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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, October 07, 1949, Image 6

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Partial Text of Radford Statement
This is a partial text of Ad
miral Arthur W. Radford's
statement to the House Armed
Services Committee today:
At the outset, I should like to
state my position as clearly and as
forcefully as I can. The views which
I will express are my own. * • •
I testify as a citizen and as a pro
fessional student of warfare—not
merely as a naval officer whose
career has been largely devoted to
aviation. I am concerned with the
future of the Navy and the future
of naval aviation only as they ran
contribute to the security of our
Nation. • * *
As an aviator of almost 30 years'
experience I am a strong advocate
of air power. The national air
power of the United States is the
sum of our land air power and < ur
naval air power. That air power
is unquestionably the dominant fac
tor in our national security. Lest
there be any doubt about my per
sonal position in regard to the
assignment of roles and missions as
between land air power and naval
air power, I invite attention to the
fact that I was a party to the 1948
Key West Agreement on Roles and
Missions of the Armed Forces. That
agreement assigns strategic air war
fare as a primary mission of the
Air Forces. * * *
In giving you my frank views,
•ome criticism is inevitable. I regret
that this is so, for I realize how
necessary is the spirit of unity and
co-operation in our Armed
Forces. • • *
Issue of Seurity.
The fact that I have been called
to testify before you requires me
to be outspoken. I do so in the
hope that it will help speed the
time when a real meeting of minds
on vital Issues may be achieved
among all three services. Unifica
tion, like proper habits of thought
and morale, cannot be brought abut
by legislation alone. * * *
You had before you two distinct
major issues.
The first, concerning charges of
political and financial intrigue in
connection with the procurement of
the B-36, has been disposed of by
the committee.
The second major issue of the in
vestigation, which you are now con
sidering and with which my testi
mony is concerned, deals with the
kind of war for which this- country
should be prepared. I believe this
Issue to be by far the more signifi
cant, since the security of the United
States in the immediate and fore
seeable future is at stake.
Committee Findings Important.
Eventually the conclusions of the
committee will have a marked, if
not controlling influence upon the
kind of war this country will fight,
if we are forced to fight. Even more
grave—your conclusions may well
determine the kind of peace which
would follow such a conflict.
An aggressor nation can set the
fim* and place for initial military
operations, and hence may strongly
affect early defense measures.
However, if we are soundly organized,
trained and equipped, an enemy
cannot, in the final analysis, deter
mine the type of war we choose to
fight, to ultimate victory. Further
more, the type of war we plan to
fight must fit the kind of peace
we want. * * *
The testimony before this com
mittee thus far has been concerned
largely with the B-36 program. * * *
The B-36 has become, in the minds
of the American people, a symbol of
a theory of warfare—the atomic
blitz—which promises them a cheap
and easy victory if war should come.
Consequently, the American people,
and indeed the whole world, will
take your final action in this in
vestigation to be the approval or
disapproval of a theory of warfare
which, I am confluent, is not gen
erally accepted as sound by military
Since the B-36 does symbolize this
theory, this plane has attained an
importance out of proportion to the
real issues involved. It therefore
cannot be ignored.
B-36 Is Discussed.
I regret that this is true for I
; would prefer that I and other wit
nesses outline in a constructive man
iner the broad and vital problems
| affecting our national security be
! fore discussing the relative merits
of the B-36 as a weapon.
It is my intention to give you at
this point my views on the B-36.
* * * In considering whether the
B-36 is a satisfactory weapon we
must answer two basic questions:
First, can the B-36 be intercepted
and destroyed in unacceptable num
bers on unescorted missions at all
speeds and altitudes at which it can
Second, if the B-36 reaches a
target, can it hit what needs to be
hit from high altitude?
Can Intercept B-36.
The answer to the first question
is: Yes. the B-36 can be intercepted
and destroyed in unacceptable num
bers if it is unescorted. Today, in
| terms of the Air Force chart which
; was presented to this committee at
an earlier session, American planes
by day or night and at alU speed*
and altitudes which the B4& can
operate on military missions, can
“locate the bomber, intercept the
bomber, close on the bomber, and
destroy the bomber.” Our -present
ability to do this will increase
greatly during the service life of
the B-36. It is folly to assume that
a potential enemy cannot do as
T can sincerely say to you that
I hope that enemy bombers which
may attack our country in any
future conflict will be no better
than the B-36.
The second question concerns the
ability of the B-36 to hit what needs
to be hit from high altitude.
There are no significant develop
ments which have improved bomb
ing accuracy at 40,000 feet—under
battle conditions and without local
control of the air—over that which
obtained in the last war for bomb
ing at 20,000 feet. It was then found
that, to be effective, bombing often
had to be done at much lower
altitudes. It could be done effec
tively at any altitude only with
reasonable local control of the air
in the target area. Bombing at very
high altitude can be effective only
on targets of great area.
B-36 Claims Not Valid.
I am aware that you have been
given testimony calculated to show:
1. That the B-36 can, with ac
ceptable losses, perform unescorted
missions by day or by night:
2. That inadequate radar per
formances makes it difficult to inter
cept by day or by night at altitudes
over 40.000 feet;
3. That during the neat five-year*
there will be no night fighter capable
of giving the B-36 serious trouble;
4. That in time of war the B-36
from altitudes greater than 40,000
faet will be able to perform effective
and precise bombing by day and by
These assertions are not valid
The unescorted B-36 is unacceptably
vulnerable. The B-36 cannot hit
precision targets from very high
altitudes under battle conditions.
The facts on which I base my
conclusions cannot all be given to
you in open session.
(Admiral Radford interrupted his
testimony to introduce to the com
mittee several naval officers and
aeronautical engineers who will
testify later on technical matters.)
Role of Bomber in War.
We do not quibble over minor
differences of opinion as to the
range, speed and altitude of the
B-36. * * • Has the plane a reason
able chance to attack successfully
without sustaining unacceptable
losses? If it has not, the B-36 is a
billion dollar .blunder.
Before leaving the B-36 I shall
ask you to consider the broader
subject of the role of the slow, long
range, very heavy bomber in future
war. • • •
Are we as a Nation to have
“bomber generals” fighting to pre
serve the obsolete heavy bomber—
the battleship of the air? Like its
surface counterpart, its day is largely
A logical question is: What, then,,
should we have in its place?
I have stated that the B-36 is a
symbol of a theory of warfare gen
erally considered unsound by mili
tary men. If we do not accept that
theory of war, then a need for the
B-36 in quantity does not exist.
I feel that your committee must
have had these considerations in
mind when it sought to determine
whether the Air Force in concen
trating upon strategic bombing to
stjch an extent as to be injurious
to tactical aviation and the develop
ment of adequate fighter aircraft
and fighter techniques.
Tactical Planes Retarded.
The British and the United States
Navy today have jet fighters with
excellent high altitude performance.
Prom the testimony given to you in
this investigation and from state
ments which have appeared in the
public press it must be inferred
that the United States Air Force
does not have such fighters. If
this be the case, then emphasis in
Air Force thought on the heavy
bomber as the over-all answer to
our military problems has handi
capped fighter development in that
service. The retarded development
of flghtfers not only has distorted
evaluation of the vulnerability of
the high-level bombers; it also may
have grave implications in the de
fense of our own military bases and
in the defense of our own home
Summarizing the problem of over
emphasis on the heavy bomber at
the expense fo other types, it is my
opinion that the Air Force is con
centrating on slow, expensive, very
vulnerable, single-purpose, heavy
atomic bombers at the expense of
small fast bombers and extremely
high performance fighters for which
we now have such an urgent need
in great numbers. • • *
Air Force witnesses have given you
a detailed story of the ups-and
downs and crosscurrents which have
characterized the B-36 program
within the Air Force. As a naval
aviator interested- in. ail Important
aeronautic developments, I have
taken a professional interest in the
B-36 since, I first learned of it on
my return from the Pacific at the
close of the war. During all of 1948
and the first part of 1949, the period
during which the conflicts about the
B-36 were being resolved within the
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Air Force. I was the Vice Chief of
Naval Operations—the No. 2 military
man in the Navy Department. My
duties required intimate knowledge
of our over-all plans for national
Air Force Action Criticized.
