the withdrawal and the stabilization of the lines. It was my impression that that stabilization of the line really began prior to Matthew Ridgway's having been appointed as MacArthur's successor. It really was kind of a grassroots thing at the platoon and company level that the boys finally got tired of retreating and decided to stand and fight. The Chinese Communists were overextended and so it was possible to stand and fight. This wasn't a high command decision to turn and hold the line. This really occurred at a much lower level in the U.S. forces that was when the line had been re established and began to make progress again in moving up to the North. The question, then, again, arose as to what do you do the second time around, after all these horrible experiences with the first crossing

 

[270]

of the 38th parallel. Should you again strive to achieve a position at the narrow neck which was militarily the most defensible position, or should you try to establish a line from Inchon Harbor down toward the 38th on the other coast?

We were busily debating those issues with the chiefs and others when I got a telephone call from a fellow by the name of Andrew Corry, who was part of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. in New York. Corry said he wanted to come down to Washington right away to see me and did. What he had on his mind was that he'd had a conversation with [Samen K.] Tsarapkin in the lounge of the U.N. in which Tsarapkin had started off with a long and usual form of denunciation of the U.S. and its involvement in Korea. The last paragraph in his memorandum of conversation indicated that Tsarapkin had thrown out what might be a hint that the Russians would favor negotiations for an armistice. Corry's question was, is this serious or is it not? Is there anything that should be done to follow up on this?

So, I discussed this with Burt Marshall, who was on the staff, and then we took it up with Acheson and discussed it with Acheson. The three of use came to the conclusion that we should try to see whether there was something serious about this. We wanted to do it in a way which would not commit the U.S. anymore than we had

 

[271]

to be committed. We wanted to just explore as to whether the Soviets were serious. We decided that the best way of doing this was to get a hold of George Kennan, who was then at Princeton, and get George to see Jacob A. Malik who was Tsarapkin's boss, and see whether he could get from Malik any similar kind of indication that the Soviet's favored an armistice negotiation. So George did this and Malik was rather uncommittal but said he would go back to Moscow and discuss the matter with his superiors.

That seemed to me to raise the percentage chances that the Russians would really favor an armistice negotiation. If there were armistice negotiations, what should our objective be? How should we go about it? And how do we organize it? I got hold of the Chiefs and discussed it with them and they appointed Admiral Forrest Sherman to be their principal representative on this issue. Sherman and I discussed this at some length. Sherman said that he thought the thing for us to do was to go out to Korea and talk to Ridgway and his staff and get their views on how one should organize for that, and what one's objectives should be in an armistice negotiation.

It wasn't clear when we would go. Then one Saturday I was out at our farm in Maryland, in my farming clothes, and the telephone rang. It was Sherman

 

[272]

on the phone saying that he found it possible to go to Korea the next day, Sunday. He had a plane lined up and he was going to fly to Alaska and then to Tokyo and he wanted me to come with him. I said, "Well, I haven't got any money. I haven't got a passport. I haven't got any clothes."

He said, "Well, that doesn't make any difference; you just get on the plane, and we'll get there."

I said, "Well, I've got to call Acheson." So I called Acheson.

Acheson said, "Well, go ahead and do it."

So I appeared at the Navy airfield. We took off and flew to Alaska and then to Tokyo. We arrived in Tokyo, and I mingled with the crew of the plane. We got off the plane and we went to General Ridgway's. We spent a day or two with Ridgway and then flew off to Korea. We saw all the various generals and headquarters and we then flew in helicopters over the front lines.

The main fighting then was at a place called the "punch bowl." The fighting was intense and flying in a helicopter over the "punch bowl" was a very hazardous kind of thing. Then we went up to Wonsan Harbor. We were on the battleship; I guess it was the New Jersey. The North Korean guns were firing at us. Shells were flying all around the place. Then we went aboard a cruiser under Admiral Arleigh Burke. He was then a

 

[273]

captain and was in command of the gunfire support to the eastern end of the line in support of the South Korean divisions on the eastern end of the line. Burke was a very impressive fellow. The fellow who was in command of that fleet at that time was Admiral C. Turner Joy.

I remember an evening with Joy and his staff officers in which we discussed the policies that had been followed during the Korean war and why the Korean war and why the possibilities of an armistice. I think that was the first time that anybody had really given those people there a view as to the general political picture within which this all took place. But while we were in Korea during these things, Malik came back from Moscow and gave that speech at the U.N. So, then word came from Washington that Admiral Sherman and I should stay there and handle the setting up of the negotiating machinery of the armistice negotiations.

I moved over to live with Admiral Joy in Admiral Joy's house. He was kind of in command of the thing in a way. Burke was to be principal negotiator. While Sherman and Burke and Joy and I were working all these things out with daily communications to Washington, a message came that Sherman was directed to go back to Washington right away. So, Sherman leaves me there still with no money, passport or anything else. I lived there with Admiral Joy while Burke initiated the

 

[274]

negotiations.

I guess the negotiations hadn't gone on for more than a week when a message came from the State Department saying that I should go back by the first available transportation. So I got a hold of Niles Bond, who was the political advisor to General Ridgway, and Bond said there was a Pan American plane leaving in an hour and a half. He got me a ticket on it, got me an exit visa, got me on the plane, and I got to Honolulu. Then I didn't know what to do because I still didn't have my passport. I waited around there while everybody else went through the passport line, and finally a Navy type came up and took me through a back door, up to the headquarters of another Admiral who later became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. So later I got back. During that period, before I left Korea, I was living with the Joys, and while we were trying to get this armistice negotiation underway, I found that I wasn't totally occupied because most of the people were at Panmunjon .

Admiral Joy was busy with his responsibilities. The person who took me in charge was Mrs. Joy, and her great friend had been Mrs. MacArthur. She, and that entire American community, was divided between the supporters of the previous commanding officers, the MacArthur group.

 

[275]

MCKINZIE: You said that the American community was divided between the supporters of the commanders?

NITZE: That's right. Mrs. Joy was the leader of the old wing as opposed to the new wing. This was kind of an interesting period.

MCKINZIE: In that very earliest negotiation was there any indication that the prisoner issue was going to be the sticking point?

NITZE: That was clear right from the beginning that the prerequisite to any agreement was a return of our prisoners. That was obvious, but the question as to what to do with the North Koreans who did not want to return, this was the difficult issue. I'd been educated by Chip Bohlen as to the problems that had arisen immediately after World War II in Europe with respect to the return to the Soviet Union of those who did not want to return and what had happened to them. I think there were several million Russians who had been taken prisoners who were then returned, and they were shot and killed immediately thereafter. This had been a horror which shouldn't have occurred at the end of World War II. We were determined that this shouldn't happen again. So the fact that the other side would make as much of an issue of it, as they did, was probable but

 

[276]

wasn't wholly foreseen in the early part of those negotiations. But I can remember when I got back and when this issue really became serious. The Pentagon came to the conclusion that they favored conceding on the return of the North Koreans because they desperately wanted an armistice. I remember Mr. Acheson, Chip and I going over to argue this. Bob Lovett was there and Bill Foster and the chiefs and generals. I forget who was Secretary of Defense at the time; I don't know whether Marshall was still Secretary of Defense or not. There was a bitter argument on this issue, with the State Department lined up against almost everybody in the Pentagon. I remember Mr. Acheson saying, "Well, the only way to resolve this is to take it up with the President." But he said, "I feel confident that the President will back up the viewpoint that I'm taking," and Mr. Truman did. That was a very serious issue.

One could see the necessity of MacArthur's dismissal right from the period of the post Inchon landing period. From that period on it seemed to me perfectly clear that at some time Mr. Truman would have to relieve General MacArthur.

MCKINZIE: That early?

NITZE: Yes. I remember one day going in to see Mr. Acheson and saying that I had a recommendation to make. That

 

[277]

was that he, Mr. Acheson, should go over and see President Truman and recommend to Mr. Truman that he relieve General Vaughan and Ambassador to Mexico, William O'Dwyer. These were two of the President's closest buddies.

Mr. Acheson said, "My goodness, Paul, why?"

I said, "Well, it seems to me perfectly clear that President Truman will at some time, and probably fairly shortly, have to relieve General MacArthur. If he does relieve General MacArthur, this is going to be a most serious political problem. One of the attacks on Mr. Truman is going to be that he has cronies around the White House and in various important positions who themselves are not beyond reproach. In order to put himself in the best position to meet the political attacks when he relieves General MacArthur, it would seem to me to be essential that he put his own house in order to the extent that he can."

Mr. Acheson said, "Well, Paul, you know if I go over and see Mr. Truman and suggest this to him he'll just throw me out of the office."

And I said, "Well, I don't doubt that that's what he'll do, but do you disagree with my analysis? Do you disagree that Mr. Truman will eventually have to relieve General MacArthur?"

Acheson said, "No, I don't disagree with that."

 

[278]

I said, "Do you agree with me that this will then become a very serious political problem?"

He said, "No, I don't disagree."

"Do you agree with me that Mr. Truman would be in a better position to meet that, if he had relieved General Vaughan and O'Dwyer?"

He said, "Yes, he would be."

I said, "Then aren't you duty bound to make these recommendations to the President?"

Acheson said, "Damn you."

So, he went over to see Mr. Truman and Mr. Truman did throw him out of his office.

MCKINZIE: Were you advised of the Wake Island meeting with General MacArthur?

NITZE: I was indeed, yes. Do you remember that girl who took the stenographic notes. She had been Phil Jessup's secretary, but she was working with us at the Policy Planning Staff at that time. Yes, I was fully aware of all the ins and outs of that. When the time came, when the decision was made to relieve General MacArthur, I was with Mr. Acheson at the White House. General Bradley was then chairman of the Joint Chiefs and he had a Colonel Chester V. Clifton as his aide. He was a kind of public affairs officer. When Mr. Truman made the decision that he was going to relieve General MacArthur

 

[279]

he asked General Bradley to have drafted the appropriate document. Bradley suggested to Acheson that Acheson might want to nominate somebody to help on this, so I was nominated to help. Colonel Clifton and I drafted the order which Mr. Truman then used; it was the release of General MacArthur.

After General MacArthur was relieved and those hearings took place before the Senate, one of the chief issues was the issue of classification or declassification of material that Mac Arthur might think was pertinent to the hearing. The person that was finally selected to do that job of arbitrating the classification of those documents and hearings was Admiral Arthur C. Davis. Admiral Davis had earlier been chief of the Joint Staff. He was one of those I'd spent a lot of time with because whenever I'd go over to the Pentagon to get something done, I'd see Davis. My original sessions with Davis had been very tense, and with very little cooperation. Davis had taken a very dim view of me.

The cause of this disagreement between Davis and myself originated in 1950 or '51. The problem involved was the question of NATO command structure. The chiefs and the British were in deep disagreement about the command structure and the NATO structure. The British felt that the United States had far too many senior

 

[280]

posts, particularly in the Mediterranean area because we not only had the Sixth Fleet and all the command involved in the Sixth Fleet but also the command the Sixth Fleet reported to. The British felt that they had gotten the short end of the stick on the command structure in that part of the NATO structure. The chiefs didn't want to give up any of the command they had because they thought they were necessary for military effectiveness in the event war were to transpire.

Then the British came up with the idea that there should be a Middle East planning command. This would be a British command, with the assistance of the U.S. The Syrians and the Iraqis and the Egyptians were then all very friendly to the British. This would be kind of a planning structure where Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi defense plans could be coordinated. John Ferguson was working with the Middle East boys and with the JCS on this project. He came in to talk to me about it. He was enthusiastic about it. I had a question, and that was, supposing the command structure was created, what would the plans be? We couldn't be a member of a planning organization unless we had soma idea of what the plan would be about. Fergie said they hadn't really discussed it that much; that the British were most involved in this and he assumed that they had some

 

[281]

ideas ."

I said, "Well, before the U.S. gets itself involved, the U.S. has got to know something about this."

I went over to see Admiral Davis and said that this question has arisen and would he please tell me what the Chiefs of the Joint Staff's views were on this prospective planning in the defense of the Middle East.

He said, "Well, we don't have any plans."

I said, "Why not?

