10. Outline Plan Prepared for the Operations Coordinating Board1


I. Introduction

Reference: United States Objectives and Courses of Action with Respect to Latin America (NSC 5432/1), approved by the President November 16, [Page 62] 1954. Paragraphs directly referring to the problem of communism as affects Latin America are:
  • General Considerations—para. 2, 3
  • Objectives—para. 4d
  • Courses of Action—para. 6a, 6b, 8b, 11, 12

Other references which include action against communism appear throughout the paper.


Purpose of This Plan: To effect a concerted and integrated program, with participation by all appropriate agencies of the U.S. Government, to implement the national policies against communism in Latin America set forth in NSC 5432/1, taking into consideration:

The necessity to combat increasing communist influence in parts of the area;
The necessity to develop in Latin America a determination to reject Soviet Bloc overtures;
The possibility that Latin American misinterpretation of developments in U.S.-Soviet Bloc relations may lead to relaxation and complacency;
The growing importance of Latin America to the security of the U.S.

The courses of action are designed to increase Latin American awareness of the threat of international communism and to stimulate Latin American governments to take and Latin American peoples to support effective measures to control and restrict communist activities.


Present Situation

United States Influence in Latin America. The United States is at present the non-Latin American country having by all odds the greatest political, economic, psychological and military influence in Latin America. Its relations with all of the twenty governments are on balance good, and with most excellent. The geographic closeness of these countries to, and their extensive diplomatic, military, trade and travel ties with, the United States, are strong forces of cohesion. Good relations have been enhanced by the cooperative, constructive and friendly international conduct of the United States in recent [Page 63] years in its dealing with the Latin American governments, formalized in the Good Neighbor policy, the OAS, the UN and related cooperative activities and based on a recognition of the dignity, integrity and right to non-interference of the Latin American governments.
Negative factors. It must be remembered, however, that there have been and still are factors which create serious problems in United States relations with Latin America. Efforts at persuasion, exertion of pressure, and the offering of inducements can, therefore, in certain circumstances have injurious effects. When they are undertaken, it should be fully realized that nationalism is a strong force throughout the area and is often expressed as anti-Americanism. Also fears of “Yankee imperialism” and dollar-diplomacy and memories of U.S. intervention in Latin America linger on. In addition, many Latin Americans are jealous and resentful of the size and wealth of the United States and accuse us of being a materialistic and avaricious people.

Communist Influence and Objectives in Latin America. No Latin American government is now communist-oriented and in almost every Latin American country some steps are being taken against communism. At the same time, communism remains a continuing serious danger and problem in Latin America, the seriousness of which is intensified by the new open Soviet challenge.

Annex A (prepared by the Office of Intelligence Research, Department of State, and attached for background information) covers communist objectives; strategy and tactics; target groups; front organizations; capabilities (including detailed reference to Chile and Brazil); international ties (including Soviet Bloc trade efforts culminating in the Bulganin offer of January 1956); and probable future developments. It will be particularly noted that:

Communist action has the overriding ulterior motive of attacking and weakening the United States; to this end it attempts to weaken cooperation with the U.S. and to weaken the social and economic fabric of the Latin American countries as a means to world conquest. Its destructive, fraudulent, subversive, and brutal character is semi-obscured by a protective coloring of nationalism and by its cooperation with all groups or causes opposed to the U.S.;
Communist action is covert as well as overt, stresses indigenous action, including the “national liberation front”. and is peculiarly dependent on Soviet Bloc financial, propaganda and travel support;
Communism’s fraudulent but plausible promises center mainly on the aspirations of labor, students and youth, intellectuals and educators, women and agrarian elements.

