810.20 Defense/1487/12a: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Diplomatic Missions in the American Republics Except Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay33

The following is the agenda prepared by the War Department for the proposed military staff conversations with the military officials of the government to which you are accredited:

“1. (a) Possible attacks by a foreign power on the American republic; the probable time, place, form, and objectives of such attacks;

(b) A similar consideration of possible internal attacks directed from outside the continent;

(c) The forms of aid desired from the United States by the other republic;

(d) The aid which the United States would desire, if its armed forces were sent to assist either the republic concerned or another American republic;

(e) The facilities the United States forces may require in extending aid; and their present condition, capacity, and availability;

(f) The preventive measures now in force to control subversive activities directed from outside the continent.

2. It is hoped that a free exchange of views on the foregoing topics will result in definite agreements on the measures to be taken:

To make each republic reasonably secure against surprise attacks directed against its government and its vital facilities;
To exchange all intelligence relating to continental security; and,
To permit the rapid and effective entry into action of United States armed forces, if and when their assistance has been requested by the republic threatened, and their employment has been authorized by the United States Government.”

The Navy Department has prepared the following agenda for the proposed naval staff conversations: [Page 21]

  • “(a) and (b). Same as War Department’s 1 (a) and (b);
  • (c) The establishment of agencies in the Navy Department of the republic concerned for effecting close cooperation in hemisphere defense;
  • (d) The establishment of local defense in the principal harbors, ports and anchorages;
  • (e) The duties of the operating forces assigned to local defenses, and of naval forces escorting convoys;
  • (f) The providing of special means of communications between Pan-American forces;
  • (g) The material condition of existing naval forces and the methods of effecting repairs;
  • (h) The establishment of an Intelligence Service to provide for prompt exchange of movements or actions of possible hostile forces;
  • (i) Methods of extending aid, when requested, to neighboring states;
  • (j) The security measures for the protection of existing naval forces and establishments.”

In communicating the above agenda to the appropriate officials of the government to which you are accredited and in informing them of the arrival of the officers you should emphasize in all your remarks that it is the earnest desire of this Government, which is doubtless shared by the governments of the other American republics, that the arrangements for and the proceedings of the staff conversations should be maintained in strictest confidence.

The officers designated to undertake the conversations will travel on diplomatic passports in order to insure the safety of such confidential material as they may carry with them. They will report in person to you upon arrival. They have instructions to conduct their staff conversations under the general directives of the chief of the diplomatic mission and to cooperate with each other in harmonizing the Army and Navy staff conversations.

You are requested to make available to these officers any assistance which they may require, including desk space, clerical assistance, the use of the codes of the Department, et cetera.

  1. The same to the Minister in Paraguay as telegram No. 26, August 15, 4 p.m. The same, omitting the naval agenda, to the Minister in Bolivia as telegram No. 33, August 21, 4 p.m.