Through the entire year of 1948
the Secretary of Defense and the
Navy Department were given the
impression in all official presenta
tions of which I was aware, that the
Air Force considered the B-36 to be
an unsatisfactory weapon. On the
morning of 12 January 1949, the
Chief of Naval Operations and I did
not know that the Air Force had
any plans for the B-36 other than
to cut-back its procurement. We
learned about the Air Force plan
for adltional procurement by read
ing the morning newspapers of that
date. * • *
However, several months prior to
this surprise announcement by the
Air Force, serious misgivings had
arisen within the armed services
in regard to the increasing accept
ance in some military circles, and
generally by the American public,
of the concept that we could, in
the event of war, buy a quick, easy,
cheap victory based on a bombing
blitz. It was apparent that complete
evaluation of all aspects of this
problem had to be undertaken in
order to reach sound conslusions
on its purely military factors. Ac
cordingly, in the fall of 1948 joint
studies were initiated to obtain such
With the knowledge that studies
of this nature were in progress,
the Air Force on two occasions—
the previously mentioned one in
early January, 1949, and again in
April, 1949—and as a matter of
urgency, requested approval of pro
grams involving large expenditures
of funds for more of the B-36s—a
plane whose employment in combat
is part and parcel of these atomic
blitz studies. * * •
The precipitate action by the Air
Force in January, 1949, placed Mr.
Forrestal and the chief of naval
operations, as a member of the
joint chiefs of staff, in the difficult
and anomalous position of cither
going along with the Air Force
plans or of repudiating them after
they had been announced to the
public and to the aircraft industry.
The testimony presented to you
shows that the B-36 was chosen
by the Air Force almost exclusive
ly in the basis that it is the only
“intercontinental” bomber now
available. This is a significant
point, and your committee should
explore it thoroughly. Under what
circumstances and by whom has
it been determined that a major
slice of the limited funds appropri
ated for national security be al
located to an “intercontinental”
bomber? Was this a joint deter
mination of all services? * * *
Summarizing the history of the
B-36, I believe that the Air Force
has based the need for large num
bers of this plane on unilaterally
determined military requirements.
They have done so without pro|>er
co-ordination with the other serv
ices and agencies which are equally
Interested in and responsible for
national security. • * *
I believe that this history of the
procurement of the B-36 in quan
tity in the military establishment
as a whole demonstrates the need
for careful procedures and appropri
ate safeguards for weapon develop
ment and procurement within the
Department of Defense.
Superimposed upon the services in
resolving these issues are the Sec
retary of Defense, the procedures for
budget formulation and review and
finally the Congress. It is my firm
belief that these processes are essen
tially sound and that they will
accomplish the necessary co-ordina
tion if carefully followed.
A clear statement of this principle
was written into the memorandum
for the record which Mr. Forrestal
made a part of the Key West agree
ment. This memorandum, still in
effect, states in part:
“Nothing in the foregoing shall, in
itself, be construed as placing arbi*
trary restrictions on those material
development programs and projects
of an individual service which are
considered essential by that service
* • * it is intended that an individual1
service is to be permitted to carry
through the development stage any
material improvement program or
new weapon development program
considered by that service to be
essential in the. interest of Increased
effectivness of its weapons, mate
rial, or equipment. The ultimate
application and utilization of the
product of such a development pro
gram shall, of course, be subject to
the examination and recommenda
tion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
on the basis of its contribution to
the over-all wa/ effort.”