Continuance of the above types of communist objectives and action is now, as evidenced by the Bulganin offer to Latin America of January 1956, to be supplemented by a campaign which purports to cooperate with Latin American governments under a non-intervention policy and which purports to avoid opposition to or subversion of them. Accelerating Soviet Bloc and local communist activity is to [Page 64] be expected, especially efforts to expand diplomatic, trade, military, technical and cultural relations and contacts with Latin American countries, to foster the development of “national front” governments, and to capitalize on such matters as (a) Latin America’s surpluses of products difficult to sell, (b) Latin America’s real and imagined need for capital equipment, (c) Latin American desires for arms, (d) shortages in Latin America of certain goods, e.g., newsprint, and (e) Argentine, Brazilian and Mexican efforts to develop their petroleum resources without participation of foreign private capital. The number of Latin Americans receiving free trips to the Soviet orbit, efforts to increase further the size of existing Soviet Bloc diplomatic and military representation and trade missions, and Soviet propaganda aimed at Latin America, seem sure to grow.


United States Counter-Action to Date Against Communism in Latin America. All United States programs in Latin America, conducted by State, USIA, Defense, ICA, Labor, Commerce, Treasury, and AEC, with intelligence support, although many have broader objectives, serve to combat communism in the area. The effectiveness of these Unites States programs and existing policies against communism is illustrated by the improved United States capabilities against it with respect to Guatemalan and Bolivian governments, which have presented serious problems in this regard in recent years. More precisely targeted U.S. actions which have had a substantial impact against communism in Latin America are:

Continuing advance consultation with the Latin American governments on issues to come up in the UN and other (e.g., Geneva I and II) meetings;
Direct contact between our Embassies and local governments on communist meetings and activities, shipments of strategic materials to the Soviet Bloc, and the distribution of papers relating to communism;
United States Government activities in the field of labor;
Effective attributed and unattributed information programs on communism such as USIA’s;
Emergency grant aid given Guatemala and Bolivia and technical cooperation programs throughout the area;
Mutual defense planning, military cooperation and training and reimbursable and grant military assistance;
Other available methods of cooperation against communism including intelligence support of our Embassies and programs.

In addition, Resolution 93 (Annex B)2 adopted at the Tenth Inter-American Conference held at Caracas in March 1954, as a culmination of previous OAS action, condemns communist activities as constituting intervention in American affairs, expresses the determination of the American States to take the necessary measures to [Page 65] protect their political independence, and declares that communist control of any American State would call for action by the OAS. It recommends that each government give special attention to

Measures to require disclosure of the identity, activities, and sources of funds of those who are spreading propaganda of the international communist movement or who travel in the interests of that movement, and of those who act as its agents or in its behalf; and
The exchange of information among governments to assist in fulfilling the purpose of the resolutions adopted by the Inter-American Conference and Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs regarding international communism.

Partially to avoid “big stick” implications, the U.S. has moved slowly to implement Resolution 93, leading some LA governments to initiate the question of implementation. The U.S. is currently developing a program through the naming of liaison officers in each capital to handle exchanges of information on communist activities heretofore handled on an informal basis. One of the United States objectives has been to avoid hysteria about communism in Latin America, and to approach the problem in its proper perspective in relation to the totality of our objectives for the area, giving indigenous unattributable action its vital opportunity to develop spontaneously. It is also worth noting that although many Latin American countries have legislation outlawing communism, prohibiting communists from holding political or labor office, etc., there is a wide lack of appreciation of the threat and hence insufficient determination to take effective action.


Special Operating Guidance.

