Korean Climate

Mean Temp 28.6°C 83.48°F at Taegu    

Heavy Overcast

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

Korea Temps - 1950-1953 - Station 143 (Daegu)


April 25, 1950 (Tuesday)



The paper was presented formally to the National Security Council on April 25. It was discussed and, as Acheson (wrongly) put it in his memoir, "became national policy." In fact, NSC68 was in no way "implemented." When Truman asked the JCS for a cost estimate ("I will not buy a pig in a poke," he wrote the Pentagon), the chiefs came back with a figure of about $40 billion a year. In the existing fiscal climate, Acheson later conceded with masterful understatement, it was "doubtful" that such vast expenditures would be seriously considered by the Truman administration, and they were not. In sum, Acheson had "won" an internal academic exercise, but the Truman-Johnson pinchpenny views on military spending continued to prevail.[1-43]

* * *
In the meantime, Congress received Truman's fiscal year 1951 military budget, Johnson's first fat cutting $12.3 billion* effort. Johnson proudly and deceitfully boasted to Congress that his austerity program was providing "significantly more powerful military forces within the same dollar requirements." In a famous, oft-quoted, and silly remark, Johnson crowed that if the Russians hit America at 4:00 A.M., America's atomic bombers would strike back by 5:00 A.M.[1-44]

*The exact figure was $12,333,294,000 for the armed services. To this was added a request for $800 million for administration of the new Department of Defense, for a grand total of $13,133,294, usually shortened to "$13 billion." The budget still held the Air Force to forty-eight groups, the Navy to 238 combatant ships (including 7 fleet carriers), but country slicker Bradley had coaxed Truman and Johnson to increase the Army's "tactical" divisions from nine to ten. The total authorized manpower, still supported by a draft, was 1.5 million.




Bio   Bio   Bio

The military chiefs found themselves in a tough moral dilemma. They did not agree in the slightest with Truman's budget or Johnson's braggadocio. But Johnson was the civilian authority to whom they owed obedience and loyalty. They had either to support his orders or to resign. None elected to resign; they unanimously supported the Johnson budget.

This moment may have been the nadir of JCS history. Omar Bradley set the tone. He testified that "frankly, considering the intelligence estimates that we have available and realizing the amount of money which our economy can stand for defense is a presidential responsibility, I am in complete agreement with that ceiling." The budget did not give the chiefs all they wanted, he conceded, and there were vulnerabilities; but it was a "sound part of a long range program" designed to give "sufficient emphasis" to the vulnerabilities so that the "effectiveness is maximum, the risk is minimum within a few years." However, if there were a "critical change" in the intelligence estimates, Bradley assured Congress, he would "not hesitate" to ask for more. Later he added: "I emphasized in my statement—maybe I did not emphasize it sufficiently—that the eventual strength of our country depends upon its industrial capacity. We must not destroy that by spending too much [on the military] from year to year." Still later Bradley testified: "We must not spend the country into economic collapse."[1-45]

In his autobiography Bradley wrote that the president's military budget cutting "was a mistake, perhaps the greatest of Truman's presidency." He went on: "My support of this decision—my belief that significantly higher defense spending would probably wreck the economy—was likewise a mistake, perhaps the greatest mistake I made in my postwar years in Washington."[1-46]

The three military chiefs—Joe Collins, Hoyt Vandenberg, and Forrest Sherman—echoed Bradley's testimony. Of the three, Collins was the most obsequious and dishonest. When questioned about the Army's manpower cut from 677,000 to 630,000, he airily dismissed the cut by rationalizing that fewer men could be better equipped. Collins later testified glibly: "The $13 billion we get has been arrived at by a process of cross checks and evaluation and in my judgment it represents a sound and well balanced program as well as men and human frailties can foresee in the future."[1-47]

That actual budgets for fiscal years

1951 — $45,800,000,000 a tad over Johnsons $12.3 billion

1952 — $56,600,000,000

1953 — $43,300,000,000


Back on March 1, 1949, MacArthur had told a New York Times correspondent in Tokyo:

"Our defensive positions against Asiatic aggression used to be based on the west coast of the American continent. . The Pacific was looked upon as the avenue of possible enemy approach. Now . . . our line of defense runs through the chain of islands fringing the coast of Asia. It starts from the Philippines and continues through the Ryukyu Archipelago, which includes its main bastion, Okinawa. Then it bends back through Japan and the Aleutian Island chain to Alaska."

In subsequent interviews he said substantially the same thing to G. Ward Price and to William R. Matthews of the Arizona Daily Star. Like Acheson, on 12 January, he omitted both Formosa and Korea.

It is argued however that he did not say this, after Chiaang Kai Shek retreated to Formosa.

All this and yet the NSC-68 document said: 20 percent of America's gross national product would be devoted to the military establishment and that the United States would resist any Red threat to non-Red nations anywhere. A neat trick on a shoe-string budget.




Notes for Tuesday April 25, 1950