Draft Paper by the Regional Planning Adviser of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (Halle)

top secret

Development of U.S. Latin American Policy in Terms of U.S. World Objectives, 1950–1955

[Here follow background material and an assessment of the causes of dissatisfaction with United States policy on the part of the American Republics.]

v. recommendations

A. Diplomatic Policy

37. The general objectives of US diplomatic policy toward Latin America should include the following:

To identify Latin American strategic interests in the world with US strategic interests in the world by giving them the common context of hemisphere security.
To identify Latin American policy in the world with US policy in the world by establishing the common context of hemisphere policy.
To identify Latin America with the US in the implementation of hemisphere policy.
To establish these identities in the minds of the Latin Americans and thereby to give them a sense of honorable participation with the US in the cause of saving freedom.
To continue the development of the inter-American system as an instrument of inter-American solidarity.

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38. In pursuance of these objectives, we should adopt a policy of consulting the governments of the older American states on the main strategy of the cold war and the policies (in their broadest aspects) that result from it.

This means that we should accept an obligation toward the other American states not altogether unlike that assumed by the UK toward the self-governing dominions. While the other American states participate on their own in the UN, they are generally without the opportunity to participate otherwise in the development of world relationships that, from our point of view and theirs, must be made to serve the ends of hemisphere security. Examples of this lack of participation are provided by the Marshall Plan and the Greek-Turkish Aid Program, both of which were developed as unilateral policies of the US. A policy of greatly expanded aid to South Asia would provide another example. (The British held a Commonwealth conference1 and came up with a Commonwealth plan for Point Four aid to South Asia.) Another example in immediate prospect is that of the drafting of a Japanese peace treaty in the Far Eastern Commission, which includes no representation from Latin America. Under the recommendation here made, the US, before it entered the FEC meetings, would use routine diplomatic channels to invite the several Latin American states, all of which are at war with Japan, to submit their views. At these FEC meetings we would then be in a position to present the views and interests of the Latin American states, and might well adopt positions with respect to particular questions on the grounds that our neighbors in the hemisphere had expressed a concern. This kind of informal representation would be an expression of our responsibility for leadership in the inter-American community of states, but it would not take away from the sovereign dignity of the other members, any more than similar reflection of dominion interests by the UK takes away from the sovereign dignity of the dominions. It would be a recognition of the fact that US policy cannot be separated from hemisphere policy, and that hemisphere policy is reached by the joining together of sovereign wills through essentially democratic procedures.

39. The US should of necessity and in some degree follow a hierarchical principle in consulting the other American governments on questions of world policy directed at hemisphere security. It is not realistic to expect that we could maintain the same level of consultative relationships with Honduras and Haiti as with Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. On some matters we would expect these larger countries to cooperate with us in consulting and developing the views of other members of the community. (The principle of juridical equality in [Page 630] our inter-American relationships would, however, have to be preserved.)

40. While mutual consultation with the other American states might necessarily be limited to the main outlines of world strategy, we should keep them currently informed in greater detail. The UK maintains a flow of information messages to the dominion governments, reporting cabinet decisions, intelligence estimates, and inside developments of one sort or another. This gives the Commonwealth governments the opportunity to comment on developments, although the traffic tends to be overwhelmingly one-way. The value is chiefly psychological. The other governments, flattered by the feeling that they are on the inside of what is going on in London, come to identify themselves with London’s policy and consequently to support it. Some adaptation of this procedure would be useful in identifying the Latin American governments with the development of our policy and obtaining their support for it.2

41. We should continue our successful liaison work in the UN. This liaison work illustrates much of what has been said in this memorandum. It is noteworthy that inter-American solidarity is more effective in the UN today than anywhere else. (One result of this has been to lull many who are not in intimate contact with inter-American affairs into an excessive assurance regarding the degree to which we can continue to count on Latin American solidarity with us.)

42. We should rehabilitate the term “hemisphere security”, using it to explain to the Latin Americans what we are doing in Korea, in France, in Saudi Arabia, all over the world.

B. Economic Policy

43. The general objectives of US economic policy toward Latin America should be:

To secure the political independence and economic viability of the other American states on the strongest possible basis;
To promote the self-reliance of the other American states;
To demonstrate the benefits of cooperation with the US for the preservation of freedom.

