80. National Security Action Memorandum No. 621


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Attorney General
  • Director, Bureau of the Budget
  • Director of Central Intelligence
  • Director, U.S. Information Agency


  • Berlin

Following the National Security Council meeting on Wednesday, July 19,2 the President approved the following for further guidance and instructions of the heads of the responsible departments and agencies:

1. Political

The President and the Secretary of State have carefully reviewed together the political situation relating to Berlin, and their position is being stated in Presidential messages to Macmillan, de Gaulle, and Adenauer.3 The President’s views will be further developed in his address to the nation July 25th.

2. Military

The President has authorized a prompt strengthening of the United States’ military position, in the light of the general international situation. While the steps immediately authorized are related to improvement of U.S. capabilities in the next twelve months, the President considers these decisions to be steps in a continuing program for strengthening the armed forces. He expects at a later date to review further proposals from the Secretary of Defense relating to the long-time military position of the U.S.

The President intends that all possible steps be taken, without a present call for major ground units of the reserves or the National Guard, to give the U.S. the capability of deploying as many as six additional divisions and supporting air units to Europe at any time after [Page 226] January 1, 1962, that the international situation may warrant it. In connection with an operating decision to effect such a deployment, further measures will be taken to maintain adequate ground forces in the United States.

In pursuit of this decision, the President has directed the submission to the Congress of proposals for appropriative and other legislative authority necessary for this program, without the present declaration of a National Emergency.

In particular, the President has authorized a request for increases amounting to $3.2 billion in new obligational authority. The measures approved are those listed in Attachment 1 of Annex C of the documents prepared under date of July 18, 1961, by the Interdepartmental Coordinating Group in response to NSC Action Memorandum No. 59 of July 14, 1961, with the exception of Items 8, 18, and 22 of Attachment 1, and one-half of the sum allotted for Items 10A and 10C.4

The President directed that negotiations be undertaken immediately with our allies looking toward their parallel participation in such a higher level of military readiness. In these discussions there will be no initial indication of any U.S. willingness to increase military assistance to our allies for these purposes.

3. Economic

The President approved the policy set forth in Annex B of the report of July 18 with regard to economic sanctions in the event of interference with access to West Berlin, and authorized immediate negotiations with our major allies on such a policy.

The President directed the preparation of a tax proposal to be presented first in his radio address of July 25th. He decided that a decision on a request for stop-gap control legislation should be deferred until the latter part of August.

4. Information

The President assigned to the Director of the U.S. Information Agency the responsibility for coordinating the information activities of the U.S. Government capable of advancing international understanding of the U.S. position on Berlin.

McGeorge Bundy
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, NSAMs. Top Secret. Copies were sent to Lemnitzer, Sorensen, Taylor, and Kohler.
  2. See Document 77.
  3. See Document 79.
  4. NSAM No. 59 is printed as Document 68; regarding the documents prepared in response to NSAM No. 59, see footnote 3, Document 75.