I not only subscriDe to that state
ment, but feel strongly that it is
one of the pillars of unification. It
was disregarded by the Air Force
in the recent prosecution of the B-36
procurement program.
You have asked whether the de
cision to cancel the construction
of the aircraft carried United
States was sound. * * *
In testifying on this decision I
am aware that my personal opin
ions are well known and may be
misconstrued at this time as hav
ing a direct relationship to the
B-36. I must state emphatically,
therefore, that my views concern
ing the B-36 are not influenced in
any way by the decision to halt
construction of the carrier. * * *
Land and naval air power will each
have a vital job to do in any future
war. Each weapon system must be
carefully weighed on its own merits
in the light of its Intended con
tribution to the successful prose
cution of tasks assigned in our
joint plans for military emer
I believe the decision to halt
construction of this carrier was
made with a lack of appreciation
of two factors.
The first is the role of mobile
air power In future war,
The second is that the carrier
United States, as a prototype, was
a logical step in further develop
ment of an essential naval weapon
system. An understanding of its
value could only come through con
scientious and objective study, or
through experience.
Whether or not the Navy is at|
fault for this lack of understanding,
the fact is that we failed in our
efforts to bring to our sister services
—and to the American public at
large—an effective clear picture
showing how further development
of the aircraft carrier as a type, as
well as the Improved aircraft associ
ated with it, would add to the future
offensive power, not only of the
Navy, but of *11 the armed services
as a team. * * *
For myself, l am most deeply
concerned that a precedent has been
set to stop the logical development
of a valuable weapon system. It is
comparable to telling any large in
dustrial corporation that they shall
make no further efforts to improve
the quality of their product. It is
not in accord with our American
tradition of exploiting to the maxi- i
mum our capacity for ingenuity,
progress, and vision. It stultifies
that enterprise and flexibility which
have contributed so much to the
attainment of our present position
of leadership in the world.
No Meeting of Minds.
Before concluding my testimony,
I should like to discuss a subject
touched upon earlier: the nature
of a future war in relation to our
present problems. This is the heart
of the matters which you are in
vestigating. It is the subject which
other naval witnesses who will fol
low me can develop for you in
One fact stands out from (he
developments of the past two years
In the B-36 program and from the
testimony presented to you here by
officials of the Air Force.
One member of the defense team
in one branch of the Government!
asserts that the best guarantee for I
America’s security lies first in pre- ,
venting war by the threat of atomic ,
annihilation, and second in prose
cuting such a war of annihilation ]
If we have to fight. ).
The testimony that has been pre-i ‘
sented to you gives the over-all j"
impression that there is s meeting j1
of minds as to these theories ini]
the Department of Defense. This i
impression is wrong. * * * 1
Atlantic Pact Nations
Set Up 3-Man Group
For Defense Planning
By th* Associated Press
An important move toward set
ting up unified defense plans for
the North Atlantic area was taken
yesterday as a three-man stand
ing group was created by the new
North Atlantic Military Commit
The three men, who will be
working executives for the 12 na
tions in the North Atlantic Se
curity Pact, are:
For the United States—Gen.
Omar N. Bradley.
For the United Kingdom—Gen.
Sir William Morgan.
For France—Lt. Gen. Hall Ely.
Group to Meet Monday.
This standing group will hold
its first meeting in the Pentagon.
In a communique, the Military
Committee said this standing
group will act as an executive
body for the Military Committee.
It is to be organized so as to
function continuously with its
permanent site in Washington.
Ten military commanders of the
North Atlantic pact countries at
tended the first meeting of the
Military Committee to begin the
spadework on unified defense
Bradley Acts As Chairman.
Gen. Bradley, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, served as
chairman of the meeting.
The Military Committee was set
up Wednesday at the initial meet
ing of the North Atlantic Defense
Committee of which Defense Sec
retary Johnson is chairman. The
next turn in getting the ball roll
ing is organization of its work by
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