44. The first two objectives represent, in terms of economic policy, the basic objective of building up the strength of our allies. They are bound together. Our assistance would be wasted on countries that had given up the struggle to do for themselves and, instead, relied on us to take care of them. No country can achieve economic security except by its own intelligent and determined efforts. The US contribution, to be effective, can only be supplemental to such efforts.

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45. Our basic policy, moreover, relies on private enterprise, at home and abroad, to carry on the main business of economic survival and development. In his address of September 19, 1949, the Secretary of State included among “the basic principles on which our policy in this hemisphere must rest”: “the stimulation of private effort as the most important factor in political, economic, and social purposes”. Just as we should not apply our economic assistance to stultify self-help, so we should not displace effective private enterprise by governmental undertakings.

46. We must therefore require the existence of certain conditions in the receiving countries for our economic assistance, financial and technical. These conditions are those without which our assistance could not achieve its purpose. This is different from making conditions in terms of quid pro quo.

47. More immediate objectives of our policy should be:

To offset the progressive deterioration in our relations with Latin America resulting from the fact that the US has or plans to have large-scale programs of economic assistance in all other major areas of the world.
To improve our political relations with Latin America by the concrete demonstration of our willingness to assist in the economic development to which the Latin American leaders and people aspire.
To concentrate economic development in Latin America in those basic fields that will contribute the maximum to:
maximizing the output of strategic and other essential materials required to meet expanded consumption requirements in the US, plus the attainment of stockpile objectives; and
developing production that will minimize Latin America’s dependence on the US as a source of food and other essential supplies in case of emergency.
To hold the drain on US financial resources to the minimum compatible with the attainment of the foregoing objectives.

48. We should therefore be prepared to expand substantially both our present loan programs and our program of technical assistance as indispensable to dealing with the economic and social insecurity that today threatens the whole fabric of inter-American life and inter-American relations.

49. We should develop as promptly as possible a program designed to make available to us the needed strategic materials of which Latin American countries are producers or potential producers. This may require grant assistance as well as loans for the development of production, of the conditions under which production can be effectively undertaken, and of the means of access to the sources of raw materials. It may require, moreover, a general agreement for cooperation among the American states, reached through the procedures of the Organization of American States, plus particular agreements with particular [Page 632] countries. Such a program should be related to all other aspects of our economic relations with these countries. It may be anticipated that extreme reluctance will be encountered on the part of Latin American governments to go in for wartime production programs except in the context of an integrated economic program which takes account of their essential wartime requirements and also of the adverse effect on their economies of an eventual termination of the production programs.

50. Production goals in Latin America should be set, on the basis of meeting both the requirements of our current consumption and of our stockpiling.

51. In case of emergency controls on US industrial production, we must be prepared to provide for the necessities of the Latin American peoples on the same general level as we provide for our own people. This is one element in the reciprocity that the other American states have the right to expect of us.

52. Finally, it is urgently necessary that the several elements in our assistance to other American states be organized in relation to one another so that they together constitute comprehensive and integrated country-by-country programs. Loans should not be applied without regard to technical assistance projects, and technical assistance should not be applied without regard to loan projects. What is done in public health should have a supporting relationship to what is done in the field of agriculture, and vice versa.

53. Since the several elements of our assistance for economic development are controlled respectively by various agencies of our Government, the realization of the purpose set forth in the above paragraph requires administrative reforms to coordinate these agencies for the implementation of comprehensive policies.

[Here follows Mr. Halle’s treatment of military policy toward the American Republics. It follows in substance the discussion of that subject in Mr. Miller’s memorandum to Mr. Nitze of September 26, 1950, which is scheduled for publication in volume I.]

