OAS files, lot 60 D 665, “Military matters—Agenda”

Memorandum by the United States Representative to the Council of the Organization of American States ( Dreier ) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs ( Cabot )


The Defense Department, speaking through General Webster, who is designated their spokesman for Tenth Inter-American Conference matters, has repeatedly taken the position that it wishes to have no military subjects discussed at the Tenth Inter-American Conference.

After Amb. Zuleta had recommended to us that some resolution be adopted at the Conference, confirming and possibly improving upon the resolutions on military cooperation approved at the Fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers in 1951,1 we went back to the Defense Department and called to their attention the arguments advanced by Amb. Zuleta. We informed the Defense Department that we shared in some measure the feeling of Amb. Zuleta that a failure by the Conference to adopt any resolution supporting the previous ones on military policy would be interpreted by the Latin Americans as reflecting a drop in our interest in inter-American military cooperation along those lines. Nevertheless, the Defense Department has come back with a very firm statement that it would be undesirable in their viewpoint to have any such subjects brought up.

The attached letter2 to General Webster replies to his last communication3 on this subject, and is drafted with the intention of making very clear that we place full responsibility on the Defense Department for this decision.

Incidentally, it seems to me that in view of the position taken by the Defense Department, and the fact that we should be able to make it stick with the Conference, there is absolutely no need to include any representative of that Department on the U.S. delegation.

I recommend your approval of the letter and of the position expressed above regarding the delegation.4

John C. Dreier
  1. Reference is to the Fourth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of American Republics, held in Washington, Mar. 26–Apr. 7, 1951; for text of the resolutions adopted by the conference, see Fourth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Proceedings (Washington, 1951). For documentation relating to the meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. ii, pp. 925 ff.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Reference is to a letter from Major General Webster to Ambassador Dreier, dated Jan. 8, 1954, in which Major General Webster stated in part the following: “It has been concluded that the introduction of a resolution calling for the Governments to report on their activities in accordance with Resolution II [adopted by the Fourth Meeting of Consultation] would be inopportune, since it might evoke discussion that would be embarrassing to the Department of Defense.” (Department of Defense files)
  4. The source text indicates that Mr. Cabot approved the action recommended by Ambassador Dreier; the letter to Major General Webster went out under date of Jan. 28, 1954.