Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of South American Affairs (Warren)


Subject: General problems of military policy toward Latin America.

Participants: Lt. Gen. M. B. Ridgway, OCSA
OSA—Amb. Warren
AR—Mr. Jamison

[Here follows a brief discussion of JCS policy regarding deployment of non-United States forces in Korea.]

General Ridgway said that he was anxious for the Inter-American Defense Board to undertake constructive work. He explained that the recent Department of Defense directive which makes the U.S. Delegation to the Defense Board responsible also for “monitoring” in the Defense Department military policy as it is developed for Latin America would contribute to such accomplishment.

With particular reference to the development of plans for encouraging Latin American countries to maintain units for possible UN [Page 672] action, General Ridgway said that he felt that the immediate objective should be to obtain a clear and definite decision, shared by both State and Defense. He said that it was his experience that the immediate response of the Latin Americans to any positive move on military policy by us was to ask us what assistance we would give to any steps they might take. He felt that we must be absolutely clear on what assistance we are prepared to make available before we should run the risk of arousing hopes and anticipations which we may later be unable to fulfill. If a favorable decision on this matter is reached, General Ridgway believed that the Defense Board might well undertake to develop plans for an integrated Latin American force. (He mentioned in passing the apparent reversal of the State and Defense positions from the earlier postwar period, during which the Department of State appeared definitely opposed to any military aid to Latin America which the Department of Defense then favored.)

General Ridgway said that he was meeting that afternoon with the other members of the U.S. Delegation to the Defense Board and would discuss with them the matters brought up by Ambassador Warren. As we left, General Ridgway again emphasized that his main immediate objective was to obtain from Defense and State a clear cut and fully agreed military policy toward Latin America before making any moves which, for lack of such definiteness, might later prove embarrassing.