He said, "It's an area of British responsibility."

I said, "Well, that may be so but I presume that you know what the British planning ideas are."

He said, "No, we don't."

I said, "Well, under those circumstances it seems clear to me that we cannot participate in a planning organization without having any idea as to what kind of plans are going to be discussed. In the long run we'll be the ones who'll have to pay the check and unless we know what this potential commitment is, I don't think we ought to have anything to do with this. I'll go back and tell Mr. Acheson what the situation is and I'm sure that he'll say this whole concept in the Middle East planning command is off."

And Davis said, "Well, wait a minute."

In those days, we operated by colored teams. Names

 

[282]

of different colors worked on different projects. The purple team happened to be, at that moment, discussing the question of the Middle East with a delegation from the British Chiefs of Staff. So he brought in the purple team, and they had been discussing Middle East planning with the British. The British had a plan called Plan Ramsis II.

I asked what the substance of the plan was. The substance of the plan was that, in the event of any kind of threat to the Middle East, all British forces in the Middle East would retire to Suez City. I said, "Well, good God, you can't have a planning organization in the Middle East in which the Egyptians, Syrians and the Iraqis are members where the plan is going to be the most rapid withdrawal of all forces to Suez City, leaving everybody exposed. What kind of a political thing is that? The British haven't got any forces that are capable of anything more than possible defense of the Suez. We can't send any forces."

So, then we had some long arguments with the chiefs as to whether or not the plan contemplated a capability on the part of the United States to be able to transport and use forces in the Middle East. Collins was dead against it. He said, "The Army's over committed as it is and to have this additional commitment is something I just can't approve of."

 

[283]

So the upshot was that this Middle Eastern planning idea was killed; it would have been disastrous. But from that point, Admiral Davis and I began to work more closely together. one time, I remember, shortly after that, he said, "You know, you're the first civilian that I've ever thought spoke the truth."

I said, "Where did that phrase 'spoke truth' come from?"

He said, "Well, when I was at Annapolis in the Naval academy there was a society, and still is, called the 'green ring' society. I was a member of the green ring society. It was the view of us members of the green ring society, that only members of the green ring society spoke truth. The other plebes in Annapolis did not necessarily speak truth and one couldn't rely on it. After we graduated from the Naval Academy and I was exposed to the Army and the Air Force, I then came to the conclusion that Navy people spoke truth but not the Army and the Air Force."

And he said, "Then you know after a period of years of working in various commands, being exposed to State Department and other civilian types, I came to the conclusion that the military spoke truth and not civilians."

He said, "Goddamn it, you've made me change even that point. There are civilians who speak truth."

 

[284]

MCKINZIE: So he was helpful then when it came to the classification argument?

NITZE: Very helpful and did an absolutely superb job. He was very competent.

One of the repercussions of the attack by the North Koreans into South Korea was concern in Europe that the previous reliance upon the U. S. nuclear monopoly, for the defense of Europe, was no longer valid, as it had been. I think it is to be emphasized that during that crucial period, the spring of 1947, there was this switch of the majority from the belief that the U.K., the U.N., and the continuation of a wartime alliance with the U.S.S.R. was the answer to all of our problems. It was realized that the United States had to play a role with its power in the world. During that period, the emphasis was upon economic and political methods.

The main reliance for the defense against military expansion by the Communist bloc was upon the U.S. nuclear monopoly. Therefore, very little was done to strengthen U.S. or other forces in Europe or in the Far East or any place else or even domestically. The emphasis was upon economic and political means, with some support of military assistance in Greece and Turkey for instance. But then with the attack of the North Koreans on the South Koreans, all this became not only

 

[285]

dubious in our minds in Washington, but also to some extent dubious in the minds of the statesmen in Europe. They began to be worried about the possibility of military aggression by Moscow against Europe itself. It was in 1950 that this became a fairly acute issue in the fall. George Perkins was the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs at that time. After having gone to Europe, he came back and said, "The confidence that the Europeans had in the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty guarantee" there wasn't any North Atlantic Treaty organization at that time "was becoming somewhat eroded. The Europeans were uncertain and unhappy, and this was having a bad political effect in Europe. We really ought to address ourselves to the problem of European defense beyond just reliance on the U.S. nuclear monopoly."

It was in 1949 that we began to think about the possibility of a military assistance program. I remember going to England to look into this problem. At that time, the Europeans had organized the Brussels pact. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had sent over a military mission to talk to the British about their defense requirements. That Pentagon team was over there in England at the time that I got over there to look into this question.

I looked up this team who were in London and talked

 

[286]

to them about the problem. What they told me was that initially the British had felt they could rely upon the English Channel for their own defense. But they became worried about the radar problem. In the Battle of Britain they'd been able, through radar on the coast of England, to identify the German planes when they came over. This enabled them to finally win the Battle of Britain. This was the first and the most primitive form of radar. But as they considered the problem with modern planes and faster planes, it seemed to them essential for the defense of England to have radar on the continent, to give them enough warning time so that they could scramble their planes and intercept these faster planes which were now in the realm of technology. So that from a position of the British relying on the English Channel and its traditional defense, they began to feel an interest in defense on the continent a forward defense. Then in contemplating what might be required in order to have any kind of a defense, a forward defense, the requirements turned out to be very large indeed. As I remember it, that team had what they called "identified requirements" for something on the order of 25 billion dollars worth of military equipment.

We had talked about this problem of a military assistance program for Europe in Washington. It was our

 

[287]

view that in this case we did take into account what seemed to be the realm of the possible as far as Congress was concerned. We came to the view that a program in excess of a billion or a billion and a half dollars a year would be too much. The maximum we could expect to get approved would be of the order of magnitude of a billion to a billion and a half. I suggested to this team that rather than coming in with the requirements for 25 billion dollars worth of hardware, tanks, trucks, guns, and artillery, that what they really ought to address was what could be done with something of the order of magnitude of a billion dollars a year. They then tried to identify which parts of the program had the highest priority.

They sent back a telegram doing exactly that. Then, I got back to Washington, and we tried to work this up into a legislative proposal for a European military assistance program. I have an idea that all of that was prior to the outbreak of war in Korea. During the Korean war this became a much more important project. I forget how big that original request was, for European military assistance in 1950 '51, but four billion dollars crosses my mind. This was one of the strands of concern for conventional defense on the continent of Europe.

MCKINZIE: Did you have any discussions at that time with

 

[288]

Milton Katz or anyone else who was involved with the European Recovery Program?

NITZE: I did. I used to go over quite frequently to Europe and talk to all those aid program fellows over there. I think they were sympathetic to the fact that economic tools were not enough.

I can remember those initial discussions about the NATO idea. Bob Lovett was very much interested in that project, as was Acheson. I think that my original recollection of the discussions about the NATO project was when Acheson wasn't there, when Lovett was really master minding the thing. At that time the principal argument was an argument as to whether or not the concept should be what was called the Dumbbell concept. In other words, the European part of NATO would be considered as one ball of the dumbbell. The U.S. and Canada would be considered as the other ball of the dumbbell. The NATO treaty would be considered as the bar joining these two balls together. The opposing concept was the concept of one for all and all for one.

I can remember discussing this with Bob Lovett. I think George Kennan was rather on the side of the one for all, all for one concept. I was rather on the side of the one for all, all for one concept. The final work out of the thing was: one for all and all for one. But this was really, in essence, a political commitment on

 

[289]

the part of the United States and Canada to come to the support of Europe of European nations if they were attacked. It was needed because occupation forces that we had left in Germany were quite small; that is, one division, plus a constabulary. And the British didn't have much in their zone of occupation and the French didn't have much. It was totally inadequate really to defend against the military force which the Russians could put into place.

The Russians had not demobilized the same way that we demobilized in 1945 '46. We adopted the point system where we took the guts out of every unit, that everybody who had a given number of points, determined by expertise and length of service, was released. The people with the high points were all out early returned and demobilized. The only people left in the service were those who had no expertise and no experience. You couldn't man a battleship, you couldn't man an aircraft carrier, you couldn't man an airwing. We couldn't even conduct maneuvers with the kind of forces we had. The Russians took the other view of maintaining the combat efficiency of their forces. They reduced their size, but they maintained the combat efficiency of what they had. Clearly that had a much greater effect than our effort. But what to do about all this was clearly one of the crucial issues of policy.

 

[290]

The analysis of NSC-68 had led to the conclusion that in addition to doing what we thought was necessary in the nuclear field, we should also devote primary attention to increasing our conventional capabilities. Over time you could see that the Russian nuclear capabilities would approximate ours, at which time there'd be a virtual standoff. It would really be, in essence, a protective umbrella against nuclear attack, but would not be a real umbrella against conventional attack. Therefore, you had to have conventional capabilities to meet and detour the possibility of conventional attack.

Well, in addition to the NATO strand and the military assistance strand, the question arose as to whether you didn't need some kind of a military organization to command NATO forces in the event there was an attack, and coordinate the planning in it during peacetime. The chiefs were for that idea. I guess we in the State Department were for that idea. But the chiefs said that they wouldn't get into this venture unless there was a supreme allied NATO commander, who would be a U.S. General. We would have to put in the major portion of the assets. Therefore, the Joint Chiefs felt that an American General should be in command. Secondly, they felt that for a defense on the continent to be successful, it would have to be in

 

[291]

Germany and it would be much better if it could be east of the Rhine rather than at the Rhine. If it were to be east of the Rhine they couldn't see how this was feasible without a German contribution to the NATO defense.

As I said earlier, even at this time, our attitude toward Germany was somewhat confused. It wasn't the same as it is now. There was still a very substantial degree of attribution of responsibility for the Hitler regime to the German people, not just to the Hitler regime. This was true not only in the United States but in France and England and Belgium and Holland as well. The question of a German contribution was a highly controversial subject. This wasn't really discussed seriously in my recollection, until the summer of 1950.

But then it had to be seriously considered if you were going to have any kind of a conventional defense on the continent of Europe. The chiefs wouldn't go along with the command structure unless this were a part of it. In those days there was Frank Nash who had worked for the Secretary of Defense in a civilian capacity doing functions which are now handled by ISA (International Security Affairs). ISA hadn't yet been created. The person on the Joint Staff who was most seriously seized of these problems was a Colonel, later General, Royden E. Beebe. So the people that I worked

 

[292]

with most closely on this issue were Frank Nash and General Beebe. We finally worked out a package which included a German contribution of between six and twelve divisions, as I remember it; the appointment of General Eisenhower as commander in chief of NATO forces; and a command structure with all the various parts of it. Subsequently I've tried to find in the Pentagon records of any kind, or in the State Department any records of any kind, of these initial discussions of the NATO organization and the German contribution and command structure. There are no such papers. This was all done our way and largely done between Beebe, Nash and myself. Beebe and Nash worked with the Defense Department and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I was working with Acheson and Perkins and the European part of the European Bureau.

The problem involved was that of how did you break this news to the British and French and get their concurrence there, too. I can remember meetings in Acheson's office in which we discussed this. Acheson finally came to the conclusion that he would raise this question at a tripartite type meeting to be held between the British and the French and ourselves in New York, in the fall or late summer of 1950. At that meeting [John] McCloy was present, who was then high commissioner in Germany, and we discussed all these matters. After this

 

[293]

meeting it turned out that McCloy had scheduled an off-the-record press briefing; at that meeting it was very clear that this was off the record. One of these press fellows asked McCloy the question, "If there were to be a NATO military organization and if there were to be a German contribution thereto, how many German divisions would you think would be appropriate?"

He said, "Six to twelve."

This was too hot an item of news for the press to hold. My recollection is that the Star published an article based upon this off the record press conference. T hat Star article hit the press after [Robert] Schuman, who was then the French Foreign minister, had boarded his flight to go to New York for this tripartite meeting. Ernest Bevin was the British Foreign minister at that time, and he had either just left or was about to leave. In any case, they read all this on their way over to this meeting in New York.

