Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Duncan A. D. Mackay of the Office of Regional American Affairs

top secret

Subject: Meeting With Representatives of the U.S. Delegation to the IADB To Consider Problems of Inter-American Military Collaboration.

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Participants: Brig. Gen. E. L. Sibert, Director of Staff, IADB
Col. D. S. Somerville,1 G–3, Army
Col J. H. Anderson,2 G–3, Army
Col. Crawford,3 G–3, Army
Capt. J. A. Lark,4 Op. 35, Navy
Lt. Col. R. A. Collins,5 Op. 35, Navy [Marine Corps]
Col. Willis Smyser, Opn. Div, AF
Col. W. F. Lewis,6 Opn. Div, AF
Lt. Col. E. O’Connor,7 Opn. Div, AF
S/ISA—Mr. Schoenfeld
AR—Messrs. Burrows,8 Jamison and Mackay

The meeting was held in Mr. Burrows office at 2:30 to take up certain current problems of inter-American military collaboration. These were (1) the formulation of U.S. comments on the “General Military Plan for the Defense of the American Continent” (Document T–020),9 recently completed by the Staff of the IADB, and made available July 26 to the Council of Delegates with a request for their written comments by August 28, 1951; (2) the security of information turned over to the IADB for use in planning; (3) the relationship of non-American possessions to inter-American military planning; and (4) possible items for inclusion in the NSC 56/2 Progress Report due September 1.10

1. Comments on the IADB Military Plan: Mr. Jamison expressed State’s appreciation for the early consultation by the Defense representatives on this document. He stated that certain comments on the plan had been prepared in State, and that a copy of these comments would be made available informally to the Secretary of the U.S. Delegation. The general impression of the document, he stated, was that, with a few drafting changes and clarification on some substantive points, it would serve as a “broad umbrella” under which bilateral agreements could be worked out between the U.S. and other countries on the three defense sectors.

Following a review of the drafting suggestions in the State memorandum,11 the following substantive questions were discussed:

(a) U.S. Responsibility in Caribbean-Panama-Galapagos Sector. It was agreed that it would be more appropriate in VC1b(1) to express as a recognition of responsibility, rather than a grant of authority, the coordination and planning by the U.S. on CPG Sector. Colonel Somerville indicated that the U.S. would not be precluded from bringing in other countries to assist in the defense of this sector, and that Defense planned to make this clear by having some language inserted which would permit Brazil, for example, to be brought in to assist in plans “pertaining to the sector” which were of concern to her.

(b) U.S. Responsibility in South Atlantic and South Pacific Sectors. In response to a query of Mr. Jamison’s whether the U.S. was specifically excluded from planning and coordination in other two [Page 1018] sectors, General Sibert stated that the JCS had determined that, except for a possible base in Brazil or a refuelling point in Chile, the U.S. had no requirements in the other two sectors, since it was assumed that any threat to U.S. interests would come in the Caribbean area. The countries in these sectors, he stated, are primarily responsible for the defense of the sector, although bilaterals could be worked out with the U.S. on particular points. He also made it clear, in this connection, that the bilateral negotiations contemplated under Title IV of the Mutual Security Program would be carried on by us without reference to the Board.

(c) Control of High Seas. Captain Lark clarified the meaning of paragraph VC3 on page 8. Coastal waters, he stated, would be the responsibility of the country concerned; “high seas”, i.e., beyond the coastal limits, would be the responsibility of the United States.

(d) Internal Security. It was suggested that reference should be made in this section on page 13 to Resolution 32 of Bogota12 and Resolution 8 of the IAM,13 as a means of emphasizing previous inter-American action on which exchange of information could be based.

(e) Detailed Plans of Action. General Sibert acknowledged that this document is actually a plan which would enable governments primarily concerned with particular problems to make detailed plans among themselves. In response to a query of Mr. Jamison’s, General Sibert stated that he did not believe that this proposed decentralization of planning in the three defense sectors would necessarily eliminate the need for future action by the IADB, since there would remain many hemisphere military problems with which the IADB could deal. General Sibert stated that he understood that General Goes Monteiro14 of Brazil was planning to recommend formally that the IADB review and coordinate the defense planning of all three sectors. If such a suggestion were made, General Sibert indicated it would be disapproved by Defense.

Mr. Jamison pointed out the need in this section VIIA (page 11) for some qualifying statement to cover the probable necessity for working out arrangements with European states regarding their possessions in this hemisphere (see also paragraph 3 of this memorandum).

