710.Consultation (3)A/159⅙

The American Representative (Spaeth) to the Adviser on Political Affairs (Duggan)

Dear Larry: Since the beginning of my work for the Committee, I have been seriously handicapped by the apparent reluctance of the Department to supply me with summaries of intelligence information bearing on problems within the Committee’s jurisdiction. I believe that this reluctance on the part of some officials in the Department is based upon a misunderstanding of the type of intelligence information which I need, and the use which I would make of it.

[Page 95]

With regard to the type of information which I require, I would stress that I am not interested in, and do not need, names of persons or sources of information. All that I require is a summary statement indicating that intelligence information, which the Department has reason to credit or accept, indicates the existence of specific problems relating to subversive activities in some part of the Hemisphere. I must, of course, have a full statement of the problem, and an indication of the country or place in the Hemisphere where it exists. To illustrate: I was tremendously aided in connection with the Rivera meeting27 on Entry and Exit of Persons by information from Buenos Aires that Nazi groups in Argentina have been organizing what amounts to an underground railway system to aid Germans seeking to escape from Brazil. This information not only confirmed my opinion with regard to the need for an immediate meeting of border officials, but affected the content of the measures proposed at Rivera. Furthermore, it was not necessary for me to know the source of the information in Argentina, the names of the Germans involved, or anything else of a more specific character; all that I needed to know was that our intelligence information established the existence of a specific problem within the jurisdiction of the Committee. And the same would be true of summaries of intelligence information relative, for example, to Falangist activity in Peru, or propaganda activities in Bolivia.

With regard to the use which I make of such information, I can state without qualification that it will not be made directly available to any member of the Committee. The Committee will benefit by it only as it may induce me, by reason of the indication of urgency or practical importance, to promote certain programs and recommendations more vigorously than others. It should be obvious that with problems as changing, as dynamic, as those with which we are concerned, it is imperative that the American Member of the Committee be supplied with current information which, by reference to specific problems, will indicate apparent weak spots in our political defense structure. Without such information it is difficult for me to assist in making the Committee a useful instrument of political defense, whether by keying its recommendations directly to practical problems, by revealing deficiencies in recommendations or programs already approved, or by laying the groundwork for consultation with the several governments.

In the instructions relative to the C. P. D. as originally drafted there was a direction that the missions forward: [Page 96]

“…28 by courier direct to the Embassy in Montevideo for transmission to the United States member of the Committee, the bimonthly summaries on activities in the American Republics by the Axis powers or states subservient thereto and any additional material or information dealing with important problems of subversive activities and political defense of the Hemisphere. Such information is for the guidance of the United States member and will be regarded as strictly confidential by him. Individual case reports need not be sent to Montevideo, except as they may be useful in illustrating a particular type of problem or action.”

In my opinion this paragraph, which, at the request of FC,29 was deleted from the instructions as finally sent to the missions, effectively stated my needs, and it is my opinion that the objective of prompt action in these times warrants an instruction which will enable me to receive information directly from the missions.

I understand that, pursuant to my request, FC is reconsidering its decision, and, pending a final disposition, I urge that Toop or Lampson30 be charged with the preparation of fortnightly reports which summarize the principal “weak spots” as evidenced by our intelligence information. It will be recalled that such an assignment was contemplated when I stated at the time of accepting my present position that it would be necessary to organize a unit which would service me with intelligence summaries bearing on the problems covered by Resolution XVII.

With best regards [etc.]

Carl Spaeth
  1. See translator’s summary of a letter from the Chairman of the Emergency Advisory Committee, October 16, infra.
  2. Omission indicated in the original.
  3. Division of Foreign Activity Correlation.
  4. John R. Toop and Edward T. Lampson, Division of the American Republics.