They were absolutely incensed that they hadn't been consulted in advance, and that this thing was broken by the press in this way, and that they were informed by an article in the Star of what was in our minds. Then we had a series of meetings trying to figure out how to overcome this tactical gaff and horrid situation that we were in. Acheson decided that the only thing to do was to be perfectly frank with him about what was in our

 

[294]

minds and tell them the whole story. Just before we left for New York to go to this meeting, I remember opening my trap and saying, "One of the questions that is bound to come up is about the costs of this and the equitable sharing of the costs. I think the British and the French will be in favor of such a NATO organization and that there will be the problem as to whether they can afford to do what is necessary and whether we won't have to make a disproportionate financial contribution to the cost." I asked Mr. Acheson, "What do you propose to do in the event either Mr. Eden or Mr. Schuman raise this question at this meeting in New York?"

Acheson said, "Well that's easy." He said, "What I'll do is to suggest the appointment of a subcommittee to look into this matter and I will suggest, Paul, that you chair this."

So we got up to New York and had this meeting in the Waldorf Towers. On the second day of the discussion either Schuman or Bevin raised this question of what came to be called "burden sharing." Acheson said, "Well, I propose that we appoint a subcommittee to look into this question tonight and then we can talk about it again tomorrow on the basis of what they've proposed. I will nominate Nitze as my representative." Bevin nominated Oliver Franks, and Schuman nominated Herve Alphand .

 

[295]

So the three of us then got together after dinner and tried to figure out what to recommend. We argued this thing backward and forward and finally came up with a recommendation for a burden sharing exercise, where a continuing group would look at all the factors that bore upon what would be the proper allocation of costs; and the improper costs or higher than average costs would somehow or other be shared amongst others. That exercise was called the "burden sharing exercise." I think in the vernacular it was called the "Nitze exercise" because I was chairman of the committee that had worked out this proposal. That turned out to be a terribly difficult job because all kinds of factors geographic, military, political, economic bore upon what would be an equitable sharing of the burden. It is my recollection that some thousands of people from the U.S., England, France, and Germany worked on this thing for a period of years. They didn't make much progress. Finally it was decided to create a committee of "wisemen." The three wisemen, and Averell Harriman was the U.S. representative, tried to find soma kind of a compromise through this wilderness. I frankly never had anything much to do with this after that one initial night.

MCKINZIE: At that initial meeting, did anyone envision such problems as did come up? Such problems, for example, as

 

[296]

that posed by the French when they suggested that since they had greater productive capacity in some areas (fabrication, and certain kinds of weapons) that they should, as part of their contributions, make them; but they should be paid for by the Italians, the Belgians and the Dutch.

NITZE: I remember one of the points that Oliver raised was that it wasn't just the members of the NATO alliance who would benefit from a reasonable defense, but also Australia, New Zealand and others beyond. There really should be a Commonwealth contribution as well as a contribution from the NATO countries. Now, that idea I don't think ever did get anywhere because not a member of the NATO organization was about to contribute to NATO defense of the Commonwealth. But this does stick in my mind.

MCKINZIE: What did the French say about German participation in it?

NITZE: The French were really quite concerned about the whole idea of a German participation, not just the burden sharing part. They were concerned about the traditional problems of their relative military strength vis a vis the Germans. They did not buy off on Acheson's suggestion to go along the way we proposed to go along. They finally came up with the European

 

[297]

Defense Community.

After that meeting in New York, it was perfectly clear they had a very real problem here. We, in the Policy Planning Staff, addressed ourselves to the problem and decided that perhaps you needed to have the general revision of the NATO treaty to make that thing work correctly. The person on the staff to whom I assigned the task of working full time at it was Bob Tufts. Bob Tufts finally came up with a fairly radical plan which provided that, with respect to certain types of obligation, there was a requirement of unanimity. In other words, to interpret a given type of attack as a real attack you'd have to have unanimity on the part of the NATO members. Certain other kinds of decisions would have to be passed by unanimous consent. But, with respect to certain other types of decisions, you'd have weighted voting. As I remember, we had three different types of decisions with different procedures. I guess that the first class of decisions was imbedded in the treaty the obligation to take appropriate action in defense of all and was not subject to further decision. That required unanimity of decision. Then there were those decisions which could be made by weighted voting. Because if you were going to have a military structure which really worked you didn't want it to be frustrated by the requirements of unanimity comparable to the

 

[298]

"librium veto" which made the Polish state ungovernable.

Then there was another tripartite meeting in London some months later. At that meeting the French presented the Schuman plan. We put Bob Tufts on a plane to meet Acheson in London and gave to him this Policy Planning Staff document which had our latest ideas on how to work the thing out. On the way to London, Acheson had stopped in Paris and had seen Schuman. Schuman had discussed with him his plan. Therefore, Acheson thought that time had gone by for this revised scheme of ours. One would have to give run to the Schuman plan and let Schuman present it before we came in with an amended plan. That amended plan never did see the light of day. In fact, I doubt very much whether anybody else except Bob Tufts and I recollect this plan.

This whole strand of various influences which went into the NATO organization, the military assistance program for Europe, was a very complicated strand that went through this entire period.

MCKINZIE: Recently, someone analyzed the problems of NATO in the following way. I wonder if you might comment on it. The criticism was that the United States had not handled the development of NATO forces in the way that it handled the development of an economic program for recovery. Namely, in the case of economic recovery the

 

[299]

United States proposed that there was a problem. The Europeans then, themselves, examined it, and determined that, in fact, the United States was right; there was a problem. Then they came up with a solution, or participated fully in the solution to the problem. but in the case of NATO, this analysis has it, the United States was the one which premised the nature of the problem, but in that case did not turn it over to the Europeans for examination. They did not themselves determine that there was a military need and so the United States as a result had to carry the ball more in the case of NATO than in the case of European recovery. The conclusion was, of course, that NATO planning was in error. The Europeans should have been more brought into it from the beginning.

NITZE: I think there's some substance to this argument but less than would appear. In the Marshall Plan certainly all the cosmetics were as your commentator says. But, in fact, the U.S. did play the leading role all through the Marshall Plan. The U.S. leaned over backwards to try to handle the cosmetics so it had the appearance of full equality and full cooperation and collaboration. The thing that made it difficult, in the case of the NATO military organization, to handle the same way, was that you had this intense negotiation, within the U.S. Government, with the JCS-Pentagon as to the conditions

 

[300]

under which they would participate in such a venture. When you've got a negotiation within the government as well as outside, you don't have the same flexibility to deal as intelligently with the cosmetics of it as you would if you didn't have this internal problem. I think this was really what the problem was about.

During this same period there were concerns about Indo-China. The French were beginning to get into deep difficulties in Indo-China. I believe it was the same NATO meeting at which the Schuman plan was discussed that the question of Indo-China came up. Much of the French effort at that time was being devoted to their problems in Indo-China. We had discussed the matter at some length in Washington before we went to that London meeting. I, in particular, had discussed it with the Joint staff. To my mind the issue revolved about the same old issue that existed in General MacArthur's day. That was, that, in the event of another military engagement in the Far East in which Communist China might be on the other side, what should the objectives be? Should the objectives be the unseating of Mao Tse tung and the Communists? Or, should the objective be a limited objective of merely restoring the status quo ante, for instance, in Indo-China? The Pentagon, rather, had the view that if we were to come to the support of the French in Indo-China and the Chinese

 

[301]

Communists were to intervene, then the objective should be a limited objective and that is merely to maintain the position in Indo-China. At this London meeting the question was raised by the French about their problem in Indo-China. Wasn't there some way in which the U.S. and the U.K. could help them in Indo-China, because that was really necessary for the French to be in a position to have enough military force in Europe not to be scared of the Germans. These things interrelate.

Again a subcommittee was appointed. It was Sammy Hood who represented the British and Herve Alphand again represented the French. Two people were nominated to represent the U. S. Frank Nash and I . Frank Nash was the representative of the Department of Defense. The four of us met together to try to work out this Indo-China problem. We finally did work out a formula, which we recommended to the three foreign ministers present, that did deal with the question of what the objective should be in the event of intervention by the Chinese Communists. Frank Nash and I recommended that the U.S. agree that the objectives should be limited to Indo-China and that together with the French we were prepared to work out a joint planning command in which the British and ourselves would participate in Indo-China.

We did work up this paper and submitted it to Acheson, Bevin, and Schuman. They said that this was

 

[302]

too important a matter for them to decide there, that they would recommend it to their Government. It required Governmental confirmation for it to be a real agreement. The British and French then communicated with us that they approved of this deal.

In the meantime, Acheson and Nash went off to the Lisbon meeting and I went straight back to Washington. I took this up with the Joint Chiefs, and the Joint Chiefs wouldn't agree to this. Then when Acheson and Nash came back, I tried to get them to agree to it or to get it rehashed so we could get an agreement to it, and it never was agreed. This proposal which was tentatively agreed at this London meeting never was confirmed by the U.S. It was confirmed by the other two governments. I don't remember what happened next on this, but I remember that I failed to persuade the joint staff and the chiefs that this was the right thing to do.

To continue on this same theme of the interrelationships between the Chinese problems and other problems: This thing came up again after the inaugural. President Eisenhower received a letter from Charlie Wilson, who headed the General Electric Company (not the "General Motors" Charlie Wilson), in which Charlie extolled General Eisenhower's virtues as being literally closer to anything that had been seen in the

 

[303]

world since Christ. If only the Russian people could be exposed to the generosity and the wisdom of General Eisenhower's ideas, then peace would be obtainable. This letter was dealt with by Eisenhower's staff and he took a look at it and was very much complimented. He said, "Well, shouldn't somebody really examine as to whether one couldn't do something with Charlie Wilson's idea?"

It was decided in the White House that C.D. Jackson who was on the White House staff, Emmett Hughes who was handling public affairs and speechwriting for President Eisenhower, Chip Bohlen and I should address ourselves to Charlie Wilson's idea. So the four of us met together and decided that we needed a first draft. There wasn't anything to discuss until somebody tried his hand at drafting something. C.D. Jackson, who was closest to Eisenhower of this group, put his mind to this and he produced three or four drafts, none of which appealed to the other three of us. C.D. got annoyed at us and said, "Well, if you won't give house room to anything that I prepare, Chip, why don't you try your hand at it?"

So, Chip Bohlen wrote a couple of drafts and the other three of us didn't like his drafts. It was then assigned to Emmett Hughes and Emmett wrote four or five drafts. The other two, by this time, had gotten bored

 

[304]

with this, so it was only Emmett and I who were really belaboring the problem at that point. I didn't like many things in Emmett's drafts as they emerged and so finally Emmett said, "Well, Paul, you try it."

So, I wrote I guess the ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth drafts. About this time John Foster Dulles went off on vacation. He wasn't in Washington, and Bedell Smith was Acting Secretary of State. Finally, Emmett decided that the draft was in shape so that the President should look at it. The President decided to have a meeting on Sunday morning at 11 o'clock at the White House. Those who were to be present were Bedell Smith and I, and Milton Eisenhower and Emmett Hughes, and that was the totality of the group. We'd go over this draft of the speech which President Eisenhower was scheduled to give before the American Society of Newspaper Editors on the following Tuesday, and this was Sunday. I remember receiving instructions to go to the front door of the White House and be there at 11. I was there at 11 and the doorman said, "Yes, you're expected; take the elevator to the right of the front door and go straight ahead."

I got into the elevator and I went straight ahead. There was President Eisenhower's bedroom. There he was with Mamie and he was stripped to the buff, or at least in his underdrawers. And Mamie said, "You're in the

 

[305]

wrong room; you go out and down the corridor to the Oval Room on the second floor." So, I disappeared quickly. It turned out that President Eisenhower had been to some meeting at the Pan American Union and he was in a cutaway. He decided the heck with the cutaway, and he was changing out of the cutaway into more informal clothes. He then came and joined the rest of us, who by that time, had assembled. President Eisenhower went through this speech, sentence by sentence, making grammatical suggestions and changes of words here, there, and the other place. Milton then began to address himself to the structure of this sentence and that sentence and the other sentence. Then Bedell Smith said that he didn't think that was the way to go at it; that the way to go at it was to read the speech from the standpoint of its substance, its content, and discuss its substantive content. President Eisenhower said, "All right." So, he read it through very carefully and he said, "Well, you know I find this all right, but you know it isn't what John Foster Dulles has been telling me I should say."

