S/PNSC files, lot 62 D 1, NSC 5419/1 Series

Statement of Policy by the National Security Council1

top secret
NSC 5419/1

U.S. Policy in the Event of Guatemalan Aggression in Latin America


If the government of any member of the Organization of American States should, under Article 3, paragraph 2 of the Rio Treaty, request the assistance of the United States to meet an armed attack by Guatemala, and if the President should be satisfied that such an attack has occurred, it is recommended that the President: [Page 1136]
Determine that such Guatemalan armed attack is considered by the United States as an armed attack against all American states under Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Rio Treaty,* and constitutes an imminent threat to the security of the United States.
Direct that under Article 3, paragraph 2 of the Rio Treaty and to protect the security of the United States, the armed forces of the United States, in collaboration with the armed forces of other members of the Organization of American States to the extent feasible, and unilaterally only as a last resort, take military action to the extent necessary to counter-act the attack and eliminate the danger to the state attacked.
The United States should encourage any member of the Organization of American States which requests the United States to come to its assistance, also to request such action by other members of the Organization of American States pending a decision by the Organ of Consultation.2
The United States should take all practicable political steps to ensure that the other members of Organization of American States are prepared for collective action under the Rio Treaty to assist any member of Organization of American States threatened by aggression or internal subversion inspired by Guatemala.
Appropriate congressional leaders should be immediately informed of the above policy.
The timing of public disclosure of the above policy should be determined by the Secretary of State.
  1. NSC Executive Secretary Lay, under a covering note dated May 28, 1954, not printed, transmitted the recommendations of NSC 5419 (paragraphs 5 to 9), adopted by the NSC subject to the changes set forth in NSC Action No. 1135–b, to the NSC as NSC 5419/1. Mr. Lay informed the NSC of the President’s authorization to the Navy to halt Guatemalan coastal vessels, including foreign-flag vessels suspected of carrying munitions of war, for cargo inspection, and also the President’s reference to NSC 144/1, paragraph 18–b (see p. 10) regarding U.S. policy on training the military establishments of Latin American nations. President Eisenhower approved the recommendations in NSC 5419/1 on May 28, 1954, directed their implementation by all appropriate executive departments and agencies, and designated the OCB as the coordinating agency.
  2. For text of pertinent articles of the Rio Treaty, see Appendix. [Footnote in the source text; appendix not printed.]
  3. On Sept. 3, 1954, NSC Acting Executive Secretary Gleason, in a memorandum to the NSC, not printed, stated that the Council at its 212th meeting on Sept. 2, 1954, in connection with action on NSC 5432, agreed that the statement of policy in NSC 5419/1 “should be terminated as no longer applicable.” (NSC Action No. 1209) President Eisenhower approved the action of the Council on Sept. 3, thereby terminating NSC 5419/1. Mr. Gleason informed the Council that “policy relating to action against anti-U.S. subversion or intervention in Latin America and to the application of sanctions, including military action, in the event of threatened or actual domination of a Latin American state by Communism” was contained in paragraph 6 of NSC 5432/1 (see p. 83).