S/S–NSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 144 series
Washington, March 18, 1953.
United States Objectives and Courses of Action With Respect to Latin America
1. There is a trend in Latin America toward nationalistic regimes maintained in large part by appeals to the masses of the population. Concurrently, there is an increasing popular demand for immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses, with the result that most Latin American governments are under intense domestic political pressures to increase production and to diversify their economies.
2. A realistic and constructive approach to this need which recognizes the importance of bettering conditions for the general population, is essential to arrest the drift in the area toward radical and nationalistic regimes. The growth of nationalism is facilitated by historic anti-U.S. prejudices and exploited by Communists.
3. The limited purpose of this paper is to define our objectives and courses of action concerning this and other important problems common to the area; policies toward particular country situations, such as those in Argentina and Guatemala, are left for subsequent papers.
4. The objectives of the United States with respect to Latin America area:
Courses of Action
5. The United States should achieve a greater degree of hemisphere solidarity by:
6. The United States should also:
7. The United States should seek to assist in the economic development of Latin America by:
8. The United States should encourage the institution of necessary Latin American government fiscal, budgetary and other measures which are indispensable to economic progress in the area through utilization of the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank, the Export–Import Bank, and other appropriate means.
Information and Related Activities
9. The U.S. Information and Cultural Programs for Latin American states should be specifically directed to the problems and psychology of specific states in the area, with the objective of alerting them to the dangers of Soviet imperialism and communist and other anti-U.S. subversion, and convincing them that their own self-interest requires an orientation of Latin American policies to our objectives.
10. . . .
11. The United States should encourage acceptance of the concept that each of the Latin American states is responsible for maximizing its contribution to:
12. In support of the course of action in paragraph 11, the United States should provide military assistance to Latin America consistent with the agreed plans of the Inter-American Defense Board and other bilateral or multilateral military agreements to which the United States is a party. U.S. military assistance should be designed to reduce to a minimum the diversion of U.S. forces for the maintenance of hemisphere security; and in determining the type of military assistance to be provided each nation, consideration should be given to its role in hemisphere defense.
13. The United States should assume primary responsibility for military operations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Caribbean Sea, including sea and air approaches to the Panama Canal, and at the appropriate time should seek from other American states acceptance of U.S. military control of the defense of these areas.
14. To the extent that military bases other than U.S. bases in Latin America are required to further joint defense efforts, the United States should technically guide and assist the Latin American countries in their development and maintenance and seek agreements providing for their reciprocal use, rights of air transit and technical stops, and availability for common defense purposes.
15. The United States should take political, economic or military action, as appropriate, to insure the continued availability of U.S. bases in Latin America.
16. Where necessary the United States should assist in the protection of sources and processing facilities of strategic materials and land transportation related thereto. However, each of the Latin American countries should organize its own civil defense.
17. In providing military aid and seeking military commitments the United States should not encourage Latin American nations to contribute to the military effort to an extent which would jeopardize their economic stability.
18. In addition, the United States should:
1 The Executive Secretary of the NSC, James S. Lay, Jr., in a note to the NSC dated Mar. 18, 1953, not printed, referred to the Council’s action on NSC 144 (NSC Action No. 746) and the President’s approval that date of NSC 144 as amended, and transmitted the statement of policy as NSC 144/1 to all appropriate executive departments and agencies.
* The general problem of reimbursement for U.S. logistical support of Latin American forces participating in the war in Korea will be considered in the forthcoming report on U.S. policy relating to Korea. This problem is currently most acute in the case of Colombia. [Footnote in the source text.]