I said, "Yes, that's quite right. Some of these ideas are in conflict with what I believe to be John Foster Dulles' ideas and in particular, one important point. I know that it is John Foster Dulles' view that we should not accept an armistice in Korea without

 

[306]

concurrently getting a commitment from the Chinese Communists that they will not support the guerrillas in Indo-China. This speech does not make that demand."

The speech was entitled "The Chances for Peace." It took the view that prior requirements for improvement in relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were: (a) an armistice in Korea, (b) a peace treaty with Austria, and (c) an improvement in relations vis a vis Berlin and Germany. If these three things could be one, then there was a great prospect for a relaxation of tensions and all kinds of good things could happen, including a substantial reduction in military expenditures and a substantial increase in aid to the underdeveloped world. But it was on this point of a commitment by the Chinese Communists that they would not support the guerrillas of the Hanoi regime, the Ho Chi Minh regime, that success hinged.

I said that I thought that it was of greater importance to get a Korean armistice and to get on this path. One couldn't aspire to a Korean armistice linked to a commitment by the Chinese Communists not to support Ho Chi Minh, unless one were prepared to greatly increase our military effort in Korea. By virtue of the Morningside agreement, which President Eisenhower had made with Senator Taft that there would be a reduction of five billion dollars a year on the defense budget, I

 

[307]

saw no prospect of prudently increasing our effort in Korea without gravely damaging our overall security position. Therefore, I didn't see any prospect of getting on this kind of road at all, if one were to continue to link this Indo-China business that Foster Dulles was advocating. Bedell Smith spoke up and he said, "Well, I agree with Paul, not with Foster."

Then Milton and President Eisenhower said, "Well, we're prepared to go along with that." So, the speech was approved. There was this lurking doubt as to how Foster Dulles would react to all this. As the result of that concern Livingston Merchant was sent to Ottawa with a copy of the speech in his pocket, as Foster was returning to Washington via Ottawa. He showed it to Foster on the plane flying back from Ottawa on Monday. Foster took a very dim view of the speech. But by that time, time had run out. The President was going to give the speech on Tuesday. Foster didn't have time, really, to reargue all the points involved.

Emmett Hughes rode in the car with him to wherever this speech was being given by President Eisenhower. Emmett told me afterwards that the President said he felt unhappy about giving this speech. The question then in Hughes' mind was whether the reason the President felt unhappy about giving this speech was that he felt ill. It was at that speech that he first

 

[308]

developed those symptoms of whatever problem he had in his intestines. Or was he unhappy because he wasn't certain that the line was correct. In any case, he delivered the speech with some degree of unhappiness about it. I think it was the most successful speech that the President gave and had the most dramatic results. This was just after Stalin died and Malenkov took over. Malenkov's position in the Soviet Union was somewhat uncertain and he was rather leaning toward a less Stalinesque role. So, I think it did contribute to the Korean armistice that was finally signed and to the Russians agreeing to the Austrian peace treaty. It clearly did not carry on to any real improvement in the relations in Germany or vis a vis Berlin. That part of it did not mature. But the first two steps did mature.

 

[309]

Fifth Oral History Interview with Paul Nitze, Northeast Harbor, Maine, August 6, 1975. Interview conducted by Richard D. McKinzie, University of Missouri Kansas City.

NITZE: Back in the ' 30s when I was in Dillon, Read & Company and Mr. [James] Forrestal was President of Dillon, Read & Company, one of our clients was the Texas Oil Company. In those days the Texas Oil Company had its major production in the Gulf Coast area, but it had a worldwide distribution system and it sold oil products which were refined on the Gulf Coast, in Europe and in the Far East and various other places in competition with Standard Oil of New Jersey and Standard Oil of New York. For a while this business was a perfectly proper business because the base price of oil and oil products was based upon freight rates from the Gulf and therefore they were not at a competitive disadvantage. Then during the '30s, the Standard Oil Company of California, which had a lease arrangement in Bahrain, got a lease on this acreage in Saudi Arabia. Very large oil deposits were found in Saudi Arabia. The Standard Oil of California had no marketing organization in the world. It had a marketing organization in California and other parts of the United States, but not in the rest of the world. What we proposed to the Texas Oil Company was that they should make an arrangement with Standard Oil of California by which they would form Cal Tex. This would consolidate the Texaco marketing organization with

 

[310]

the foreign oil production of Standard Oil of California. Otherwise, Standard Oil of California would have had to go into the expensive business of developing a worldwide marketing organization or Texaco would have had to, somehow or another, get itself into the foreign oil discoveries both of which things would have been very expensive. This way you put the two together and the thing was a success right from the very beginning.

When we were working out that deal with Texas Oil (subsequently, they were called Texaco and Standard Oil of California), the geologist, who certified and who was the great expert on oil reserves, was a man by the name of [Everett Lee] DeGolyer. DeGolyer came to be the world's great expert on the extent of how you measure an oil reserve, with seismology and things of that kind. DeGolyer was the first one who became persuaded as to the vast extent of Middle East oil reserves. So from that time on I think both Forrestal and I were wholly aware of what the long term situation would be in the oil business. In addition to Texas Oil we had a lot of oil clients. Union Oil of California, what became Skelly oil and then Getty Oil, they were clients of ours; also [clients were] Shell Oil and various other oil companies. We did business with lots of them. DeGolyer was the world's recognized expert. He worked very closely with them on a lot of things. So I think

 

[311]

we were as knowledgeable about the oil business as most non oil people.

Then, just toward the end, in '45 or '46, I remember talking to Forrestal about the Middle Eastern situation. He had again been in touch with DeGolyer and was again persuaded of the long range importance of these long range oil reserves, and believed that these would be, at some time, essential to the economy of the West. So, at the time of the Balfour Resolution and our commitments to the new State of Israel, Jim was very much concerned about the effect that would have upon our relations with the Arab states. So was Loy Henderson.

I remember talking to Loy Henderson and Jim Forrestal independently and they were upset by the policy being followed by Mr. Truman. They felt that Mr. Truman was being excessively influenced by the Jewish contributors to the Democratic Party campaign. Of course, this has been a consistent threat in U.S. policy since. It has been a conflict between the long range economic interests in the United States and the immediate political interests and minority interests, particularly of the Jewish community in the United States. I think no president has been able to resolve it very satisfactorily.

Then, the next episode that comes to my mind was in 1946 when I became deputy director of the office of

 

[312]

International Trade Policy. One of the divisions within that office was an office which dealt with raw materials, basic materials. It had a small section which dealt with oil problems. There was a man by the name of Akins in that division, who was a very competent man and had been there for a long period of time. Also, another man who was in the division was Walter Levy who was an extraordinarily competent person. He was a German refugee. He'd gone to England first and then had come to the United States during the war. He'd been part of OSS, as I remember, the Office of Strategic Services. He had, in particular, concentrated upon, or been assigned, the job of trying to find out everything that he could about German oil production and the location of the German synthetic oil production plants. Being a refugee from Germany, he knew the German system very well.

He knew that the most conservative organization in Germany was the Reichsbahn organization which was the state owned railways. They were the epitome of a bureaucracy. They had very strict regulations. He was persuaded that the Reichsbahn would be the least adaptable to the necessities of wartime conditions, so he got a hold of a Reichsbahn freight schedule manual through Switzerland. He found, lo and behold, the Reichsbahn did quote rates for the transport of oil from

 

[313]

all kinds of odd locations to other odd locations. By virtue of the Reichsbahn schedule he located all the German synthetic oil plants. He also found that they quoted the rate for crude oil from an obscure town in Holland. He suggested to the Air Force that they send some planes over and take a look at this place and lo and behold they found that there were oil wells there. This was the first way we discovered where this big oilfield in Holland was, which was helping the Germans get the oil that they needed. This is how Walter got to be an expert in the oil business, through his intelligence work during World War II. Then he came and joined us in this office. Akins and he and I were the ones who were principally seized of the question of the inter relationships between the commercial oil problems and the national interests as it was seen from the State Department viewpoint.

Then in 1946, as I remember it, maybe it was in the spring of 1947, a difficult problem arose because Standard Oil of New Jersey and the Mobil Oil Company were both participants in the Iraq Petroleum Company, along with British Petroleum and a French company. This Iraq Petroleum Company had been originally organized through the promotion of Calouste Sartis Gulbenkian who was a great Armenian promoter in the World War I days. Part of the Iraq petroleum arrangement had been an

 

[314]

agreement called the "red line agreement," under which the participants in the Iraq Petroleum Company agreed that they would not participate in any other Middle Eastern oil developments without the other partners coming in on an equal basis.

In 1947 it became clear that the Saudi Arabian deposits were much larger than the Iraqi deposits or anybody else's deposits and that the marketing capacity of Cal Tex, which had been formed to take off the oil from what had originally been the Standard Oil of California concession, was too small a percentage of the market to really do that profitably. Standard Oil and Mobil didn't have enough crude oil production outside of the United States to satisfy their international market; so both were very desirous to take advantage of the large Saudi Arabian deposits. All of these companies, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Mobil Oil and Texaco, all felt that the proper arrangement was to form Aramco [a consortium] with the participation of Standard Oil and of Mobil. You would then balance supply with demand on a more effective basis. But there was this red line agreement which would have necessitated the participation also of the French company and of British Petroleum and Dutch Shell Company, which they didn't want to do. It really took the approval of the British Government, which had a

 

[315]

controlling interest in British Petroleum, and of the French Government which had a controlling interest in this French company, in order to amend the red line agreement. This became a matter of inter-governmental negotiations as well as just inter company negotiation.

We were seized of this problem as to what position the U.S. Government should take with respect to this negotiation. Akin's and my view was that it would be better if there were continued competition between the offtakers from Iraq Petroleum and the offtakers from the Saudi Arabian production. A better solution would be for Standard Oil of New Jersey to participate with Standard Oil of California and Texaco in the Aramco and to sell this interest of the Iraq Petroleum to Mobil so Mobil would have only the offtake from Iraq; and Standard wouldn't have any takeoff from Iraq. Then there would be competition between those who were offtaking from Iraq and those who were offtaking from Saudi Arabia. Will Clayton and Dean Acheson decided, no, they thought it was better to support the proposal the companies themselves had worked it out. Then there followed long inter company and inter governmental negotiations and particularly difficult negotiations with Gulbenkian. Finally an amendment to the red line agreement was worked out and this was the basis on which Aramco, in its later form, was created.

 

[316]

During those days there was a good deal of discussion about the arrangements between the offtakers and the companies themselves. There was another man in the office of International Trade Policy, whose name I now forget, who felt strongly that over a period of twenty, thirty, or forty years, these arrangements would all tend to be changed in favor of the sovereign countries in whose territory the oil was being produced. It was just a matter of time until this would happen. I can remember long discussions on these issues at the time.

MCKINZIE: There had to be some commitment on the part of the U.S. Government for steel for the building of the pipeline too, did there not? As I recall, that was built at a time when steel was in short supply, and there had to be some priority given to production of those pipes.

NITZE: I don't think that was necessary to the original development. I think the big demand for steel was when the tapline was built. That line went across to the Mediterranean. But that was later, as I remember. I don't remember there having been that kind of a problem during the original negotiations about the red line agreement.

The next episode that crosses my mind about the oil

 

[317]

problem had to do with the Marshall plan. One of the important requirements of Europe was an adequate supply of oil. Some of that oil had to come from the American majors and be financed through the Marshall plan. I can remember the sessions before that Taber subcommittee when all those scheduled, with respect to the oil requirements of Europe, were gone over. I can remember Mr. [John] Taber and Mr. [Richard B.] Wigglesworth being very contemptuous of Walter Levy who was my expert and who was testifying to all these figures. At one point, I can remember Taber turning on Walter Levy, being certain in his mind that the estimates we had for Dutch oil production were wholly incorrect. Taber said, "I'm certain that Holland can't have that much oil production."

Walter Levy said, "This is their oil production."

Taber said, "Well, how many wells do they have and where are they?"

Walter said, "Well, they have thirty two wells; they are located exactly here on the map. They are such and such diameter. They produce so and so a day."

