Cabinet Meeting Minutes, ca. December 1951. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings II.
CABINET MEETING, DECEMBER 21, 1951
Last Meeting of Year
All members present (1st time in months)
Briefed Cabinet on Korea.
Described his recent visit to Japan and Korea. Had Thanksgiving dinner with members of Air Forces in Korea. Visited hospitals in Korea, Tokyo and Honolulu. Found morale and spirit of troops at the highest. Mutual respect of men and officers is remarkable. Japanese indicate real appreciation of treatment they have received from U. S. since the war.
Trip of V. P. was great success fine reaction in countries visited. In Europe in recent weeks held meetings of U. N. NATO and other organizations. President's proposal for reduction in armaments had good effect in Europe. Both Western Europe and Soviet satellites are fearful of aggression by either side. Vishinski laughed at proposals for peace - however this was a great blunder on part of Vishinski as reaction in Europe to proposal was serious and considerate. Eisenhower and McNarney have done a prodigious job on NATO program under most trying circumstances. Meeting with Adenauer resulted in a guarantee to Germans that an attack on Germany will be considered as an attack on us. Difficulty is our inability to negotiate treaty with Germany as the country is now divided and is not sovereign. Germany is faced with problem with British and French who say they can't afford to pay one cent for support of troops in Germany. German expenditure for this purpose is ½ of all the money she can raise for defense purposes. Financial and supply problems for a united Western Europe are the serious bottlenecks in getting this NATO program underway. Unless we in the U. S. can get together to make sure what we have done so far in Europe is not allowed to disintegrate in the next 60 to 90 days - we must bolster our European allies or we are sunk. This far transcends even the importance of the Far East.
Agreed that we must take affirmative action in next few months if we are to save Western Europe. Is convinced that if Western Europe program goes forward successfully it will be a major deterrent to Soviet aggression. Economic situation in Europe is critical due largely to inflation of costs of materials and commodities thru out the world which are vital to production in European countries in order to stabilize their economics.
We are in a very serious situation on our national budget. It is the most serious we have had to determine. It looks like a possible 15 billion dollar deficit in fiscal 1953.
Thinks we will be OK for fiscal 52 but may run into real trouble in 1953. Controls on banks are being broken through with long time commitments and loans which is putting great strain on government finances. Unless Congress goes along with same real controls on our economy our inflationary problems will skyrocket.
U.S. troops in Europe are superb from point of view of morale and discipline. If we can give a little more equipment and supplies to troops by the end of 6 months a sneak attack by Soviet would be difficult to accomplish. We cannot have a static army in Europe. We must continue to improve and build our forces in Europe.
Warned Cabinet that the work of the last 4½ years cannot be allowed to go by the boards and permit Congress to sabotage our accomplishments to date.
Cabinet presented to Pres a gift.
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