Notes on National Security Council Meeting, July 20, 1961
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Notes on National Security Council Meeting
July 20, 1961
General Hickey, Chairman of the Net Evaluation Subcommittee, presented the annual report of his group. General Lemnitzer stated that the assumption of this year's study was a surprise attack in late 1963, preceded by a period of heightened tensions.
After the presentation by General Hickey and by the various members of the Subcommittee, the President asked if there had ever been made an assessment of damage results to the U.S.S.R which would be incurred by a preemptive attack. General Lemnitzer stated that such studies had been made and that he would bring them over and discuss them personally with the President. In recalling General Hickey's opening statement that these studies have been made since 1957, the President asked for an appraisal of the trend in the effectiveness of the attack. General Lemnitzer replied that he would also discuss this with the President.
Since the basic assumption of this year's presentation was an attack in late 1963, the President asked about probable effects in the winter of 1962. Mr. Dulles observed that the attack would be much less effective since there would be considerably fewer missiles involved. General Lemnitzer added a word of caution about accepting the precise findings of the Committee since these findings were based upon certain assumptions which themselves might not be valid.
The President posed the question as to the period of time necessary for citizens to remain in shelters following an attack. A member of the Subcommittee replied that no specific period of time could be cited due to the variables involved, but generally speaking, a period of two weeks should be expected.
The President directed that no member in attendance at the meeting disclose even the subject of the meeting.
Declassified: June, 1993
- James K. Galbraith and Heather A. Purcell (Fall 1994). "Did the U.S. Military Plan a Nuclear First Strike for 1963?". The American Prospect.