He knew it all to the last detail and in part due to the fact that he'd been interested in that particular oil field during his intelligence days. But that persuaded Taber and Wigglesworth that Walter Levy, despite his German Jewish accent, knew his business in

 

[318]

this oil business.

Then Walter came to me one day. I think Walter's grade in the State Department was a P-7. I know he was getting $11,000 a year. He said that he hated to leave because he was fairly interested in the work that we were on in the State Department and particularly this oil business, but he had a family and he had children and thought he could set up an independent consulting firm and that he'd be able to make ends meet that way. He did set up an independent consulting firm and in no time at all everybody was at his door to tap his expertise. This included various governments, the Venezuelan Government, and the Saudi Arabian Government, and various other people. He had a difficult time working out his conflict of interest problems so that everybody knew he was giving objective advice, which he was very careful to do. Walter had been, I think, the most successful oil expert you could find.

He wasn't with us when Mossadegh nationalized the British Petroleum facilities in Iran. But the important part of that was that in the spring of 1950 the British had a currency crisis, a balance of payments crisis, and a very serious one. For a period in 1950, this was the crucial problem in which I, in particular, worked. There were some interesting episodes that I remember.

Ernie [Ernest] Bevin was then the British Prime

 

[319]

Minister and [John W.] Snyder was the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Snyder was not an internationalist at heart. He was a St. Louis banker with a very Middle western point of view, a very good man. He was a decent, honest man but with a very "America first" kind of attitude. Bill Martin was the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Financial Affairs. Bill and I saw the thing more or less together, that the British really did need assistance and help in every way we can do it. Certainly the British had to de value the pound, which they did. Even after they de valued, there were still problems of making that de valuation stick. Otherwise the British economic recovery would be stalled and this would lead to all kinds of spreading problems.

At one point during those discussions as to what to do about the British currency problem or the British balance of payments problem, Ernie Bevin came over with Oliver Franks and the Governor of the Bank of England, whose name I think was O'Brien, and some assistants. They met with us in the State Department. Dean Acheson, Secretary Snyder, Bill Martin and I represented the U.S. Government. I was appointed secretary of the meeting to keep the minutes. At one point Secretary Snyder made some slighting remarks about the way England had handled its economic situation. He didn't see why the U.S.

 

[320]

Treasury should foot all of England's bills; that kind of remark. This thoroughly annoyed Bevin. Bevin held forth for not more than four or five minutes with deep conviction and deep passion in a way which really transmitted the sincerity of his feelings to all those people who were in the room. I was trying to keep minutes of what he was saying. What he was saying did not lend itself to minutes because of the sentence structure. There weren't necessarily verbs in the sentences and you couldn't see where the periods went, but it was expression of deep emotion that England really had carried its share of responsibility during World War II. Certainly England had problems after World War II but they were not due to lack of character and not due to lack of worth. He felt that Secretary Snyder lacked understanding of what the true British problem had been. I looked at Snyder after this intervention by Ernie Bevin and Snyder had tears in his eyes. He understood. From that point on it was possible for Bill Martin to get the authority from Snyder to work with us and we did all kinds of things which helped relieve that British balance of payment problem in 1950.

It was in the context that one had to view the nationalization by Mossadegh of the British Petroleum facilities in Iran. One of the major contributors to

 

[321]

British overseas earnings, to balance all her various expenditures overseas, was income from oil wells, oil transportation and things of that kind. This was an important part of the British foreign exchange earnings. Once the British Petroleum facilities were nationalized, all of this or a great portion of this stopped. It was really for this reason, more than any other, that we were deeply concerned by this nationalization. Of course, there was another factor involved. If Mossadegh succeeded in the nationalization of the British Petroleum properties without paying any compensation, this, then would be an example for others thereafter to nationalize. Some of my boys had made the point that in the long run this was going to be the trend. Still, the question was when?

The third factor was clearly the importance of Iran in the containment policy. Clearly the first episode, occurring before the Greek Turkish aid program, of containment had been the Azerbaijan incident in Iran when the Russians refused to withdraw their forces from Azerbaijan and insisted on supporting the Communist Tudeh Party. When finally the Iranians, with our backing, moved against that Azerbaijan regime, it turned out that there were really only twenty five Communists who were controlling this thing. It was totally a Communist minority conspiracy.

 

[322]

It is my recollection that Iran's total exports were something on the order of sixty million dollars a year or even less. They had virtually nothing else to export. Their import requirement was quite large and the country was poor and there were real problems, political problems within Iran as to what would happen unless there was some kind of settlement. There could be two kinds of settlements. One was to recognize Mossadegh's nationalization, and we worked with the U.S. majors and others to help with the offtake of that Iranian oil. The British view was, "To hell with the Iranians. If they starve, that's their business."

MCKINZIE: Was that the view of the British Government or the British oil interests?

NITZE: There was question as to some differences of opinion between the British Government and the people running the British Petroleum Company. But it wasn't that much difference. As I remember it, during this period, Mr. Wilson was chairman of the British Board of Trade. During these negotiations I, at one time, had long discussions with Wilson on this subject and we found his viewpoint less than helpful. But you're quite right that there were differences of opinion within the British Government. I think that I speak correctly when say that they were not as concerned with the future of

 

[323]

Iran as they were with their own balance of payments problem and other interest problems. They were looking primarily at British Commonwealth interests rather than what happened in Iran.

MCKINZIE: But you were also concerned about the British sensitivity for loss of empire.

NITZE: Iran was never a part of the British Empire, although it was in what the British claimed to be a sphere of influence. They were prepared to sacrifice that. They felt that that had gone, that Mossadegh was certainly no part of any sphere of influence as far as they were concerned because he had been quite mean with them in international relations. In order to meet these threefold objectives it was really very tough and a conceptual problem as to what it was one ought to try to do. You had to negotiate it with the British and the Iranians. And then, the British Government was divided so much. You had to negotiate in part with the British Petroleum people, in part with the Board of Trade, and in part with the British Minister of Energy. I went over to England several times to negotiate with all those people.

MCKINZIE: Newspapers indicate that the Policy Planning Staff had been giving some attention to the Middle East throughout 1950, but that events took over after the

 

[324]

nationalization ....

NITZE: As I've pointed out, this episode about the Middle East Planning command has been one facet of the Middle East problem. There are lots of other facets. As I remember, the Suez problem began to arise during this period, not with any seriousness but you could see the problem of British control of the Suez Canal becoming deeply unpopular in Egypt. Should we support the British with respect to the Suez Canal or should we not? This was one of the problems we'd examined. So you had the Israeli problem, the Suez problem.

Iraq and Syria were always kind of touchy places for politics. Syria and Iraq were very difficult. But Walter Levy came in and helped as an expert. We hired him as a consultant on this. Finally, we in the Policy Planning Staff came to the conclusion that what was necessary was a re negotiated arrangement under which Iran would have sovereign control over the refinery and facilities. But the refinery would be managed by a syndicate which would include British Petroleum, but others as well.

The syndicate also had a half interest in the offtake from Kuwait. There wasn't really a shortage of oil; there was plenty of oil around, more oil available than the demand for oil. So British Petroleum was perfectly happy to take their crude oil from Kuwait.

 

[325]

They were doing just as well with that as taking part of it from Iran and part of it from Kuwait.

It turned out in the long run that one of the principle problems was to find people who would take as much crude oil as Iran should be exporting because the British Petroleum wouldn't do it in the first place. The Iranians and Mossadegh, in particular, didn't want to be back in the position where British Petroleum was their sole offtaker. So the only way the problem could be met would be if some of the American majors or minors were to be willing to take off an important part of the Iranian oil.

Then we ran into a problem with respect to the anti trust board as to whether or not it was possible for us to talk to the various majors about this problem. We took this up with [J. Howard] McGrath who was the Attorney General at that time. McGrath was favorably disposed to what our problem was. The head of the antitrust division was a man by the name of Leonard Emmerglick. Emmerglick was a dedicated anti truster. He thought that the most important aspect of the democratic system was the anti trust laws, in particular, the application of the anti trust laws abroad. We had a meeting in which McGrath was present with Emmerglick, Acheson, Snyder, Bill Martin, General Bradley and myself. During the course of this

 

[326]

discussion Bradley emphasized the strategic importance of the Middle East and why it was important that Iran not go Communist and why this was likely in the event that no solution was found to the Iranian problem. Therefore, he said, the national security interest required some relief from strict interpretation of the anti trust laws.

Emmerglick said that the anti-trust laws are more important to the national security than any such things as you're talking about. World War II really took place because of the collaboration between American industry and German industry. He referred to, I think, the DuPont arrangements with I.G. Farben and so forth. Bradley was absolutely incensed. I remember him turning purple with rage at Emmerglick.

Finally McGrath decided that Emmerglick had gone too far, that their interpretation of the anti trust laws was an excessively narrow interpretation, and that we could talk to the majors about this, provided we did it in a very impartial way, taking into account just the national interest and not for the benefits of the five majors involved. But then we had difficulty persuading the majors that they really should take the obligation of cutting down on offtake from the places they were taking it from at the time and making room for the Iranian production. So this didn't work out very

 

[327]

smoothly.

As I remember it, the most sympathetic person was a fellow by the name of Brewster Jennings, who was the chairman of the board of Mobil. Standard of New Jersey wasn't that enthusiastic about it, and neither was Texaco or Standard of California. Then, we thought that maybe one could get some of the independents to interest themselves in this and in particular, in Britain
.
A construction company in Houston, called the Brown Construction company, built pipelines. Brown felt that he might be able to do it. So we called Brown to try to get him interested and we found that the problem was much too big for him to handle. We tried to get City Service interested in it and that didn't quite work out. Then, finally we worked up a scheme in which the majors would have a certain interest in it and there would be, I think, 20 percent allotted to a series of minors, of the amount of offtake that they would have to take to be within their potentialities. We finally persuaded the British that this kind of an approach was all right. It took a lot of work. Then we tried to persuade Mossadegh that this was the right thing for him to do. This was very tough going indeed.

I remember Mossadegh came over to Washington at one point, and George McGhee and I met him at the train. We took him to Bethesda because he, at least, claimed to be

 

[328]

ill. I'm not sure that he was ill. The sessions with him were all there in his suite in the Naval Hospital in Bethesda. He was dressed in a kind of a brown mohair dressing gown. Mossadegh was an absolutely fascinating person. He'd been educated in France and Switzerland and I think he'd been in the class of 1893 or something like that at the University of Neuchatel. Nobody knew quite what his age was. He did know German and spoke French fluently. He understood English, but he wouldn't speak English. Colonel Vernon Walters was our interpreter, an absolutely brilliant interpreter. He is now Deputy Director of the CIA.

The arrangement between George McGhee and myself was that George would say all those things which expressed our interests in Iran and our friendship for Iran and our concern for Iran's interests. Everything that had to do with the hard boiled requirements such as price offtake quantities and so forth, I had to do. At one point Mossadegh turned on me and said, "You know, I'm beginning to suspect that your name is Levy."

Finally, we got Mossadegh to a point where he was prepared to accept this, provided that the U.S. Government would make an immediate loan to Iran of fifty million dollars. The question at issue was where you could find the fifty million dollars. At that time we didn't have an aid program which was appropriate for

 

[329]

this. Joe [Henry] Fowler, who subsequently became Secretary of the Treasury, was then chairman of an organization called the Defense Production Agency. I took this up with Joe Fowler. Joe was an absolutely superb person and he didn't fight the issue. He said, "Well, let me see whether our statute or legal basis permits us to do a thing like this." He and his assistant came back after a week and said, "Yes, we can do this." We could then make this fifty million dollar loan through the Defense Production Agency. With that it looked as though Mossadegh would go along; he said he would. But we didn't get this all worked out until December, 1952. This was after the election. Mossadegh then got the idea that there was a possibility that Mr. Eisenhower would be less difficult to negotiate with than Mr. Truman and Acheson and Acheson's assistants. So he balked at going through with this. It just barely failed implementation during the Truman period. It almost got through.

There was one other episode that I think is entertaining, at least with respect to these negotiations. At one point when the real difficulty was with the British, not with Mossadegh, we composed a message from President Truman to Mr. [Clement] Attlee outlining why we thought it was important for the British to concur in this plan. That message from Mr.