D. Public Affairs Policy

66. The objectives of public affairs policy are the objectives of general foreign policy as they bear on public opinion abroad. In particular, public affairs policy supplements diplomatic policy in an age in which whole peoples, not only heads of state, are involved in foreign relations. Under the heading of Public Affairs Policy, therefore, the following recommended objectives of US diplomatic policy toward Latin America are repeated:

To identify Latin American strategic interests in the world with US strategic interests in the world by giving them the common context of hemisphere security.
To identify Latin American policy in the world with US policy in the world by establishing the common context of hemisphere policy.
To identify Latin America with the US in the implementation of hemisphere policy.
To establish these identities in the minds of the Latin Americans and thereby to give them a sense of honorable participation with the US in the cause of saving freedom.

In making progress toward the above objectives our public affairs policy must spread sympathetic understanding of the US as it really is, confidence in our motives, confidence in our ability to achieve our purposes, and general respect for us as a nation and a people. It must also, in this context, make its contribution to the general objective listed under Economic Policy above, “To demonstrate the benefits of cooperation with the US for the preservation of freedom”, as well as to some of the more particular objectives of our economic policy also listed above.

67. Since communist propaganda in Latin America has been outstandingly effective in promoting and heightening the Latin American resentments and grievances against the US referred to in earlier sections of this paper, one of the important objectives to which our public affairs policy must address itself is that of putting communist propaganda vehicles out of commission or directly reducing their effectiveness.

68. The immanence of the people in national life has increased in Latin America in recent years to the point where even authoritarian governments, find it expedient to persuade by domestic propaganda rather than to rely wholly, as at one time, on coercion and trickery to induce acceptance of their will.

69. Men live and die for ideas. If we wish the people of Latin America to assimilate the concept of a hemisphere coalition, we must make it real to them by translating it into the terms of a coalition of peoples.

70. The Department’s information services, with their overseas extension in the USIE program, are the established instrument for carrying out this assignment. However, at present and as projected through fiscal 1951, the total resources available for use in Latin America are wholly inadequate. One example of present deficiencies is the fact that Department-produced material for countering Communist and Soviet propaganda includes nothing prepared specifically for Latin America, since there is no staff to prepare it. Consequently, the resources, available for the information program as a whole in Latin America should be augmented.

71. The educational exchange program, now at a reduced level, should be substantially increased and arrangements made to extend its influence to a wider variety of persons and fields of study.

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72. The field organization, operating funds, and materials should be made available to provide for a broader and at the same time more specifically directed propaganda program designed to operate through all media of popular expression.

73. The program will best serve both the strategic needs of the next few years and the long-range interests of hemisphere policy if in its development the following characteristics are increasingly observed: (1) emphasis on labor groups as the priority target of effort, with attention to the student population closely following, and (2) bi-national cooperation and the encouragement of reciprocity. Every effort should be made to give the program a collaborative aspect. The cultural institute is recognized as the ideal instrumentality for bi-national development, but the principle of cooperation can also be applied to the Point Four program and many other aspects of cultural exchange.

74. Finally, provision must be made for a more direct, aggressive approach to the problem of Soviet-directed propaganda. This must encompass, as a necessary adjunct to the positive appeal of the USIE program, the systematic elimination of Communist organs and channels of influence.

vi. summary

75. The basic objective of strengthening the free world to frustrate the Kremlin design has its application to all the countries of Latin America, where it must be interpreted in terms of the special features that characterize the American states as a regional community sharing the hemisphere, and the special relations that the US consequently maintains with them.

76. US security is the objective of our world-wide foreign policy today. US security is synonymous with hemisphere security. This provides a basis for identifying the other American states with our policy. Such identification must make them our active colleagues. It calls for a diplomatic policy of consulting them and keeping them informed, economic and military policies directed at joint efforts, and a vigorous public affairs policy.

77. The prevalence of economic instability in Latin America, taking an extreme form in certain countries, makes increased US economic assistance imperative, not only to the attainment of the basic objective, but to averting a posible future drain on our political and economic strength. Such increased assistance should be designed with a view to developing the self-reliance of the Latin Americans and supporting the role of private enterprise. It should be effectively coordinated on a country-to-country basis. In addition, strategic materials programs should be developed and provision made for Latin America in case of export controls.

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78. For Latin America to play the role in military cooperation our military policy envisages, and for it to meet the added responsibilities that have emerged since the Korean crisis and that are defined in the “United [Uniting] Action for Peace” resolution of the U.N. General Assembly, it must be eligible to receive military equipment from the US on a grant basis. The Inter-American Defense Board should be used for developing common inter-American military policies and plans.

