Memorandum by the Policy Committee on Arms and Armaments


PCA PD–10 (Revised)

Subject: Policy of the Department of State with Respect to Arms, Ammunition, and Implements of War for the Other American Republics1


Commercial Sales

It shall hereafter be the policy of the Department to approve commercial transfers or sales of arms, ammunition, and implements of war to all other American Republics provided that such sales or transfers are determined to come within the following criteria already established for authorization of transfers to foreign countries:
If the transfer is determined to be reasonable and necessary to enable a country to maintain internal order in the reasonable and legitimate exercise of constituted authority, or
If the transfer is determined to be reasonable and necessary to enable a country to provide for and to exercise its right of self-defense against armed attack, a right recognized in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations,2
If the transfer is determined to be reasonable and necessary to assist a country to discharge its international responsibilities for (1) furnishing contingents to the Security Council pursuant to Article 43 of the Charter of the United Nations and (2) carrying out military occupation in enemy or ex-enemy territory;
and provided that such sales or transfers will not jeopardize the U.S. objectives with respect to arms standardization in the American Republics.
It is understood that exceptions to the above may be made:
For reasons of military security, or
Under special circumstances involving serious political disturbances or strained international relations.
[Page 213]

Government Sales

Pending action by Congress on the Inter-American Military Cooperation Bill,3 no further sales of Government arms should be promoted nor any programs initiated or approved. Any requests for Government arms received from Latin American governments should, however, be reviewed by the Department and approved if considered reasonable and necessary, provided such action is not considered to affect adversely the position of the Executive vis-à-vis the Congress with respect to the requested enactment of the Inter-American Military Cooperation Bill.


A quantitative reference to military programs will be considered as only one of the factors bearing upon a decision in any particular case.
If and when the pending Inter-American Military Cooperation Bill is approved by the Congress, the Department shall again review and analyze its arms policy with respect to Latin America.
  1. Adopted at the regular meeting of the Committee, January 30, 1948, and subsequently approved by the Under Secretary (Lovett).
  2. Department of State Treaty Series No. 993, or 59 Stat. 1031.
  3. House Document No. 3836, 80th Cong., 1st sess., “The Inter-American Military Cooperation Act”; for text of draft bill submitted to the Congress by President Truman on May 23, 1947, see Department of State Bulletin, June 8, 1947, p. 1121.