 

[330]

Truman to Mr. Attlee was sent in a telegram to our ambassador in London and an information copy was sent to our Ambassador in Tehran. Immediately thereafter, I drove over to Dean Rusk's office to discuss something having to do with the Far East. I was arguing these things with Dean Rusk when George McGhee came charging into the office and he said, "There's been the most extraordinary radio broadcast from Tehran, which says that the American Ambassador has just delivered a message from President Truman to Mossadegh."

We sat down and thought about this for a minute, and we were clear what had happened. We were clear that our Ambassador in Tehran had misread his instructions and hadn't noted that this was an information copy to him. He thought this was a message from Truman to Mossadegh rather than a message from Truman to Attlee. He had delivered the message to Mossadegh. So the question at issue was, what do you do under those circumstances? We decided that the immediate thing to do was to get hold of Oliver Franks, who was the British Ambassador in Washington, and tell him exactly what we suspected had happened. So we told him exactly what we thought had happened and discussed with him what should be done.

What we decided to do was to instruct our Ambassador in Tehran to go immediately to Mossadegh's

 

[331]

office and get the message back and say there had been an error in transmission, but that he would have the revised copy immediately. So then we redid the message to Attlee slightly to make it appropriate to being a message to Mossadegh. It didn't take that much change as a matter of fact. We were telling Mossadegh exactly the same thing about the deal we thought was right that we were telling Attlee, but clearly the emphasis had to be changed. It had to be changed to a message urging Mossadegh to accept rather than one urging Attlee to accept. So we got that all straightened out and Franks informed Attlee.

This particular hazardous occurrence turned out really not to have been as serious as we had initially thought. But I guess the point of this story is that accidents do occur when you do ten thousand different things over a period of years. One chance in ten thousand comes up.

MCKINZIE: Wasn't there a period in all of this when George McGhee was in Tehran and you were in London and you were conducting negotiations simultaneously?

NITZE: There were a whole series of negotiations involved in this. At one point, Averell Harriman and Walter Levy went to Tehran to work on this. Then, Harold Linder, who was Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs in the

 

[332]

State Department, and I went to London and negotiated with these people in British Petroleum. There were a whole series and this was a very complex set of negotiations.

MCKINZIE: Evidently, Averell Harriman was frustrated by this whole experience.

NITZE: Mossadegh was a very difficult person to negotiate with. In a way he was an aristocrat, an Iranian aristocrat. He was a big landowner and his family was an old Iranian family. He was more a gambler than he was a radical. He recognized that at least his political position (which had come up through his membership in the Majlis as being a legislator) depended upon the support of the Left. He got to where he was by taking extreme positions and outflanking people. He was really a great negotiator. He was witty and he was clearheaded. I became very fond of Mossadegh. Granted, he was the most difficult person to negotiate with you could find, but as a person he was extremely interesting. He was not stupid at all.

When John Foster Dulles came in as Secretary of State, I strongly urged Foster Dulles to continue to negotiate just from where we had been, to demonstrate to Mossadegh that he couldn't do any better and that this was the deal. John Foster Dulles thought that we'd been

 

[333]

somewhat too tough in our attitude with Mossadegh.

In that period Bedell Smith was the Under Secretary. Bedell Smith rather agreed with me; it was really John Foster that we had our difficulties with. That then lead to the episode where Mossadegh was overthrown. This is an interesting story that I'm not 100 percent certain about but this is as I understand it.

At the time of the uprising against Mossadegh, when General Zahedi and the Shah tried to overthrow Mossadegh, there was fighting in the streets of Tehran. The correspondent of the New York Times in the Middle East, with headquarters in Cairo, was a man by the name of Kennett Love. He had become deeply interested in the Middle East; he spoke Arabic and was really wholly prejudiced on the side of the Arabs. He had gone from Cairo to Tehran. He was in the main square of Tehran and saw this tank engagement going on between Zahedi's forces and those forces which were still loyal to Mossadegh. But, on his way to that main square he passed by the square in which was located the palace where Mossadegh lived. He'd noted that there were no forces defending the palace. So he talked to the commander of Zahedi's tank battalion that was fighting in the main square. He said, "Why don't you go to the palace because nobody's guarding Mossadegh." So that tank commander took this battalion from the main square

 

[334]

to the palace. He found the palace unprotected, whereas two hours before Zahedi thought the battle was lost and had fled Tehran. Mossadegh without protection then fled the palace and was captured. The entire situation turned around. Now, this is quite a different version than the story which the general public accepted. That was that the CIA was involved in this thing. It may be that the CIA had been working with the Shah and with Zahedi. The two things may not be in conflict, but Kennett Love is the one who told me this story. It would be interesting to get it confirmed or not confirmed.

Later, Bedell Smith became ill, and Herbert Hoover, Jr. became Under Secretary of State. Herbert Hoover, Jr. resumed the negotiations and it is my recollection that the final deal that he worked out was almost identical with the deal that we'd almost gotten agreed in December 1952. That could be checked as to the correspondence between the two deals.

After that period concerning Iran, it is my impression that the State Department for a long period of time paid much less attention to the international oil problems per se than we had during this period of '46 through June of '53. The top people in the State Department were not as up on all the oil movements, money movements, and the offtakes as we'd had to be

 

[335]

because of our deep involvement in these various episodes.

MCKINZIE: You've alluded to Secretary Forrestal and then General Bradley's concern about securing the oil in the Middle East. I take it the military were deeply involved in, or at least closely followed, all of these events.

NITZE: They were indeed. They were obviously interested in both aspects--maintaining the perimeter around the Soviet Union and in the availability of the oil. They were also obviously interested in the security of Europe. Therefore, in the British balance of payments problems and the British contribution and NATO defense all these things interrelated one with another.

MCKINZIE: In your work in the Policy Planning Staff, did you undertake any long range study of U.S.-Israeli relations?

NITZE: I don't recollect that we did. It was my recollection that this was the principle concern of the Bureau of Middle Eastern Affairs. There is a story about John Foster Dulles in 1953 and the Policy Planning Staff.

On January 20, after the inaugural ceremonies in the morning, Foster Dulles had lunch with the President

 

[336]

at the White House. He then came over to his offices in the State Department Building after lunch. The first person that he got hold of when he came into the building was me. I had the adjacent office and he called me on the intercom and asked me to come in. As I'd said earlier, we'd had really very close relationships during the Truman years.

The first thing he said was, "Paul, you know, the work you and the Policy Planning Staff have been doing, I approve of highly. In fact, I don't really have any quarrel with the substance of Mr. Acheson's foreign policy." He said, "Where I disagreed with Mr. Acheson was the way in which he handled the Congress. I think I can handle the Congress much better than he can. But, in part, my ability to handle the Congress well depends upon the Congress having the impression that my foreign policy differs from Mr. Acheson's foreign policy. For that reason it seems to me to be unwise for me to have the same policy planner that Acheson had."

I said, "Well, I can understand that. That makes perfectly good sense. Do you want me to leave?"

He said, "Oh , no, no. I don't have any successor for you at the moment. You and Bedell will have to address yourselves to this question of finding successors for yourselves."

I said, "All right, we'll do that."

 

[337]

He said, "I have a more important concern, and that is, that I think that the work that you and the Policy Planning Staff have been doing really addresses itself not to foreign policy but to national security policy. This work should be done in the White House as part of the support work for the National Security Council and should not be done in the State Department." He said, "Frankly, I think that that kind of work is more important than the pure conduct of foreign policy. It is my intention to spend 95 percent of my time in the Old Executive Office Building (what used to be called the State War Navy Building) with the NSC staff and only 5 percent of my time supervising the conduct of foreign policy. I propose to leave to Bedell Smith the detailed work of the conduct of foreign policy. Then the work that the Policy Planning Staff has been doing should be done from the NSC."

I said, "Well, then does that mean that you want the Policy Planning Staff dissolved right now?"

He said, "No, what I've told you so far is what I'd like to see happen but I'm not sure that it will work."

I said, "Well, frankly I don't think it will work. I don't think you can conduct affairs of the State Department with five percent of your time even though I have the highest admiration for Bedell Smith."

He said, "Well, I'm not sure of it either but

 

[338]

let's, for the time being, just see how it works. I don't want you to dissolve the Policy Planning Staff."

So we kept on working. Some of the people who'd been in the Policy Planning Staff during Mr. Truman's day just felt that they couldn't stand the change and they left. Dorothy Fosdick left, and I think a few of the others left, but most of them stayed on. Then he continued to be concerned about having Mr. Acheson's policy planner be his policy planner. I think by that time he named Hank [Henry] Byroade to be Assistant Secretary for Middle Eastern Affairs. I think George McGhee had retired. He got Hank Byroade in and got me and he said, "You know I've got an idea and that is: why don't you two switch jobs. Why doesn't Hank become head of the Policy Planning Staff and, Paul, you become Assistant Secretary of Middle Eastern Affairs?"

Hank and I said we'd think about this. I thought about it for a while and came to the conclusion that I shouldn't do this. My great grandparents were all German and some of my grandparents were German. At one time there had been an accusation that I was pro German. I felt that this Arab Israeli problem was central to the Middle Eastern problem. To have someone who could be even incorrectly accused of having, perhaps, an anti-Jewish bias would be totally improper and one couldn't be effective enough. I shouldn't take this job. Hank

 

[339]

Byroade came to the conclusion independently that he liked operations and didn't like planning. He didn't want to take the responsibility of the Policy Planning Staff job. We told Foster that we didn't think this would work.

Finally, Bedell Smith came up with a suggestion. He was one of my closest friends. He was a professor at Harvard. He came in, in June, 1953. Prior to his coming in June, 1953, Mr. Adenauer came over to Washington and stayed at Blair House. There was a reception for Adenauer at Blair House and at that reception Charlie Wilson this is the General Motors Wilson who was Secretary of Defense got hold of me and said that he wanted me to come over to the Defense Department and be Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, or to be more precise, to be Frank Nash's deputy in the office of International Security Affairs. Frank had had a heart attack and it was clear that Frank was going to have to retire. I would initially be deputy and then become Assistant Secretary. He said that he had worked this out with Foster Dulles and that in fact it had been Foster Dulles' idea.

I said, "Well, you don't know anything about me and you're not absolutely sure you want me."

He said, "Oh, I've researched you from A to Z and I'm sure that I want you."

 

[340]

I said, "When?"

This must have been about the first week of May of '53. He said, "I want you by the 15th of May, within a week."

I said, "Well, that I won't do because I want to get some vacation, but I will appear on the 15th of June."

So, I appeared on the 15th of June. Frank was not well and wasn't spending much time in the office. I found that those people in the ISA were just great people and all they needed really was a catalyst who would work with them and support them and give them a sense of direction. So for a period of a week or two I had just a marvelous time with an entirely different organization in the Pentagon. One day a NSC meeting had been scheduled; I forget what the issues were, but they seemed to both Frank Nash and me to be important issues. So we scheduled a meeting with Secretary Wilson to brief him on what we thought were the ups and downs of these issues that were coming up to the National Security meeting. We started to tell him what our views and recommendations were. Then Wilson said, "I don't want to talk about that, I want to talk about you, Paul."

I said, "Yes, what is it that you'd like to say?"

He said, "Well, you know that I find that I was misled about you. I understood that the Acheson

 

[341]

policies were really Acheson's policies and now I find they were not Acheson's, they were yours."

I said, "No, I had been for some years the senior civil servant in the State Department. I was not a presidential appointee, I was the first GS 18 in the State Department. As a civil servant I think I carried as much weight as any civil servant in the State Department. Frank Nash was the first GS-18 in the Pentagon. I think he carried an equal role in the Pentagon. Frankly, I am proud of the contribution that I made during those years." I said, "Frank, aren't you proud of the contribution you made during all those years?"

Frank said, " I am indeed."

Then Wilson, said, "Well, the problem is more difficult than that. The question is the support we'll get for the defense appropriations. There are those Senators who disapprove of you, Paul, and there is a risk that this will make it more difficult to get appropriations that we need for the Defense Department."

