810.20 Defense/6–2248

The Secretary of Defense (Forrestal) to the Secretary of State


Dear Mr. Secretary: I am forwarding herewith, for your information, a copy of a memorandum which was recently prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in anticipation of the probable passage of the proposed Inter-American Military Cooperation Act (H.R. 3836, 80th Congress, 1st Session). Although this legislation was not adopted during the last session of Congress, I believe that the conclusions reached by the Joint Chiefs of Staff will nevertheless be of considerable interest to your Department. Moreover, in view of the possible enactment during [Page 216] the next Congress of some such law, these conclusions should serve as a useful guide in considering problems of Latin American aid.

Sincerely yours,

James Forrestal

Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense (Forrestal)


Subject: Implementation of the Inter-American Military Cooperation Act

In accordance with a memorandum to them from the Chief of Staff, United States Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have studied the question of levels of implementation of the proposed Inter-American Military Cooperation Act (H.R. 3836, 80th Congress, 1st Session) on which action is scheduled in the current session.

As a result of the study the Joint Chiefs of Staff have concluded that:

It is not practicable for the Joint Chiefs of Staff to establish levels of implementation under the proposed Inter-American Military Cooperation Act or the phasing of such implementation until combined Western Hemisphere defense schemes have been approved for planning purposes.
With due consideration to the factors involved, it is practicable and desirable for the United States to furnish, as an interim measure, some such munitions and services as might be made available to the other American states in the interest of military cooperation.
Since levels of implementation under the proposed Inter-American Military Cooperation Act cannot at this time be related to combined Western Hemisphere defense plans, it would appear appropriate for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in implementation of the policy in SWNCC 4/101 approved by the President (SWNCC 4/12) to indicate general guidance, from the military point of view, to the Department of State and the National Military Establishment for interim provision of munitions and services to the other American states.

Accordingly, they would suggest that if and when the bill is enacted, bilateral conversations with each of the American states be held as soon thereafter as practicable to bring the Bilaterial Staff Conversations of 1945 up to date and to indicate to those governments the extent to which the United States would make available arms and equipment based on the following general considerations:

That it should be the policy of the National Military Establishment, through its several departments, to provide to the other American [Page 217] states munitions (with maintenance and replacement parts) and training in the use and upkeep of such munitions.
That, as an interim measure and in advance of the formulation of a Western Hemisphere defense plan, programs for initial implementation should be established by the several military departments leading to the standardization and modernization of the present armed forces of the other American states by:
Replacement of obsolete and non-United States arms and equipment within each of the armed forces required to effect standardization and modernization of these forces without materially disturbing relative strengths among countries and with consideration being given to the recommendations contained in the Bilateral Staff Conversations of 1945.
Reorganization in accordance with United States organization practices, and supply of other munitions accordingly coupled with indoctrination, training and duty under United States supervision.
That the amounts of munitions provided and/or procured by the United States services for export under these programs should be allocated to each American state by each military department after consideration of the following factors:
Availability of such munitions for this purpose in light of our requirements and commitments, both present and prospective (for example, aid to Western Europe).
Capability of each American state to compensate the United States for what it receives.
Ability of each American state to properly utilize and care for the munitions requested.
Desirability, from the standpoint of United States security, of improving current status of the armed forces of specific American states.
That in implementation of the Canada-United States Basic Security Plan, Canada should receive first consideration among the other American states.
Approval by the Department of State as to the political and economic desirability of each state’s interim program.
That these programs for initial implementation should be amenable to modification to meet political and military conditions as they arise.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff request that, if you concur, these views be furnished the Secretaries of State, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force for their general guidance.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
William D. Leahy
Fleet Admiral, U.S. Navy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces