Editorial Note

On February 3, 1953, the Senior Staff of the National Security Council (NSC) received from the Department of State a paper drafted in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, titled “U.S. Policy With Respect to Latin America,” dated January 24, 1953, not printed. At its meeting on February 18, the Senior Staff directed the NSC’s staff assistants to complete a coordinated draft statement of policy concerning United States objectives toward Latin America, based on the paper submitted by the Department of State. The subsequent draft statement of policy, dated February 19, 1953, not printed, was considered at the Senior Staff meeting on February 23, where a decision was taken to request the Department of State to prepare a revised draft. On March 4, the Senior Staff reviewed the revised draft and approved its submission, as amended, to the National Security Council for consideration as NSC 144, a report on “United States Objectives and Courses of Action With Respect to Latin America.” Records of the NSC Senior Staff meetings are contained in S/PNSC files, lot 62 D 1. Additional documentation relating to the preparation of NSC 144 is contained in PPS files, lot 64 D 563 and S/PNSC files, lot 61 D 167.

The Senior Staff constituted the principal NSC unit for the formulation and transmission of policy recommendations to the Council. It was comprised of representatives at the Assistant Secretary level from the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Mutual Security Agency, the National Security Resources Board, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of Defense Mobilization. The Executive Secretary of the NSC served as chairman of the Senior Staff, which met approximately twice a week.

In March 1953, the Senior Staff was reorganized as the National Security Council Planning Board. The Planning Board retained the basic functions of the Senior Staff, but its personnel underwent certain changes. It was chaired by the Special Assistant to the President, and its membership was comprised of representatives from the Departments of State, Treasury, and Defense, the Office of Defense Mobilization, and the Office of the Special Assistant to the President on Disarmament. Additional documentation concerning the organizational structure of the NSC is printed in volume II.