So I said, "Well, Mr. Wilson you were the one who asked me to do this. You were the one who said you knew all about me and wanted me. I didn't ask for the job and if you have any doubts about this, there isn't any problem at all; I'm prepared to resign tomorrow."

Wilson said, "Well, let me think about it."

 

[342]

I decided that the case was clear, that he did want me to leave. I wrote up a letter of resignation. In it I'd referred to the fact that it was Foster Dulles who suggested this idea. I didn't want to quote Foster without being sure that I was doing it correctly so I went over to see Foster and showed him the draft of the letter of resignation that I had prepared.

Foster was a very complex person. He'd been a lawyer for so long that he normally slipped into the role of being the counselor and advocate of whomever his client was. In this particular session because I'd come in and asked him advice about this letter of resignation, I was his client and he was my counselor and adviser. He said, "Paul, you haven't expressed this strongly enough." He helped me re draft the letter in much more precise and forceful terms than it had been before. That was my departure from the Eisenhower administration.

There were some other things that were interesting about this. The reason that this congressional objection arose really was because of an article that had been published by the Washington Times Herald, the paper which was merged into the Washington Post later. It was kind of a right wing paper in Washington. That paper had published an article in which it was asserted that Senator Joseph McCarthy was very suspicious of me

 

[343]

but on very strange grounds. It was on the grounds that I was really a Wall Street operator and was not a real civil servant. It was clear to me from the administration standpoint that they didn't want me.

MCKINZIE: But as Director of the Policy Planning Staff you had a kind of a low profile job except for occasional appearances on Capitol Hill. Did you have a lot of direct contact with the Senator McCarthys, the McCarrans, the Jenners, and Capeharts?

NITZE: No I didn't. In fact, I'd had very little contact with the Hill after I became associated with the Policy Planning Staff. That wasn't the function of the Policy Planning Staff. Most of my contact with the Hill had been prior to that time when I was in economic affairs. It had been largely on economic issues, aid issues, and things of that kind.

One other episode which comes to mind is that of the summer of 1952 after the MacArthur hearings, when it became reasonably clear that the Democrats were going to lose in the 1952 election. We in the Policy Planning Staff addressed ourselves to the question of the possible transition from a Democratic administration to a Republican administration. We felt that it was important that that transition be as smooth as possible; that there be as little slippage during the transition

 

[344]

as possible. Then, the question at issue was how do you do this in a way that is better than some other way? The person that I assigned to work on this problem was C.B. [Charles Burton] Marshall. Marshall spent a lot work on studying past transitions from one party to another and what the difficulties had been. He got some help from that but the situation clearly was different than it had been in the past transitions.

We finally worked up what was called the "black book" and in the black book it was proposed that if Mr. Eisenhower was successful in the election, Mr. Truman would invite the President elect over to the White House for a discussion of the transition period, and that the object of the game should be to urge the President elect to rapidly and immediately appoint two people, one his Director of the Bureau of the Budget designate, so that all budgetary problems could be discussed with him. From January 20 on, the first thing you have to do is to get the authorization and budget requests before the Congress and you've got to that right. The second person was the person who would represent him on national security affairs. That was really the object of the game because it seemed clear that the President-elect himself wouldn't have the time to deal with the minutiae of the substantive issues during this transition period. Now, in order to get that done we

 

[345]

drafted a statement for Mr. Truman to make to the President elect and then we thought over what it was that the President elect might respond to; how he might respond to such a statement by President Truman. We wrote that out. Then we addressed ourselves to how the President might appropriately make the next move. I think we did this for three or four moves and then the options became too complex so we just had briefing papers on the major issues if they came up. Mr. Acheson took this up with President Truman and President Truman thought it was a very good idea; he did invite the President elect in immediately after the election.

I wasn't present at the meeting, but I think Mr. Acheson was, and I recollect his saying that Mr. Truman did, in fact, read from the black book the initial statement. President Eisenhower made a response which was not too difficult from what we'd anticipated he might make. Mr. Truman went on with the second statement, but the upshot was that Mr. Eisenhower did agree to nominate two such people.

The person that he nominated for the national security function was Cabot Lodge. Then Cabot Lodge came over to see us in the State Department for one day. He saw Mr. Acheson first and then he came down and saw us in the Policy Planning Staff. Then it turned out that President elect Eisenhower was going to have a big

 

[346]

meeting on the U.S.S. Helena in the Pacific. Cabot was determined that he was going to be present at that meeting out on the ship and we never saw Cabot again. That enterprise really produced no results, but we tried.

MCKINZIE: Did you have any plan if Mr. Stevenson should have been elected?

NITZE: Well, we didn't have a plan on that because we thought that would be much more feasible and easy.

MCKINZIE: One of the criticisms that Eisenhower and Secretary [George] Humphrey made of what they inherited was that the defense posture of the United States was more expensive than could be afforded. They had something called the "great equation" which was based on the increase in national productivity on defense expenditures which could be met by that level of national productivity. Did you have a chance to argue basic national security policy with Secretary Dulles or people who might be considered Eisenhower spokesmen?

NITZE: My recollection is that prior to inauguration the President elect had agreed with Senator Taft at that Morningside Heights sessions that there would be a five billion dollar cut in the defense budget. I think the President considered that to be a real commitment. I

 

[347]

know my view was that it was a real commitment that you couldn't really argue. The President had committed himself to the senior members of the legislative side of his party as to what his policy was going to be and I don't remember really raising that issue with Foster Dulles because I felt that there wasn't any point in it; that this had been decided.

Now, when it came to making the five billion dollar cut in the defense budget, Mr. Wilson and his associates really rode herd on everybody in the Pentagon, trying to cut expenditures here, there, and the other place. They found that it was very tough going indeed and that you just can't cut out five billion dollars without affecting major programs. At that time the major program was the B-52 program. It is my recollection that most of the cut eventually ended up in the B-52 program because you couldn't find where to take it out otherwise. Now the upshot of cutting it out of the B-52 program was to delay the B-52 program and to increase its cost, because as long as you spread out a program you greatly increase its cost. The main cost of a new program is the enormous overhead that you have to have during the R&D, research and development, and perfection of the real prototype and the real flying instrument. It takes tens of thousands of people to do that tough work. Consequently, the principal lack in our security

 

[348]

posture during those early years in the Eisenhower administration was the B-52 program. This was the real cause of the under-financing of the satellite program, for instance, and the missile programs. It was necessary in order to salvage the five billion dollar cut in the first year. I think that's why we got beaten into space by the Russians. If it hadn't been for this decision I don't think we would have been beaten. It would have been easy with just a little more funding to have been ahead of the Russians on the first satellite and that caused a very great reaction to the Sputnik thing later; at least this is the way it seemed to me from the sidelines.

MCKINZIE: You mentioned that John Foster Dulles assessed what you had been doing in the Policy Planning Staff as more national security policy planning rather than foreign policy planning and with the implication that that work should be done by the National Security Council. What did you think that the National Security Council ought to be doing? It is an organization which is not well understood.

NITZE: Well, my view was that what we were doing was, in fact, national security policy planning; not foreign policy planning. However, they are related. Many of the things we dealt with were at the interface between

 

[349]

foreign policy and defense policy and at the interface between foreign and economic policy. That really was the principal thing that we were addressing ourselves to. These interface problems are problems of national security and the national interest, rather than just foreign policy narrowly defined.

Now, the more interesting question is where can that work be best done? That raised another point because in developing a policy two things are necessary. The first one is to have an objective, clear, unbiased analysis of the facts and probable trends, and what is likely to happen if you don't do anything other than what you are doing. You also need analysis of the points where change is possible. Where are the jackstraws in this mess that you can pull out which can have an effect upon the remaining structure? Where are the levers of action that have been applied and what can be the expected results of moving that lever this way or that way? That's one half of the problem of policy.

The other half of it is making up your mind what it is you should be trying to do. What should be the U. S. objectives? How do they interrelate? What is more important than something else? Then one has to decide in the light of the factual analysis what is the correct course of action to move the probabilities from this to that over time.

 

[350]

The basic problem is that if you get this process very close to the President it is very hard to maintain the objectivity in the analysis of the facts and the probable trends. The participants in the process tend to fudge the facts in order to support the decisions that they want. If you're doing this right in the White House you feel that this is the place where the final decision is going to be made and every tool must be used, including the biasing of the final analysis in order to move the decision in the direction that your agency or your department or you, yourself, want it to move. I think this became evident during the Eisenhower administration when they did transfer the national security policy planning, not only to the NSC itself, but to the NSC staff under Bobby Cutler.

I used to attend those meetings of the NSC staff when Bobby Cutler ran them and this was a wilderness beyond belief. Everybody from the Pentagon would come in there and there'd be a discussion, for instance, about Southeast Asia and the issue would be whether Southeast Asia was "vital" to U.S. security. If it were vital then it meant that you had to do everything that you thought was necessary in order to support this, that, or the other thing.

If you used the word "critical" that was different from vital. If you used the word "important," that was

 

[351]

less than critical. You'd get these hour after hour sessions arguing about adjectives and adverbs with no attention given to the objective analysis of fact. It seemed to me to be much easier for us when we were working in the Policy Planning Staff, where we were not right under Mr. Truman's eye, not right under Admiral Fowler's eye, and really not right under Acheson's eye, even though we kept Acheson informed of everything, where there still was a further decision to be made while you were doing this factual analysis. I think it worked much better.

One can see why others would feel that these national security issues which involved the interests of not only foreign policy but the Treasury, Defense, and so forth, ought to be done at a higher echelon. I think this tends to misinterpret the role of the Secretary of State. After all, the Secretary of State is not our minister for foreign affairs, he is Secretary of State; his is responsible for the great seal of the United States. Our system is not like the British system where the King handles the formal position of sovereignty and a Prime minister is the operator. We have a President who is both the formal head and the principle operator. With the President having this dual role, I think it is important that someone else be "general manager" or "vicar" of the cabinet and that person should be the

 

[352]

Secretary of State. I think it is appropriate, too, for the Secretary of State to have a group which can do this objective analysis better than it can be done from the White House. Even then there is the role of the National Security Council. The Secretaries of Defense and the Treasury are there to review what this is and put in the final political judgment. The President obviously puts in the final, final judgment.

MCKINZIE: The newspapers have recently been filled with revelations that in the later 1950s the relationship between the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency was much closer than the general public had been aware. Mr. Dulles evidently relied on his brother in the CIA as an instrument of carrying out U.S. foreign policy. Would you comment on the earlier period? D id you have any involvement in that, or did you have any particular thoughts about what the relationship between the State Department and the CIA should be?

NITZE: During World War II, it seemed to me that the best intelligence came from an organization in the Pentagon run by a man by the name of Alfred McCormack. It wasn't army intelligence, it was some kind of an intelligence in the Pentagon separate from the army intelligence. McCormack had recruited some very competent, area

 

[353]

experts. The OSS and the services did intelligence gathering, but the putting together of all this and getting estimates of what the situation was here, there, and the other place, was basically done by this organization under McCormack.

After World War II, McCormack was transferred from the Pentagon assignment to be head of Research and Intelligence in the State Department. Then a controversy arose as to his relationship to the OSS and subsequently the CIA. There was a big row as to the relative position of the CIA and the State Department in national intelligence estimates and during the course of that, as I remember it, McCormack found this position intolerable and left. The CIA really became the central body for the evaluation of intelligence. Although the State Department maintained its organization for research and intelligence, its position was not the dominant position.

Then sometime in '47, the question arose as to whether or not, in addition to the collection and the evaluation of intelligence, there wasn't a necessary role in the covert activities separate from intelligence. This arose particularly in connection with the difficulties in Italy and whether or not there weren't certain things which should be done in order to combat the very secretive and pervasive efforts that the

 

[354]

Communists were making in order to subvert the various organizations there. In the debate about whether this should or should not be done, one thing really became clear and that was that such operations ought to be separated from intelligence operations because they were different in nature. And secondly, they ought to have more political control over them than just CIA control.