79. By the implementation of the recommendations set forth in this paper the US should recapture some of the initiative in inter-American relations that should be associated with its leadership but has in some degree been allowed to lapse because of urgent preoccupations in other areas.3


Supplement4 to 11/9/50 Draft Entitled: “Development of US Latin American Policy in Terms of US World Objectives, 1950–1955”

us policy with respect to the organization of american states

In the context of the present world situation the importance of the Organization of American States to this country is that it provides us with a reserve security system through which the human and economic resources of the Western Hemisphere could be mobilized in the event the United Nations is rendered ineffectual. While we are exerting every effort to ensure the triumph of the concept of the United Nations, we cannot at this stage afford to rely exclusively upon it. The possibility still exists that we might find ourselves reduced to a defense of the Western Hemisphere. In that case the OAS would provide the major international basis for defense arrangements.
If this reserve system is to serve its purpose it must be maintained in a condition of vitality. The main organs and procedures of the OAS must be kept alive through use in order that they may be effectively relied upon in time of special need.
In addition to this major purpose of the OAS in American foreign policy, there are other purposes of considerable though less importance. So long as the maintenance of peace among the Latin American countries is desired, the OAS will fill an important function. It has been demonstrated that the Latin American countries are far more ready to settle inter-American disputes through inter-American [Page 636] procedures than they are to take them to the United Nations, and there is reason to believe that inter-American procedures are more efficient and effective for that purpose. Moreover, so long as the United States continues to desire an expanding trade with Latin America and to seek the unified support of Latin America in world affairs, it will find in the OAS a valuable symbol and mechanism for encouraging closer unity among the American republics in all the major areas of national interest.
To the Latin Americans a major significance of the Organization of American States is its capacity to pool the efforts and resources of Latin America and the United States in the solution of economic, social and cultural problems. Latin Americans are prone to consider that the United States is primarily interested in security features of the OAS while they attach as much if not greater importance to the economic, social and cultural features. It is therefore essential to recognize that if we are to attain our objective of maintaining a living Inter-American System, it is, because of the Latin American interests, necessary to participate constructively not only in security arrangements but also in programs of economic, social and cultural cooperation. If we deny or obstruct the Latin American interest in these latter phases of inter-American cooperation, to that extent will we weaken the security structure in which we are primarily interested.
The objective of the United States with respect to the OAS may therefore be stated as follows: It should be maintained as a vital and effective international organization having a high significance to the security of the United States. The security arrangements of the OAS should be scrupulously enforced and supported even in small controversies because of their significance to possible large ones. Its economic, social and cultural programs should be supported at least to the extent that is necessary to retain the enthusiasm and allegiance of the Latin American countries to the regional arrangement as a whole.
Pursuing this objective will cost the United States some money. It will even risk the cost of some duplication with activities being undertaken by the United Nations and its related agencies, particularly in the fields of the specialized organizations. A consistent effort must be made to promote efficient working relationships between the regional and United Nations systems wherever possible. Arrangements should be worked out whereby the regional organizations can be linked to the world-wide organizations in order to avoid the establishment of duplicating organizations. Moreover, the regional organizations should be used wherever possible to support the principles and effective operation of the United Nations. However, the process of grafting the regional system on to the United Nations must never go so far as to result in a loss of identity on the part of the regional [Page 637] organizations individually or as a group. In view of the major functions of the regional system in US foreign policy, the inter-American organizations must retain sufficient identity and independence to enable them at any time, without major change, to exercise their functions effectively as self-supporting international agencies should the United Nations system be rendered ineffective.
  1. The Colombo Conference of January 9–14, 1950.
  2. A marginal note reads: “This was contributed in substance by Lewis Jones of S/P. LJH”
  3. In his memorandum of November 14 to Mr. Halle, Mr. Miller said in part regarding this paper: “I believe that the attached paper is in sufficiently good shape so that it can serve as a basis for presentation of the problem to S/P.” (611.20/11–1450)
  4. The authorship of this supplement, dated December 1 and classified “Secret,” is uncertain.