Specific proposals should be studied for such changes in U.S. policies
and programs of military assistance and other military-associated
programs, projected over the next five years, as may be necessary to
carry out the new strategy. The basic strategy objective should be the
restructuring of Latin American military establishments to relate
country force levels, defense budgets and military capabilities as
closely as possible to the domestic resources available for military
purposes and to realistic current
and potential security threats, with dominant emphasis on the internal
security threat. The study should assess the political feasibility of
achieving any such restructure in the context of the Latin American
political scene and the possible contribution which might be made to
achieving the strategy objectives by regional institutions, such as the
OAS or IADB.
The study should include, but not be limited to, an examination of the
1. A critical analysis of how Latin American military forces should be
restructured in order to provide them with an increased capability to
respond more effectively to internal security threats.
2. Whether, and the extent to which, the concept of hemispheric defense
remains valid as a mission for Latin American forces and as a basis for
U.S. military assistance in Latin America.
3. The current role of Latin American military forces in civic action
with a view to determining whether military or civilian organizations
provide the better channel for socially and economically desirable
4. The utility of the Latin American military conscription system as a
means of providing security forces and of absorbing excess labor.
5. How to identify, develop, equip, train and insure the availability of
select units for OAS/UN peacekeeping assignments.
6. The proper balance between the roles of military and police units in
maintaining internal security.
7. The feasibility of a shift in U.S. military assistance to increasing
reliance upon credit sales instead of grants.
8. The feasibility of developing cooperative logistic arrangements and
common-use training facilities on either a bi-lateral or regional basis
among Latin American countries, including possible U.S.
9. The contribution of U.S. military training programs to the education
of Latin American military officers on the role of the military in a
democratic society, on the effect of military expenditures on economic
and social programs of the country, and on the need for continuing
adjustment and reorganizations of military forces to meet current
The study should analyze disproportionate military expenditures,
identified in the report of September 2, 1964 on NSAM 297, and the reasons for them, and
propose specific measures for their reduction which are likely both to
be politically feasible and to increase the effective utilization of
Johnson Library, National Security File, National Security Action
Memorandums, NSAM No. 297.
2 The report, prepared
by the Department of State, is ibid. Bundy evidently chaired an interagency meeting to
review the report on October 19. In an October 19 memorandum
Sayre briefed Bundy on the meeting, explaining
that the agencies could not agree on the proper use of military
assistance for internal security. (Ibid.) No substantive record of
the meeting has been found.
3 DOD submitted a draft report on
January 12, 1965. (Washington National Records Center, OSD/ISA Files: FRC 330 70 A 3717, Latin
America 1965, 320.2) Sayre
later explained that there was disagreement on the utility of the
draft report. According to Sayre, the report was “directed at how our military
policy should be financed and not at what the military policy should
be,” leading JCS and State to take
“sharp issue” with its conclusions. Rostow
considered the report a “pedestrian” effort. While trying to remain
neutral, Sayre insisted that
the NSC “wanted a study which
outlined a policy, not a financing arrangement.” (Memorandum from
Sayre to Bundy, March 8, 1965; Johnson
Library, National Security File, Name File, Sayre Memos) For a summary of the
final report, see Document 29.