5. Basic Approach.

U.S. actions against communism in Latin America will be based on:
Preservation with all governments of cooperative constructive friendly relations, adaptable to changes of government, and based on the policy of non-interference in their internal affairs;
Continuous demonstration in Latin America of the vigor and resourcefulness of U.S. policy and technology, and the U.S.’s high levels of morality and democracy. It must be recognized that in areas such as Latin America the strongest psychological weapons are apparent power and command of the future;
Maximum effort to associate communism with subversion, to have it recognized as the problem of each country and not solely of the United States; and
The use of appropriate OAS, UN and other multilateral, as well as bilateral, action in combatting it.
In accordance with NSC action 1290–d, internal security studies of selected countries in Latin America have been made and others are scheduled. These formulate measures to assist in strengthening Latin American internal security forces to enable them more effectively to combat communist subversion.
In continuing all existing positive United States programs in Latin America, keep always in view, and exploit in practice, their power to weaken communism by strengthening and improving the welfare of Latin American governments and peoples and by drawing closer the political, economic, psychological, spiritual and military bonds of Latin American governments and peoples with the United States and the West. Once undertaken, such programs become visible symbols of U.S. democracy and the degree of success in carrying them through to conclusion the measure of our dependability.

II. Actions Agreed Upon

Some Courses of Action, though included within the greater scope of others, are listed separately in case they can be implemented before the larger Courses of Action.

Individual action items, when extracted from this Plan, may be downgraded to the appropriate security classification.

