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Appendix E

Copies of NSAMs 55, 56, and 57

Contained herein are copies of National Security Action Memorandum Numbers 55, 56, and 57 taken from Fletcher's own files when working in the Pentagon. As was his standard operating procedure, he xeroxed and saved copies of these for his own files at the point when he briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff on them (see page 170).

NSAM No. 55


June 28, 1961                                           




TO: The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
SUBJECT:  Relations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the President
in Cold War Operations

              I wish to inform the Joint Chiefs of Staff as follows with regard
to my views of their relations to me in Cold War Operations:

        a.  I regard the Joint Chiefs of Staff as my principal military
    advisor responsible both for initiating advice to me and for res-
    ponding to requests for advice. I expect their advice to come to
    me direct and unfiltered.

        b.  The Joint Chiefs of Staff have a responsibility for the defense
    of the nation in the Cold War similar to that which they have in con-
    ventional hostilities. They should know the military and paramilitary
    forces and resources available to the Department of Defense, verify their
    readiness, report on their accuracy, and make appropriate recommen-
    dations for their expansion and improvement. I look to the Chiefs to
    contribute dynamic and imaginative leadership in contributing to the
    success of the military and paramilitary aspects of Cold War programs.

        c.  I expect the Joint Chiefs of Staff to present the military view-
    point in governmental councils in such a way as to assure that the
    military factors are clearly understood before decisions are reached.
    When only the Chairman or a single Chief is present, that officer
    must represent the Chiefs as a body, taking such preliminary and
    subsequent actions as may be necessary to assure that he does in
    fact represent the corporate judgement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    - 2 -

        d.  While I look to the Chiefs to represent the military factor with-
    out reserve or hesitation, I regard them to be more than military men
    and expect their help in fitting military requirements into the over-all
    context of any situation, recognizing that the most difficult problem in
    Government is to combine all assets in a unified, effective pattern.



[signature of John Kennedy]                      







cc:   Secretary of Defense
General Taylor

NSAM No. 56


June 28, 1961                                           




TO: The Secretary of Defense
SUBJECT:  Evaluation of Paramilitary Requirements

The President has approved the following paragraph:

    "It is important that we anticipate now our possible future
    requirements in the field of unconventional warfare and
    paramilitary operations. A first step would be to inventory
    the paramilitary assests we have in the United States Armed
    Forces, consider various areas in the world where the
    implementation of our policy may require indigenous para-
    military forces, and thus arrive at a determination of the
    goals which we should set in this field. Having determined
    the assets and the possible requirements, it would then be-
    come a matter of developing a plan to meet the deficit."

The President requests that the Secretary of Defense, in coordina-
tion with the Department of State and the CIA, make such an
estimate of requirements and recommend ways and means to meet
these requirements.


McGeorge Bundy                      


cc:   Secretary of State
Director, CIA
General Maxwell D. Taylor



NSAM No. 57



June 28, 1961                                           




TO: The Secretary of State
The Secretary of Defense
The Director, CIA

The President has approved the attached recommendation:

The Special Group (5412 Committee) will perform the functions
assigned in the recommendation to the Strategic Resources



McGeorge Bundy                           



  cc:   General Maxwell D. Taylor

cc:   Mrs. Lincoln
Mr. Smith
Mr. McG. Bundy file












          1.  For the purpose of this study, a paramilitary operation is
considered to be one which by its tactics and its requirements in
military-type personnel, equipment and training approximates a con-
ventional military operation. It may be undertaken in support of an
existing government friendly to the U.S. or in support of a rebel group
seeking to overthrow a government hostile to us. The U.S. may render
assistance to such operations overtly, covertly or by a combination of
both methods. In size these operations may vary from the infiltration
of a squad of guerillas to a military operation such as the Cuban invasion.
The small operations will often fall completely within the normal capa-
bility of one agency; the large ones may affect State, Defense, CIA, USIA
and possibly other departments and agencies.

          2.  In order to conduct paramilitary operations with maximum effec-
tiveness and flexibility within the context of the Cold War, it is recommended
that current directives and procedures be modified to effect the following:

           a.  Any proposed paramilitary operation in the concept state
    will be presented to the Strategic Resources Group for initial con-
    sidertation and for approval as necessary by the President. There-
    after, the SRG will assign primary responsibility for planning, for
    interdepartment coordination and for execution to the Task Force,
    department or individual best qualified to carry forward the operation
    to success, and will indicate supporting responsibilities. Under
    this principle, the Department of Defense will normally receive
    responsibility for overt paramilitary operations. Where such an
    operation is to be wholly covert or disavowable, it may be assigned
    to CIA, provided that it is within the normal capabilities of the
    agency. Any large paramilitary operation wholly or partly covert
    which requires significant numbers of military trained personnel,
    amounts to military equipment which exceed normal CIA-controlled
    stocks and/or military experience of a kind and level peculiar to the
    Armed services is properly the primary responsibility of the
    Department of Defense with the CIA in a supporting role.

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