2. Security of Information in the IADB: General Sibert in a conversation with Mr. Miller on July 25 had expressed concern over the [Page 1019] participation of Guatemala as a full member of the IADB on security grounds, and had inquired whether there was any way either to exclude Guatemala from the IADB or provide limited participation on its part. An ARA memorandum on this subject was discussed. It was agreed that, as a realistic matter, it would have to be assumed that any information passed on to twenty countries in a body of this kind would, in many cases, find its way into the wrong hands. In determining, therefore, what information should be given to the IADB by Defense, it was agreed that only such information should be transmitted which, even if it were to come into possession of a potential enemy, would not seriously affect the security of the United States. It was recognized that the advantages to be gained in keeping intact the inter-American system, even though a limit might be imposed on the subjects which could be discussed multilaterally, outweighed limiting or excluding participation of any one country.15

3. Relation of non-American Possessions to Inter-American Military Planning: Mr. Jamison stated that a decision would have to be reached soon on the assistance which would be required by the U.S. in the protection of the European possessions in case of war. He referred to certain illustrative tasks which had been cited by Defense in support of the $40 million grant aid for Latin America16 indicating the possible use of Latin American troops in Curacao and Aruba. It was emphasized that the explosive political effect which the use of Latin American forces might have on the European territorials in the Caribbean area should be taken into account. He read portions of a series of letters from Mr. Knox,17 Consul General in Curacao, indicating the extreme sensitivity which the Dutch officials have on this question.

Colonel Somerville stated that there was not at the present time in the Department of Defense any concrete plan for garrisoning Latin American forces in any of the European possessions in the Caribbean. He explained that any such proposal such as had been made by way of illustration in the Defense presentation on the MSP, would only be formalized if it was determined that there were no overriding political objections. In any event, he stated that any such proposal would not be taken up in a military way with any Latin American country until there had been full coordination with the European government concerned. He cited in this connection the primary responsibility of the U.S. in the defense of the Caribbean area, and the planning talks which had been held separately with the Venezuelan and Dutch military representatives over the protection of the oil industry.

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The further question of the desirability of the representatives of the industry being advised of these plans at an appropriate time was fully discussed.

4. Suggested Items for NSC 56/2 Progress Report: The next quarterly progress report on NSC 56/2 “Inter-American Military Collaboration”, is due September 1. The following items were suggested for inclusion: (a) completion of the IADB “War Plan”; (b) status of Military Planning Talks between Venezuela and the U.S.; (c) negotiation for U.S. Army and Navy Missions in Cuba; (d) progress on the proposed $40 million grant aid for Latin America.

5. Other Business: Deviation from long-range Defense standardization goal in the agreement with Venezuela for formation of Venezuelan Vampire jet interceptor squadron as a part of Venezuelan requirements for defense of oil industry:—The Air Force representatives were informed of the substance of letters received from Ambassador Armour18 in Caracas expressing his concern over the recent reported sale by the British Government of 5 additional Vampire jet aircraft to Venezuela, and transmitting a suggestion of the Air Attaché, Colonel Duncan,19 that U.S. armament for these jet aircraft be offered to the Venezuelan Government by the U.S. Mr. Mackay pointed out that Colonel Duncan’s suggestion appeared to indicate an acquiescence on the part of the USAF in the Venezuelan purchase of British jets, which was also reflected in the recent military agreement with Venezuela. Colonel Lewis, in reply to Mr. Jamison’s query whether this was not a modification of standardization policy, stated that, as a matter of realism it was recognized that Venezuela had already seven Vampires, and that, since she had a requirement for three jet squadrons, it seemed more economical to fill out one of these with the British aircraft. Recognizing this fact, it seemed desirable, he stated, to salvage for standardization at least the armament on the British aircraft. Mr. Schoenfeld stated that it was not clear that the British had consulted with the U.S. on their decision to sell further jets to Venezuela, and that this matter was timed very badly with the Mutual Security Program pending in Congress. Mr. Mackay stated that a letter20 to Defense had been prepared in State outlining the NATO standardization and Mutual Security aspects of this problem and would request consultation with Defense on this matter. Colonel Smyser and Colonel O’Connor indicated that a recent similar problem involving Italy and Guatemala had prompted an Air Force request to Defense for policy guidance on the possible conflict between the disposal of NATO surplus and the standardization policy for this hemisphere.

  1. Duncan S. Somerville.
  2. John H. Anderson.
  3. Stuart M. Crawford.
  4. Jacob A. Lark.
  5. Raiph A. Collins.
  6. Willis, F. Lewis.
  7. Roderic D. O’Connor.
  8. Charles R. Burrows, Office of Regional American Affairs.
  9. Approved on November 15, 1951, by the Council of Delegates of the Inter-American Defense Board as Document C–019; for information, see the editorial note, p. 1028.
  10. Infra.
  11. Not found in Department of State files.
  12. Reference is to the Ninth International Conference of American States, held at Bogotá, Colombia, March 30–May 2. 1948: for text of the Final Act of the conference, which includes Resolution XXXII, see Department of State Publication No. 3262, Ninth International Conference of American States …: Report of the Delegation of the United States of America with Related Documents. (Washington, 1948), pp. 222 ff. For documentation on the Bogotá conference, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ix, pp. 1 ff.
  13. Reference is to the Fourth Meeting of Consultation of American States: for text of the Final Act, which includes Resolution 8, see Proceedings, pp. 234. ff.
  14. Pedro Aurélio Góes Monteiro.
  15. Pertinent documents on this subject are in decimal file 710.5.
  16. The $80,000,000 figure agreed upon by the Departments of State and Defense as necessary for the military grant aid program to Latin America for FY 1952 was reduced as a result of hearings at the Bureau of the Budget.
  17. Charles F. Knox, Jr.
  18. Norman Armour.
  19. Lt. Col. William F. Duncan.
  20. Not printed.