[Page 68] [Page 70] [Page 76]
NSC Citations OCB Courses of Action
Para. 5: “The United States should achieve a greater degree of hemisphere solidarity by:
c.: “Consulting with the Latin American states, whenever possible, before taking actions which will affect them or for which we wish their support, explaining as fully as security permits the reasons for our decisions and actions.”
f. “Taking into consideration, in determining the extent of U.S. assistance and support to particular American states, their willingness and ability to cooperate with the United States in achieving common objectives.”
1. Secure continuing Latin American solidarity with the United States in the UN against Communism. Attempt to block Soviet-Bloc exploitation of colonialism or similar issues in the UN.
Assigned to: State
Support: USIA, … Labor
Target Date: Immediate and continuing.
2. In providing assistance and support to the Latin American countries, take into consideration as one factor whether the recipient government is cooperating with us in taking effective action against communism. Without committing the United States, promote the belief within the recipient government that continued cooperation and assistance [Page 67] from the United States depend in part on a genuine and effective anti-communist policy.
Assigned to: State, ICA, Defense, Treasury
Target Date: Continuing.
Para. 5. “The United States should achieve a greater degree of hemisphere solidarity by:
a. “A greater utilization of the OAS as a means of achieving our objectives, which will avoid the appearance of unilateral action and identify our interests with those of the other American states.”
3. Undertake sustained efforts through bilateral action in Washington and in the countries, and through the OAS when appropriate, to implement the recommendations of Resolution 93 of the Tenth Inter-American Conference by:
Para. 6a.: “The U.S. should encourage through consultation, prudent exchange of information, and other available means, individual and collective action against Communist or other anti-U.S. subversion or intervention in any American state.” a. Securing adoption by the other Latin American governments of any measures not already adopted by them to require disclosure of the identity, activities, and sources of funds of those who are spreading propaganda of the international communist movement or who travel in the interests of that movement, and of those who act as its agents and in its behalf; and
Para. 6b: “In the event of threatened or actual domination of any American state by Communism, the U.S. should, pursuant to Resolution 93 of the 10th Inter-American Conference, promote and cooperate in application of the sanctions, including military, provided for in the Rio Treaty to the extent necessary to remove the threat to the security of the Hemisphere, all sanctions being applied in collaboration with other OAS members to the extent feasible, and unilateral action being taken only as a last resort.” b. Effecting a continuing bilateral or multilateral (as appropriate in particular cases) exchange of information among governments.
Assigned to: State
Support: USIA, CIA
Target Date: Immediate (but also see Course of Action 10 below).
4. Implementation of the course of action at paragraph 6b of NSC 5432/1 is assigned as follows:
Assigned to: State
Support: Defense
Target Date: On occurrence of contingency.
5. Encourage Latin American Governments to recognize the concepts of Resolution 93 to the effect that:
a. Communism is a subversive conspiratorial movement which is a separate and distinct threat to the state, its government and its leaders which should not be dealt with merely as a part of the political opposition; and
b. The American Republics can not permit, and if necessary must take action to prevent, the establishment of a communist-controlled government in one of the American Republics.
In this connection, where required, develop appropriate supporting data and information.
Assigned to: State
Support: USIA, Defense, …
Target Date: As feasible.
6. Within the framework of 5a above, encourage as feasible and appropriate adoption of any [Page 69] necessary new and enforcement of existing and new legislation or executive orders:
a. To outlaw communism and communist parties;
b. To exclude communists from running for or holding any civilian or military office in the government or in a political party, in any trade union or rural or urban workers’ organization, in public or private education or in any other key activity;
c. To require registration and control the travel, funds, communications and other activities of communists;
d. To define and punish subversion as including communist activity aimed at the overthrow of the government;
. . . . . . .
f. To arrest and confine communists promptly upon the occurrence of war. This may include development of suggested uniform or specific laws or executive orders modelled where possible on laws found effective in the United States.
Assigned to: State
Support: USIA, Defense, Labor, ICA, Commerce, … Treasury
Target Date: As feasible.
Para. 4: “The objectives of the United States with respect to Latin America are: “…3 d. The reduction and elimination of the menace of internal communist or other anti-U.S. subversion.” 7. Where appropriate in the light of available intelligence and where accepted, strengthen the … security apparatus of Latin American governments which are responsible for maintaining surveillance over and control of communist activities and for combatting communism.
Assigned to: ICA and State
Support: …, Defense, USIA
Target Date: Continuing, with expansion as appropriate.
8. Educate the Latin American governments and peoples on the use to which the Soviet Union and its satellites put their diplomatic, military and other missions for purposes of subversion, intervention and direction of local communist activities. Make continued efforts to discourage diplomatic, military and other relations between the Soviet Bloc and Latin American governments where those relations do not now exist or the expansion of missions now existing in Latin America.
