154. Memorandum for the Record1
Washington, September 18, 1961.
- Meeting with the President on the Military Build-Up and Possible Action in Europe2
- Prior to the meeting of the principals, I gave the President the attached memorandum3 outlining the probable course of the discussion. Mr. Bundy argued against any call-up at this time because of the adverse impact on the negotiating attitude of the USSR. After some debate, the President indicated a readiness to approve calling up two divisions at this time, withholding a decision on the other two to a later date.
- When the main meeting began, Mr. McNamara presented his paper, subject: “Military Build-Up and Possible Action in Europe,”4 and explained the general content. The President then went over the entire paper, which included General Norstad’s cable. He noted General Norstad’s statement that NATO intelligence credited the Soviets with a capability of committing 100 divisions in the central front, whereas DoD estimate was 55 divisions.
- General LeMay reported the split in the Joint Chiefs to the effect that the Chairman and the Army favored sending up [to?] six divisions to Europe, whereas the other Chiefs opposed a decision to send any divisions now. They would support, however, some call-up of Guard divisions. Specifically, they would recommend calling up two divisions.
- The President indicated his hope that any divisions called up would be converted rapidly to AUS, hopefully within 6 months. Mr. McNamara indicated that the Army was very keen to convert these divisions, but he was doubtful at this time. He is not sure that the permanent establishment needs two additional divisions, and is particularly impressed [Page 429] by the probable magnitude of the ’63 budget which, on the first go-round, amounts to $64 billion. He indicated satisfaction with a decision to call up a two-division package now amounting to 75,000 individuals.
- Secretary Rusk, via Mr. Kohler, indicated complete support for the Defense recommendations (i.e., four divisions now, one division to Europe). He indicated no concern over the impact of such action on current negotiations.
- In the end, the President approved the call-up of an infantry and an armored division with supporting forces, the effective date being somewhere from October 1st to October 15th. He directed Secretary McNamara to prepare a press release explaining the need for these divisions based upon world-wide requirements. He indicated a willingness to reconsider the need for an additional call-up in a few weeks.
- Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 35, 6B NATO. Top Secret. Prepared by Taylor.↩
- Taylor met with the President and Bundy at 4:30 p.m.; the main meeting began at 5.↩
- A copy of this 2-page memorandum is in the National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 35, 6B NATO.↩
- A copy of this 13-page memorandum, dated September 18, is in Department of State, NSAMs: Lot 72 D 316. It was drafted in response to NSAM No. 92, Document 144.↩
- Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.↩