810.20 Defense/2293: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Chile ( Bowers )

351. Your 478, March 25, 2 p.m. Since the Inter-American Defense Board is to function as a permanent body of experts to study and recommend measures for the defense of the continent in the light of changing circumstances, rather than as a conference of limited duration, no official agenda has been issued. For your guidance and, in your discretion, for the information of appropriate Chilean officials [Page 19] the War Department considers that the Board will probably wish to study and formulate recommendations on such matters as the following:

Exploration of all possible contingencies involving a direct attack on the American continent and calling for joint defensive action by the American republics, with special reference to particular strategic or vulnerable areas.

The drafting of recommendations for joint war-plans to meet such contingencies by the coordinated action of the armed forces of the American republics, such plans to be developed and perfected in the light of changing circumstances so that they may at any moment be put into prompt execution.

Recommendations for the present stationing and disposition of the armed forces available to the American republics with a view to assuring the most immediate and effective execution of the appropriate war-plans in case of direct attack on the American continent.

Recommendations for adapting the communication facilities of the American republics, including airports, to the requirements of continental defense.

Recommendations for comprehensive civilian defense programs, including plans for the evacuation of civilians from war-areas, to be adopted by the American nations in accordance with their circumstances.