Assigned to: State, Defense, USIA
Target Date: Continuing.
9. Make a decision on a case-by-case basis, after careful study, as to the advisability of U.S. attempts to discourage acceptance by Latin American governments of Soviet Bloc offers of economic or technical assistance, whether made directly or through the UN. [Page 71] Assigned to: State
Support: ICA
Target Date: As circumstances require.
Para. 6.a. (above)
Para. 9.d. (below)
Para. 11: “The United States should expand and make more effective, information, cultural, education and exchange programs for the countries concerned. The U.S. Information and Cultural Programs for Latin American states should be specifically directed to the problems and psychology of specific states in the area, with the objective of alerting them to the dangers of Soviet imperialism and communist and other anti-U.S. subversion, and convincing them that their own self-interest requires an orientation of Latin American policies to our objectives.” 10. Effect by all appropriate attributed and non-attributed action consistent with the proscription of overt unilateral intervention, and with intelligence support:
a. An understanding in Latin American countries on the part of political parties, the church, the armed forces, labor, students and youth, intellectuals and educators, businessmen, women, agrarian elements and key local groups, and through them the general public, of the subversive, conspiratorial, fraudulent and brutal nature of communist action, and of its overriding ulterior purpose to serve Soviet Bloc intervention at the sacrifice of the welfare of the people of the country;
Para. 12: “The United States should itself continue and intensify appropriate … efforts to combat the activities of communists and other elements hostile to the United States, through political warfare methods consistent with the proscription of … unilateral intervention.” b. A deep personal appreciation among the Latin American governments and peoples for Western democratic ideals and institutions.
Assigned to: USIA, State, ICA, Defense, Labor, Commerce, Treasury
Target Date: Immediate and continuing.
11. On the basis of all available intelligence support, and insofar as consistent with the proscription of … unilateral intervention and as necessary or appropriate, encourage through attributed or unattributed channels (see NSC 165/1, Para. 3) [Page 72] indigenous spontaneous tendencies, groups or action having any objectives contained in the courses of action of this Outline Plan, including persuasion of groups and individuals in Latin America away from communism.
Assigned to: USIA Support: Labor, Defense, …, State
Target Date: As the occasion presents.
12. More effectively organize the U.S. Government to develop the essential information needed to deal with the problems of communism in Latin America by:
a. Designating one full-time officer in the Department of State with the responsibility of coordinating for the Department the program against communism in Latin America;
b. Establishing a unit within the Department of State to screen information on communism developed by the intelligence agencies, to select information which might usefully be made available to the Latin American governments and to secure approval for its release in implementation of Resolution 93;
c. Preparing a basic study on communism in each Latin American republic with the study to be kept current by semi-annual reports; and
d. Intensifying efforts to identify the nerve centers, communication lines and sources of financing of the communist apparatus in Latin America in order to take further measures which [Page 73] will weaken this apparatus and thus weaken the whole organization.
Assigned to: State
Support: CIA Target Date: Continuing.
13. Urge the Latin American governments to discourage or prevent the holding of communist and communist-front meetings or conferences in Latin American countries and the attendance of their nationals at such meetings. Use of government facilities of whatever nature for such activities should be denied wherever possible. Develop on a continuing basis appropriate intelligence support.
Assigned to: State
Support: USIA, CIA Target Date: As circumstances require.
14. As a means of discouraging or preventing travel to communist-sponsored conferences, meetings or schools, either within or outside the hemisphere, seek means of intensifying psychological deterrents to travel, especially on the part of youth, to the Soviet Bloc countries, and encourage Latin American governments to:
a. Adopt regulations with respect to the issuance of passports which would deny a passport to any person who it is expected will use it for travel in the interests of communism; and
b. Adopt visa regulations to regulate and prevent where necessary travel within the Latin American area of Soviet Bloc nationals and persons who are believed [Page 74] to be travelling in the interests of communism.
Assigned to: State, USIA
Target Date: Immediate.
15. When appropriate undertake to brief Latin Americans who plan to visit Soviet Bloc countries, such briefing to be tailored for the individual concerned. Ask the traveler to observe certain predetermined matters in his field of interest as a means of conditioning his attitude.
Assigned to: State
Support: USIA, …
Target Date: As feasible.
16. Encourage the Latin American governments to prevent the extension of Soviet Bloc military influence to Latin America in any form such as sales of Soviet Bloc military equipment in Latin America or the assignment of military advisors or missions.
Assigned to: State and Defense
Target Date: Continuing.
Para. 8: “Other Measures. The United States should also:
