Eisenhower Library, papers as President, Whiteman file, NCS records

Memorandum of Discussion at the 189th Meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday, March 18, 19541

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The following were present at the 189th meeting of the Council: The President of the United States, presiding; the Vice President of the United States; the Secretary of State; Mr. Kyes for the Secretary of Defense; the Director, Foreign Operations Administration; the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization. Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury; the Attorney General (for Items 2 and 3); the Director, Bureau of the Budget; the Chairman, Civil Service Commission (for Item 3); the Chairman, Federal Communications Commission (for Item 4); Admiral Carney for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Director of Central Intelligence; the Assistant to the President; Mr. Cutler and Mr. Jackson, Special Assistants to the President; Ralph N. Stohl and John G. Connell, Jr., Department of Defense (for Item 3); Gen. Porter, Foreign Operations Administration (for Item 4); the NSC Representative on Internal Security; the Executive Secretary, NSC; and the Deputy Executive Secretary, NSC.

There follows a summary of the discussion at the meeting and the chief points taken.

[Here follows discussion relating to East–West trade controls.]

1. The Caracas Conference

Secretary Dulles first outlined to the Council the conception of the Monroe Doctrine which he had in mind when he departed for Caracas, as forming the background for the anti-Communist resolution which it had been his chief objective to see adopted by the Foreign Ministers. This was an extension of the Monroe Doctrine to include the concept of outlawing foreign ideologies in the American Republics. Secretary Dulles had believed that if he secured general acceptance of the resolution the United States could operate more effectively to meet Communist subversion in the American Republics and at the same time avoid the charge of interference in the affairs of any other sovereign state. In short, he argued that Communist subversion and subsequent control of any of the American Republics was tantamount to external aggression against such a Republic. Efforts, therefore, to counter such Communist subversion could not rightfully be described as American intervention.

Secretary Dulles admitted that it had not been easy to secure general acceptance of the anti-Communist resolution. There was much in the [Page 305] climate of opinion which militated against quick success. First of all, he had encountered much unhappiness and anxiety with respect to the commercial and financial policies which the Administration was following in Latin America. Beyond that, there were always those who insisted that the anti-Communist resolution was nothing but a pretext to permit American intervention in the internal affairs of the other republics of the hemisphere. It had therefore required two weeks of very intensive work and almost daily meetings with the other Foreign Ministers2 to change this atmosphere and to secure general agreement to the resolution. Even so, the resolution was certainly not adopted with genuine enthusiasm. Among the complications was the very wide gulf between the Latin American democracies and the nations which were governed by dictatorship. Democratic Uruguay entertained feelings of hostility for dictatorships like Venezuela at least as strong as those it felt for Communism. In any event, the resolution had finally passed by a vote of 17 to 1, with Mexico and Argentina abstaining. Mexico’s attitude had, of course, been unfortunate. It could have been worse, however, if the Mexican Foreign Minister, Padilla Nervo, had really thrown himself into the fight against the resolution. His prestige was so very great that if he had chosen to exploit it the results might have been serious. It was fortunate, therefore, that he did not put his heart into opposing us. The real explanation of the Mexican position was the domestic political situation. The Mexican people were still acutely sensitive to any possibility of U.S. interference in Mexican affairs. Argentine abstention, on the other hard, was largely dictated by that country’s concern over economic and social matters. We finally agreed, said Secretary Dulles, to the convening of a later conference3 to deal with these matters, and the Argentinians seemed to be encouraged by our willingness at least to sit down and talk about these issues.

All in all, a quite favorable atmosphere pervaded the conference when Secretary Dulles left, and he felt that he had come to know most of the Latin American Foreign Ministers fairly well.

The Vice President commented that the Congressional reaction to the report which Secretary Dulles had made on the conference had been generally very favorable. Indeed, some of the most outspoken critics of the Administration’s foreign policy had made flattering comments on Secretary Dulles’ performance.

[Page 306]

Mr. Cutler then inquired about the resolution against colonialism4 which had been accepted by all the Latin American Republics but not by the United States, which had abstained. Secretary Dulles described this resolution as a “paper” resolution rather than a document forming the basis for action, as in the case of the anti-Communist resolution. There was no question about widespread bitter feelings in Latin America with respect to the European colonies there. Significantly, however, the United States was not linked with the colonial powers, and this resolution had not been motivated by sentiments unfriendly to the United States.

The National Security Council:5

Noted an oral report by the Secretary of State on the principal developments at the Caracas Conference to date.

[Here follows discussion concerning security requirements for government employment, significant world events affecting United States security, and other matters.]

  1. This memorandum was drawn up by S. Everett Gleason, Deputy Executive Secretary of the NSC, on Mar. 19.
  2. Memoranda of conversation between Secretary Dulles and the Foreign Ministers heading the delegations from the respective Latin American countries are contained in Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 229.
  3. Reference is to the Meeting of Ministers of Finance or Economy as the Fourth Extraordinary Meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, commonly referred to as the Rio Economic Conference, held at Quitandinha, Brazil, Nov. 22–Dec. 2, 1954; for documentation relating to the conference, see pp. 313 ff.
  4. Apparent reference to Resolution XCVI (“Colonies and Occupied Territories in America”); for text, see USDel Report, pp. 159–160.
  5. The following statement constitutes NSC Action No. 1068.