Scope and Arrangement

This volume presents documents on the major aspects of relations between the United States and the nations of Latin America. The first section records the main lines of United States policy within a general regional framework. The remainder and larger part of the volume presents documents on United States policy toward and relations with individual Latin American nations. These compilations on bilateral relations are arranged alphabetically. Routine economic, political, and cultural issues and exchanges are not included for reasons of space. The compilations in this volume focus upon a number of principal themes prevailing in 1952–1954 in United States-Latin American relations. One of these themes was the effort of the United States to strengthen the nations of the Western Hemisphere against Communist inroads. Another major concern of United States policymakers was the fostering of economic development in Latin America through economic assistance. Military assistance was also being extended to Latin American countries under the Mutual Security Program. Toward the end of the period documented in this volume the overthrow of the leftist regime in Guatemala had a profound impact on U.S. relations with all the other Latin American nations, particularly in Central America.

The documents presented here focus on the diplomatic and economic relations between the United States and the nations of Latin America. The editors did not and could not, under current government declassification policies, procedures, and regulations, attempt to document systematically all aspects of the widening web of official relationships which the United States Government established and maintained in the Western Hemisphere. A more comprehensive accounting of these expanding relationships, particularly in the military and intelligence dimensions, requires readers and researchers to consult official publications and papers of other departments and agencies such as the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency.


The documents printed in this volume were primarily drawn from the central indexed files of the Department of State. The decentralized [Page X] bureau, office, and working level (lot) files of relevant Department units were also examined as were the remaining records of various overseas Foreign Service posts. The editors also reviewed portions of the files of the Mutual Security Agency and its successor organization, the Foreign Operations Administration, as well as record collections at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas.

Official documents originated by other major departments and agencies with foreign affairs responsibilities were consulted and used in the preparation of this volume in accordance with the current regulations, policies, and procedures of those agencies within the general framework of government-wide access and declassification procedures. The present volume includes the key papers from the White House and the National Security Council. It also includes some documents from the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency.

A detailed list of sources is printed on page xxxi .

Principles of Selection

The editors of this volume have selected the documents printed here from among a large quantity of diplomatic correspondence and foreign policy preparation papers. The principles of selection followed by the editors emphasized documents on the formulation and expression of major lines of foreign policy in Latin America. Particular attention was given to identifying recommendations by United States missions abroad and deliberations in Washington within the Department of State and with other departments and agencies of the government having foreign policy responsibilities. The most authoritative expression of official policy was sought in all cases. The editors also attempted to trace, where possible, the mode of implementing foreign policy decisions and the reactions to these policies on the part of foreign, particularly Latin American, governments as well as inter-American institutions.

Foreign government documents were included in this volume in a few cases where such papers were of fundamental importance in explicating the development of an important United States policy. Such documents are printed here with the full concurrence of the originating government.

This volume includes only a few documents that report upon the internal political or economic situation of a particular country or region. The editors have chosen to include from a very voluminous body of such reports in Department of State files only those that bear directly upon bilateral and multilateral relations of some import to the volume. The editors have excluded documents from [Page XI] the substantial body of records and official diplomatic correspondence regarding routine representations by the United States on behalf of its citizens and firms, minor treaty negotiations, ceremonial functions, consular activities, and the management of embassies and consulates abroad.


The methodological principles adhered to in the preparation of this volume continue the general practices and procedures maintained for all volumes of the Foreign Relations series. These practices and procedures are, however, constantly in the process of adaptation and adjustment to the requirements of the source materials at the disposal of the editors. Readers should, in using this volume, be aware of the following practices particularly reflected in this volume.

The editors have selected the most authoritative text of each document for publication. When a signed ribbon copy or authenticated file copy of a memorandum was unavailable, a carbon copy was printed, and the editors so indicated in a footnote to the document. The texts of incoming telegrams printed were generally those received in Washington and retained in the central files. In a few cases texts of telegrams were selected from decentralized Department files or other sources. With respect to the telegrams included in this volume, readers should note that although all outgoing cables bear the signature of the Secretary of State, or, in his absence, that of the Acting Secretary of State, they were ordinarily drafted by operational policy officers and signed for the Secretary or Acting Secretary by a senior official with appropriate authority. Incoming telegrams from the field were addressed either to the Secretary of State or the Department of State. Upon receipt in the Department’s processing unit, copies were routed to appropriate offices for action. Most incoming telegrams were handled by operational officers in the geographical and functional bureaus. The editors have supplied drafting and other relevant handling information as editorial annotations wherever necessary to clarify the genesis and progress of documents as they moved through the policymaking chain in the Department of State and other departments and agencies. The documentary provenance for documents cited but not printed has generally been provided. If a document was unidentifiable, the editors have inserted appropriate annotation.