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In January 1950, President Harry Truman requested a comprehensive review of U.S. national security policies for later consideration by the National Security Council. Responding to the president’s charge, the State Department Policy Planning Staff, led by Paul Nitze, completed National Security Memorandum 68 (NSC-68) in April 1950. Identifying the Soviet Union as the primary threat to the United States, NSC-68 depicted Soviet leaders as fanatical totalitarians bent on world domination. Concluding that the U.S. military was not prepared to resist Soviet aggression, NSC-68 called for massive, sustained increases in military spending.

In this memo to Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Edward W. Barrett discusses NSC-68 in light of the public’s potential reception of the document. --M. Loayza, Minnesota State University, Mankato


Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992)