There was a considerable negotiation as to how this should best be done and George Kennan was very much involved in that negotiation. The final result was that it was agreed that there should be such operations, that they should be in a separate part of the CIA, and that the head of that separate part of the CIA should be Frank Wisner, who was then working in the State Department in charge of occupation affairs. In other words, he was in charge of the policy with respect to the occupation forces in Germany and Japan.

Frank Wisner was acceptable both to the CIA and to the State Department to head this operation. He transferred from the State Department to the CIA to head up this operation. It was also agreed that he should check everything that he did with the State Department and that the point of liaison should be George Kennan, head of the Policy Planning Staff. The person who worked under George Kennan to handle this thing from day to day was Bob Joyce. That was the structure that was

 

[355]

worked out in order to handle these very sensitive and difficult operations.

This all worked between us very well during the early days of the operation. Frank was a very competent person and his relations with George Kennan and Bob Joyce were of the closest; he was a close personal friend of George's and of mine and of Bob Joyce's. When George Kennan left the Policy Planning Staff I inherited this, and Bob Joyce handled it from day to day for me.

In addition to that, the Policy Planning Staff had close relations with the Research and Intelligence part of the State Department. Henry Owen, who was part of the R & I part of the Research and Intelligence office in the State Department, was assigned part time to the Policy Planning Staff and was a member of both organizations. So, with respect to the intelligence part of the CIA operations, they worked through the Board of National Estimates (which was Sherman Kent's operation) or through the Research and Intelligence part of the State Department where Henry Owens was the liaison. T he most controversial issue which came up during those days was the question of what to do about the situation in Guatemala, where in fact, we finally did approve of the operations which resulted in the overthrow of Arbenz.

MCKINZIE: This was before you left in '53?

 

[356]

NITZE: This was during the early Dulles period.

I remember distinctly an episode when Bedell Smith called Tom Mann, who was the Assistant Secretary in the Dulles days for Latin American Affairs, to one of our morning staff meetings and questioned him about the situation in Guatemala. Bedell Smith had a practice of being extremely rude to subordinates to see whether they really believed in what they were saying and if they believed in it strongly enough then they would talk back to people. But Tom Mann, having been brought up in the State Department, wasn't used to such treatment. When Bedell Smith became rude to him Tom Mann just shut up and wouldn't defend his side of the issue. So I went back after the meeting and I called in Tom Mann, and said, “Tom you know Bedell is a marvelous person but you have to know how to handle him.” I can remember telling him a story about Syngman Rhee and the release of the prisoners in Korea, which had happened just before that period. You remember Rhee just suddenly released all the North Korean prisoners who had opted for South Korea instead of North Korea. This was a cause celébre at the next morning's staff meeting after Syngman had released the prisoners; Bedell turned on me and said, "Goddamn you Paul, what did we hire you for? You're supposed to foresee this sort of thing and see to it it doesn't

 

[357]

happen."

This really got me furious with rage and so I turned on Bedell and I said, "You know, you and the Secretary have been having conversations with the President about Korea and this prisoner of war issue and you haven't told the rest of us what these discussions have been and you haven't told us what all your communications to our ambassador in Korea have been. How in God's name can we keep you from falling into traps if you don't tell us what you're doing?"

Bedell sat back in his chair, and he said, "My boy, you're right. We won't do it again."

So I told the story to Tom Mann and said, "That's the way you've got to deal with Bedell Smith; you've got to stand up for what you think is right."

So then at the next meeting Tom Mann stood up for what he thought was right and I think that this did have to with the Arbenz thing, because Bedell then did approve of what it was Tom Mann wanted done.

This took place at the beginning of the Dulles administration. But there had been something connected with this earlier in the Truman years, that was in 1952. There was a backdrop to the actual support of the anti-Arbenz forces which took place prior to that. I think the real difficulties in these special operations of the CIA took place later than '52-'53.

 

[358]

The most difficult period was during the Hungarian episode and the French, British and Israeli attack on the Suez. Frank Wisner went over to Austria at the time of the Hungarian episode and was master minding such support as we could give to the Hungarian Government, which was dissident from the Soviets the Navy government. Frank also master minded the relief operations for those Hungarians who fled from the Soviet occupation of Hungary. While that was still going on, this Suez episode broke out and Frank then went to Greece to try to help from that view point and decide what our policy should be. The upshot of the strains of that Hungarian episode and the Suez episode were more than Frank could bear and he had a nervous breakdown after that. I think that the difficulties began after Frank had a nervous breakdown. That's when the real difficulty was to control that special operation of the CIA. They began after Frank was no longer competent to run it.

MCKINZIE: Could you talk about Dean Acheson as a personality and as a Secretary? You indicated in this memoir that at one point he was not a man who championed the position you came to hold.

NITZE: Well, I think my difficulties with Dean Acheson really began during the war years. Those of us who were

 

[359]

in the Foreign Economic Administration and in the wartime agencies were really short circuiting the State Department, and Dean felt that the State Department was left out of all the important work that was being done during the war. This was in part due to the way in which Mr. Roosevelt chose to run things. Mr. Roosevelt had the highest regard for Secretary Hull as a person and as having political influence in the Senate, because Hull was very close to and had real influence on the southern senators. But I don't believe that Mr. Roosevelt felt that Mr. Hull had any sense of strategy. Mr. Hull was primarily interested in mutually beneficial multi lateral trade and Mr. Hull had very strong prejudices for and against people, depending upon their attitudes on mutually beneficial multi lateral trade. I had the impression that Mr. Roosevelt had a higher opinion of [Sumner] Welles' theory on national strategy or international policy than he did on Mr. Hull's. He tended to work directly with the Pentagon and particularly with the Army and Navy. He considered himself to be a "Naval person," the way Churchill did.

I remember one story about the Army Chief of Staff in 1941. He went in to see Mr. Roosevelt, because Mr. Roosevelt made the budgetary decision in those days himself, about the Army budgetary requests. Mr. Roosevelt turned him down on some of his requests and at

 

[360]

the end of this episode the Army Chief of Staff said, "Mr. President, I accept your decision but I have one request: when you refer to the Navy, that you not always refer to it as "we" and refer to the Army as "they."

But Roosevelt did like to work directly for the Army and the Navy and the Chiefs of Staff and exclude the State Department from any of the considerations which were involved in this interface between foreign policy and defense policy. Acheson felt himself without the influence that he and the State Department should have, either in the fields of economics, wartime economics, or the military things. He resented those of us who were working in the wartime economic agencies and doing things without checking properly with him.

I can remember one episode when I got an order from the State Department to buy Icelandic fish. I, for the life of me, couldn't understand why it was absolutely essential to buy Icelandic fish as a strategic material. I told those boys in the State Department that I wouldn't do it unless Mr. Acheson personally would sign a directive stating that we buy this Icelandic fish. Mr. Acheson didn't sign the directive so we didn't buy the Icelandic fish. This was typical of a number of these episodes where we weren't about to take nonsense from people who didn't know much about it

 

[361]

as we knew about it. I think this was the origin of the difficult relations that I had with Mr. Acheson during those years.

Being a member of what I'd called the minority viewpoint, while he was on the other side of it, didn't contribute to our seeing eye to eye. But after the Greek Turkish business, by 1949, Acheson's viewpoint was much closer to mine than it was to those of other people. So from that point on I found no difficulty at all in working with Mr. Acheson. In fact, I found it a pure pleasure and delight because Mr. Acheson had a very quick mind and was a very honest person. He would quickly tell me whatever he knew that he thought bore upon anything that I should know, and if I made a recommendation to him which he disapproved, he would tell me why he disapproved of it; he wouldn't just say "no." He would say "no" for this reason, for that reason and the other reason. I could then understand what was in his mind. There was a complete and open flow of information up and down with Mr. Acheson so that that was the ideal working relationship. The relationship between us was really that of Secretary of State to his subordinate during the years when we were in the State Department together.

Then, in 1953 after Mr. Acheson had been succeeded by John Foster Dulles, I noted that Acheson was not to

 

[362]

be seen any place in Washington. I hadn't seen him at dinner; I hadn't seen him having lunch at the Metropolitan Club. He was invisible. I called up Mr. Acheson and asked him whether he would like to have lunch at the Metropolitan and he said he'd be delighted to have lunch. He came and had lunch and said, "You know, you are the first person in Washington who has asked me to have lunch since I was Secretary of State."

After that, I used to ask him to have lunch at least once a week and we had a special table where we'd have lunch at the Metropolitan Club. This was due to the fact that no one else had ever asked him to have lunch during that period after he ceased to be Secretary of State. It was a very strange town where if you have power you're somebody, and if you don't have power there's very little friendship involved. So, there was a subsequent period when we worked together and we
really became close friends.

MCKINZIE: One sensitive issue you might wish to comment on is Yugoslavia.

NITZE: I once wrote a paper on the subject called, "The Coalition Diplomacy." My view was that there was an essential conflict between our view of the world and Moscow's view of the world, and that the people with the active viewpoint as to what the future was going to hold

 

[363]

with the Communists--and that's what we were doing--were supporting a coalition of those who didn't want to submit themselves to Soviet worldwide hegemony. This coalition didn't want to go to the line of being subordinate to this Moscow hegemony. It didn't make that much difference what the political structure was of those wishing to shake down the future in their own way. It was not important to this coalition concept as to whether the members of the coalition happened to be Communists, provided they weren't dominated by Moscow. According to that theory the fact that Tito was a Communist was not important. The thing that was important was that he proposed to maintain the independence of Yugoslavia as opposed to Moscow.

This brings up the question of how does this differ from the Spanish situation with Franco. It was clear that Franco did not want to be subjected to Moscow domination either. It was perfectly clear that the geography of Spain was just as important as that of Yugoslavia, that the real defense problem in Europe was the narrowness of the position. They didn't have sufficient depth and therefore we could have air bases in Spain which were far enough back so that they weren't subject to a blitzkrieg type of attack which would take out the air bases. This would greatly improve the security of the NATO front. So on this theory of the

 

[364]

case, not only was it proper to support Yugoslavia as opposed to a threat from Moscow, but it was also proper and appropriate to normalize relations with Spain.

So operating on this theory of the case, we talked to the people in the Pentagon and clearly they shared our view of the military significance of the depth of the NATO front. We discussed it with Mr. Acheson and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and there was finally a unanimity as to the steps that we should take in attempting to normalize our relationship with Spain. We wrote this paper up for the NSC and this was scheduled on the agenda of the NSC. I talked to Jimmy Lay about it and he told me that the President knew about it. When we all assembled at the meeting, we arranged that Mr. Acheson would make the presentation of the case and that it would be supported by Bob Lovett and then Bradley would support it. We all walked into the room and sat down. The President walked into the room and said, "Item one on the agenda, I see, has to do with Spain and I would like to make it clear I consider Mr. Franco to have been a collaborator of Mr. Hitler's, and not the kind of a person that I propose we do business with. Therefore, I will not approve what I understand your recommendation is, and we will pass on to item two on the agenda."

But after some period of time, Mr. Truman did

 

[365]

become persuaded that what was proposed was appropriate and he did permit the negotiations to go forward. This resulted in our negotiations for base rights in Spain and other business advantages.

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed | Additional Nitze Oral History Transcripts]


List of Subjects Discussed

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X-Y-Z

    Galbraith, J. Kenneth (Kenny), 80, 85, 97, 132
    Gardner, General Grandison, 98
    Gates, General Thomas, 61
    Glasser, Harold, 152, 155-156
    Gordon, Lincoln, 160
    Government Aid and Relief in Occupied Areas (GARIOA), 205
    Gross, Ernest (Ernie), 165-167, 169
    Gulbenkian, Calouste Sortis, 313, 315

    International Basic Economy Corporation, 23
    Iran oil controversy, 214-215

    O’Dwyer, William, 277, 278
    Office of International Trade Policy, 139, 140, 312, 316
    Ofstie, Rear Admiral Ralph A., 127-129
    Operations and Plans Division, 97, 98
    Oppenheimer, Monroe, 24-25
    Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 235-236, 237
    Ortona, Egidio, 190
    Owen, Henry, 355

    Quartz crystals for military radio communication, 25, 51-54

    Zahedi, General, 333-334
    Zuckerman, Sir Solly, 70

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed | Additional Nitze Oral History Transcripts]