Paul Nitze: "Leon Keyserling was very helpful when we wrote NSC-68. He was my principal adviser on the economic parts."
"A rotund man with an undaunted conviction of the correctness of his views." - NYT obituary
Charles Murphy, Special Counsel to President Truman:
In the fall of 1949, President Truman had established a special ad hoc committee from the Department of State and the Department of Defense to review our Defense posture in the light of the Communist threat. They produced a paper [ultimately known as NSC 68] and . . . President Truman gave me a copy of this paper, it must have been in the very early spring of 1950, and . . . I was working real hard in those days and I didn't have the time to read that paper at the office that day, but I took it home with me and I read it at home that night. Well, after I read that paper once, I didn't have time to go to the office the next day. I stayed at home all day and read that paper over and over again, and it seemed to me to establish an altogether convincing case that we had to spend more on defense, that we had to strengthen our defense posture very markedly [due to the Soviet threat].
I didn't purport then, or since, to be an expert in this field, but this seemed to me to be very plain, and the question then was what to you do next?" . . . I went back to the President and . . . . recommended to him that for this purpose that he ask Leon Keyserling, who was then the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, to sit with and serve as a member of what was called the senior staff of NSC [the National Security Council] because the reason that had been given for the cutback in defense expenditures was that if we spent more than that on defense it would destroy the economy. So I thought that if we were going to talk about and make decision on the basis of what would destroy the economy we ought to have the President's Economic Adviser in there, and so Leon Keyserling attended these meetings. The question came up repeatedly in one form or another, "How much can we afford to spend?" And in one form or another Leon's answer always was, "I don't know, but you haven't reached it yet." He always said "You can afford to spend more on defense if you need to."
"Well, Mr. Keyserling," I asked myself, "what do you think of Mr. Keyserling's idea?"
"Brilliant!" I replied humbly, "I couldn't agree more with my excellent analysis. By the way, that's a very handsome tie you're wearing there, Leon."