The Long Entanglement: NATO's First Fifty Years

By Lawrence S. Kaplan | Go to book overview

3
The Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949

Chapter 3 notes the hurdles to be surmounted before the Military Assistance Program could be accepted by the U.S. Senate. This study was published in a project I had undertaken for the Office of the Historian, Office of the Secretary of Defense, under the title A Community of Interests: NATO and the Military Assistance Program, 1948-1951 ( Washington, DC: OSD Historical Office, 1980).


PREPARING THE BILL

The signing of the North Atlantic Treaty and the publication of the Western Union requests for aid along with the U.S. favorable reply, all in the first week of April 1949, brought the Military Assistance Program closer to fulfillment. There were still numerous obstacles to be overcome, however, before the program could be presented for congressional approval. One of the more troublesome was the difference in viewpoint between the State and Defense Departments which lay beneath the surface of unanimity maintained within the Foreign Assistance Correlation Committee (FACC) and the European Coordinating Committee (ECC) in negotiations with Europeans. To a degree the difference was functional: Defense tended to think of U.S. security in terms of the military capabilities of the various world powers, while the State Department usually gave more weight to the political factors.

A major source of dissent emerged from the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State, directed by George F. Kennan. While acknowledging

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