b. “Encourage Latin American governments to continue to prevent direct shipments of strategic materials to the Soviet Bloc and to adopt an import certificate and delivery verification system to facilitate the prevention of indirect shipments.”
17. While continuing to urge the Latin American governments to prevent the shipment of strategic materials to the Soviet Bloc, make no representations with respect to trade in non-strategic commodities unless it appears:
a. That such trade is or may be accompanied by an influx of Soviet Bloc traders whose purposes may be political as much as commercial; or
b. That a Latin American country is becoming or may become dependent on Soviet Bloc [Page 75] trade to such an extent that the system of strategic trade controls could be undermined or means afforded whereby the Bloc could otherwise extract undue economic or political concessions.
Assigned to: State, ICA
Support: Commerce
Target Date: As circumstances require.
Para. 5: “The United States should achieve a greater degree of hemisphere solidarity by:
d. “Evidencing greater consideration of Latin American problems at the highest levels of government by according sympathetic attention to representatives of Latin America, by exercising care in public statements relating to the area, and through such methods as visits by high government officials and distinguished private citizens to Latin American states.”
18. Through the several departments of the Government, and on a systematic basis, invite high Latin American civilian and military officials to visit the United States for short periods as guests of the United States Government to observe operations and activities in this country.
Assigned to: State, Defense, Labor, Commerce, Treasury, AEC, Agriculture, Justice, Interior
Support: USIA, CIA, ICA
Target Date: Continuing.
19. In connection with the visits of high United States civilian and military officials to Latin America, brief these officials as to what they can do to encourage action against communism, either through public statements, private conversation or other means.
Assigned to: State, USIA, AEC
Target Date: Continuing.
Para. 8. “The United States should also:
a. “Assist and encourage the formation and development of responsible organized labor movements and leadership in Latin American countries such as the Inter-American Organization of Workers (ORIT) as presently oriented.”
20. a. Encourage the Latin American governments to adopt laws and policies designed to further the development of an independent labor movement free from communist control while at the same time quietly preventing communists from controlling labor unions. Strengthen our labor programs in the area with this objective in mind.
b. In addition to the training of labor technicians, continue existing programs permitting Latin American trade union leaders to visit the United States in order that they may see how trade unions can be independent, democratic and effective, can learn how to detect communist influence and activities in the labor movement, and may be convinced of the mutual interests and understanding between working people in the United States and in their own countries.
c. Direct U.S. agencies and government-owned companies, and encourage private U.S. companies employing Latin American nationals, to develop and apply exemplary democratic labor-management relations and otherwise to conduct their operations so as to obviate communist allegations of capitalist exploitation and Yankee imperialism.
d. Encourage Latin American governments, where appropriate, to make arrangements—preferably with trade union collaboration—for the training in those [Page 77] countries of an adequate number of workers in order to contribute to the continuous development of capable and intelligent trade union leadership, such training to include instruction on the nature and practices of communism.
Assigned to: Labor, State, ICA
Support: USIA Target Date: As feasible.
Para. 9: “Increased Stability and Economic Development.…4
a. “Adopt stable, long term trading policies with respect to Latin American countries . . . .
b. “Through Export-Import Bank loans.…”
d. “Strengthen, and program on a longer term basis, technical cooperation, with particular attention to the willingness and ability of each country to use such aid effectively; and increase specialized training in the U.S. of Latin Americans in finance, labor, management, agriculture, business and other specialized fields.”
f. “While recognizing the sovereign right of Latin American countries to undertake such economic measures as they may conclude are best adapted to their own conditions, encourage them by economic assistance and other means to base their economies on a system of private enterprise and, as essential thereto, to create a political and economic climate conducive to private [Page 78] investment, of both domestic and foreign capital.…”
h. “Utilize, in reference to Latin America, the authority in the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 to build nondeteriorating assets valuable to the future of the United States.”
21. In continuing all existing positive United States programs in Latin America, including the Atoms for Peace program, keep always in view, and exploit in practice, their power to weaken communism in Latin America by strengthening and improving the welfare of Latin American governments and peoples and by drawing closer the political, economic, psychological, spiritual and military bonds of Latin American governments and peoples with the United States and the West.
Assigned to: State, Defense, USIA, ICA, Labor, Commerce, AEC, Treasury
Target Date: Continuing.
Para. 10: “… encourage the institution of necessary Latin American government fiscal, budgetary and other measures which are indispensable to economic progress in the area through utilization of the International Monetary Fund, International Bank, Export-Import Bank, and other appropriate means.”
