Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for International Studies, May 1954

How to Start a War

Web editor's note: Max F. Millikan was an economics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the 1950s. From 1951-52 he took a leave of absence to serve as assistant CIA director. Upon returning he became director of MIT's Center for International Studies, which was funded by the CIA and Ford Foundation.

In Millikan's letter to CIA director Allen Dulles, "C.D." refers to C.D. Jackson, who in 1953 was appointed by Eisenhower to be his special assistant for psychological warfare activities.

The document referred to in this cover letter was published for the first time in Universities and Empire: Money and Politics in the Social Sciences During the Cold War, edited by Christopher Simpson (New York: The New Press, 1998). The document, written by Millikan and Walt W. Rostow, takes a hard line on international relations. The authors promote military security as the top priority, which in turn insures free markets and continued economic growth. Part IV, referred to in the cover letter, begins as follows: "First, any possible salvage of all or part of Indo-China requires that the Indo-Chinese believe we are in Asia to stay, not merely in a military sense, but politically and economically as well...."

Letter from Millikan to Dulles

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for International Studies
?0 Memorial Drive
Cambridge ??, Massachusetts

May 21, 1954

Mr. Allen W. Dulles
2430 E Street N.W.
Washington 25, D.C.

Dear Allen:

      I am sending to you and Dick Bissell only an interim revision of the document we emerged with on Saturday noon at Princeton. It includes certain urgent minor revisions suggested by this group; but we have been instructed to prepare a new and developed version over the next month, embracing certain features of substance and presentation not attempted here that we all agree are badly needed. This interim revision is merely to let you see roughly where we came out on the first go-round.

      We have made this interim revision and are sending it to you at C.D.'s suggestion. He thought that it might be useful as background, should anything be launched in Asia as an economic backstop to our proposed collective security arrangements. You will note that Part IV of this document spells out briefly the main points made in the discussion of Asia late Saturday afternoon. Our feeling is that the situation in Asia represents not only an urgent need to launch something like this, but also an opportunity to launch it. If we do this, however, we should be prepared from the beginning with the larger perspective and larger plans roughly sketched out in this document.

                  Sincerely yours,


                  Max F. Millikan


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