WAR AND PEACE IN THE NUCLEAR AGE – TAPE DO5002 ROSWELL GILPATRIC [3]

Hot Springs Speech, 1961

Interviewer:
...TAKE YOU BACK TO THAT HOT SPRINGS SPEECH OF OCTOBER 1961. DOES THAT SPEECH, WHICH IS NOW KNOWN AS THE "MISSILE GAP" SPEECH, WAS THAT RELATED AT ALL TO WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN BERLIN?
Gilpatric:
Yes, it was related both to Berlin and to the discussions which we were having with our allies in NATO, but...
Interviewer:
CAN I STOP YOU FOR A MINUTE?...
Gilpatric:
The... the Hot Springs speech, which I gave on October 21st, 1961, has its origin in two basic purposes of the Kennedy administration. One was aimed at the Soviet Union and the ongoing problems we were having in regard to access to Berlin. The second objective was the state of mind of our allies, who... were being urged to beef up the conventional forces of the alliance, so you had those two objectives: we wanted to convince the Soviet Union that we were ready to take on any threat in the Berlin area, we wanted to persuade our allies... to go along with the controlled or flexible response doctrine that we were trying to sell to the NATO alliance at that period.
Interviewer:
HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT SPEECH?
Gilpatric:
Well, I can only say that the President read it; the President read the speech in advance, Mac Bundy prepared parts of it; parts of it were prepared by people like Adam Yarmolinsky, one of McNamara's assistants... McNamara and I went over it, and worked on it, and then I took it over personally, and had it cleared by Dean Rusk, who made some changes. So it was a across-the-board administration effort, in the national security area, and as to the effect of it, I only can say that I went to Europe immediately thereafter, and I saw people like Harold Watkinson, the minister of defense for Great Britain, I saw Andreotti, who was then the minister of defense in Italy, and I saw Franz Joseph Strauss. And it made my negotiations in those three quarters easier, having been allowed to set forth, in, for the public use, the... in-, data that was in that speech.

U.S. Dept. of Defense and Air Force relations

Interviewer:
DO YOU RECALL ANY PROBLEMS BETWEEN MCNAMARA AND THE AIR FORCE?
Gilpatric:
The, the... The only real cleavages that McNamara had with the Air Force was in the formulation of the missile program. And, and I would pinpoint that with the Minuteman program; we had a very wide divergence between what the Air Force wanted, what General LeMay wanted, General White, General Power, and what we felt... was needed in Minuteman 1, 2, and 3 planning. This was over and above the Polaris program and the Poseidon program. But that was the, that was the sharpest point of difference that existed between McNamara and the Air Force.
Interviewer:
FORGIVE ME IF I'M CONFUSING THIS, BUT WAS IT YOU WHO TOLD ME ABOUT A TRIP THAT YOU AND KENNEDY AND MCNAMARA TOOK TO SOMEWHERE, AND YOU WERE GETTING INTO A CAR, AND POWER SAID SOMETHING ABOUT "SOON WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SO MANY"
Gilpatric:
No, no.
Interviewer:
HOW DID MCNAMARA FEEL ABOUT THAT, HOWDID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE MINUTEMAN REQUIREMENT?
Gilpatric:
Well, we were taken aback when we first heard what the Air Force wanted, when they were talking about, well, initially it was several thousand; then it finally got down, as I recall it, to a request from the Air Force for funding of two thousand Minutemen, and the arguments over that number and some lesser number went on for a period of months. And finally we came up with a recommendation to the President of one thousand Minutemen, and that was a decision which the Air Force found very hard to take. And as I think I told you, do you want me to refer to the Goldberg mission? One, one indication of how strongly the Air Force felt about this issue was that when Secretary of Labor Goldberg was sent out to the missile installations to settle some jurisdictional strikes in connection with the installation work, the Air Force did a real selling job on Goldberg to the point that when he came back, without talking to me or to McNamara, he went right to the President with a very strongly worded recommendation that, the Secretary of Defense was wrong and the Air Force was right. The issue was so sensitive that McNamara wasn't even told about it; Kennedy told it to me and told me that he wasn't going to pay any attention to Goldberg's recommendations. But the fact that the Air Force had gone over the heads of everybody in the Defense Department to the Secretary of Labor to get him to present their case to the President indicated how strongly they felt.
Interviewer:
WAS THIS FRUSTRATING FOR YOU?
Gilpatric:
I... frustrating isn't the word I'd, would come to my mind. I felt that we were dealing in an, in a, in a new, unexplored area; we'd, we'd this was a new system, we'd start out with the Titans and of course the Jupiters and the Polarises were already in production, but the Minuteman program, it was of such dimensions, like the MX program is today, it was the biggest thing on the horizon, and it involved not only a great deal of defense resources, but it involved a disproportionate amount of application of those resources to one weapon system. We already had the other elements in the triad; we had the B-52s, the B-47s were still flying, and we had Polaris coming along, with the Poseidon. So, it was, it was the first major issue over weapon systems that the McNamara administration had with one of the services.
Interviewer:
AND FOR THEM IT WAS A KIND OF, THE FIRST TIME THEY'D BEEN CHALLENGED.
Gilpatric:
The Air Force attitude, I think, was, motivated in part by the fact they saw the Navy getting a jump ahead of them in the, in the intercontinental ballistic missile... race. And they didn't want to get left behind, they didn't w-, they wanted to have... all three legs of the triad, not just the two. So it became, it became a real crusade on the part of the Air Force, to establish themselves as the, as the dominant factor in the, in the strategic weapons area, and it was, it was Air Force being the youngest of the services, having the furthest to go as I knew from my own experience during the Korean War, when I was secretary of the Air Force, I knew they were, they were very gung-ho and when they... got on something like this, they'd use every method they had, with the Congress, with the public, as well as within the administration.
Interviewer:
GENERAL LEMAY, I UNDERSTAND, HAD A LOT OF CONGRESSIONAL FRIENDS.
Gilpatric:
Yes. The Air Force had planted, or at least had arranged that many of the Congressional staff were members of the Air Force Reserve, this wasn't a new phenomenon, the Navy and the Army had done it for years. But the Air Force made the strongest pitch at that standpoint to come up with a program that would really overwhelm the limits of the defense budget as McNamara saw them. Now he was under no constraints from the White House or from the Bureau of the Budget, but he himself had to be convinced of the dimensions of what he was recommended, and he took that very seriously.
Interviewer:
I GUESS YOU WEREN'T THE MOST POPULAR GUY IN THE US AIR FORCE.
Gilpatric:
No, they felt I was a turncoat. Here I was one of their men that had come up to the OSD level, the... Office of Secretary of Defense level, and I was not supporting the cause of the, of the Air Force... personnel.
Interviewer:
IS THAT ONE OF THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING FOR YOU, IN YOUR TENURE THERE?
Gilpatric:
Well, the... equally frustrating, to me and to McNamara, was our experience with the TFX, where we tried to get the Navy and the Air Force to accept a common design for a tactical fighter, and we had a, we had a very bloody and a very prolonged controversy, both with the Air Force and the Navy; neither one of them wanted to let the other determine how their requirements were to be met, and the theory of commonality, which was very important to McNamara, he thought that wherever possible you shouldn't have duplicates or triplicates of weapon systems that became a very painful issue for us.
[END OF TAPE D05002 AND TRANSCRIPT]