Para. 11 and 12: (see above)
Para. 14: “… the United States should provide military assistance to Latin America consistent with the agreed plans of the Inter-American Defense Board and other bilateral or multilateral military agreements to which the United States is a party.…”
Para. 18: “Where necessary the United States should assist in the protection of sources and processing facilities of strategic materials and land transportation related thereto.…”
Para. 20: “In addition, the United States should:
b. “Continue and establish where appropriate, military training missions in Latin American nations.”
Paras. 9.a. and 9.f. (see above) 22. Encourage American businessmen doing business with Latin America to adopt such [Page 79] business policies as would avoid justification for criticism of United States business interests in Latin America.
Assigned to: State, Commerce
Support: USIA
Target Date: Continuing.
23. Stimulate a Latin American awareness that under the free enterprise system, supplemented by private and public financing from their own and free world sources, the economy of the area can be developed faster than by any other means, and that any attempt to apply Soviet economic doctrine would jeopardize the rapid economic progress now being made.
Assigned to: USIA, ICA, Commerce
Target Date: Continuing.
Paras. 11. and 12. (see above) 24. Increase U.S. assistance for the training of all types of specialists, especially teachers and specialists in atomic energy, both as a means of reducing the dependence of Latin American governments on communists who are retained in many cases merely because there is no qualified person to replace them, and to increase U.S. community of interest with Latin America.
Assigned to: ICA, State, AEC
Target Date: As feasible.
25. Increase the number of linguistically and otherwise qualified United States citizens sent to Latin America to teach in schools and universities. Encourage a larger number of prominent Americans to visit Latin American countries for such purposes as lecturing and establishing [Page 80] effective personal contacts, such visits to be at the expense of American universities, colleges or foundations or at the expense of the United States Government.
Assigned to: State
Target Date: Continuing.
26. Expand the educational exchange program and increase support for the Inter-American School Service, in order to take advantage of the capabilities of U.S. educational media, both in this country and abroad, to establish a community of interest for closer orientation toward the United States.
Assigned to: State
Target Date: Continuing.
27. Increase the bi-national center operations and other programs of cultural activities in order to strengthen contacts with intellectual forces in Latin America and appeal to the aspirations of youth.
Assigned to: USIA
Target Date: Continuing.
28. Solicit the cooperation and assistance of private international service groups such as Rotary International, and international professional associations such as the Inter-American Bar Association, wherever it appears that such groups can be useful in achieving the objectives of this Outline Plan.
Assigned to: State, USIA
Target Date: Continuing.
29. Dramatize U.S.-Latin American friendship and focus public attention on the intellectual, technological and social dynamism [Page 81] of the U.S., including its leadership in Atoms for Peace, through periodic presentations of exhibits, and other special events activities designed for broad popular impact. Arrange frequent tours by U.S. athletic teams and promote as appropriate joint U.S.-Latin American sports events.
Assigned to: USIA, State, AEC
Support: Defense
Target Date: Immediate.
Para. 13: “The United States should encourage the concept that each of the Latin American states is responsible for maximizing its contribution, by military … measures, to:
a. “The internal security of its own territory.”
30. Where possible, train selected Latin American military officers in counter-intelligence operations, with emphasis on detection of communist activities, and assist in establishing effective military counter-intelligence organizations throughout Latin America.
Assigned to: Defense
Support: CIA
Target Date: As feasible.
Para. 20: “In addition, the United States should:
c. “Increase the quotas of qualified Latin American personnel for training in U.S. Armed Forces schools and training centers; encourage Latin American countries to fill their authorized quotas for the U.S. Military and Naval Academies; and provide and encourage Latin American countries to fill a similar quota for the Air Force Academy.”
31. Encourage Latin American governments to take advantage of the training quotas to U.S. Service academies, Armed Forces schools and training centers, in order that more military and civilian personnel from Latin America, where the military exercise great political influence, may become indoctrinated in our methodology and accustomed to our way of life including anti-communist orientation.
Assigned to: Defense
Support: ICA
Target Date: Continuing.
[Page 82]

III. Actions Agreed Upon as Warranting Further Study or Consideration

Paras. 8.a. and 11. (see above) 32. Consider the advisability of exploiting European influence in Latin America for anti-communist purposes by arranging for European intellectuals and free trade union leaders coming to the U.S. as grantees to lecture in Latin America on ideologically important topics, such trips to be under their own or Latin American auspices, but at joint U.S.-Latin American expense.
Assigned to: State
Support: USIA
Target Date: Administrative action to begin at once.
Justification: Such European leaders have considerable influence in various parts of Latin America. IES does not have authority to spend funds for the purpose.
33. Consider the advisability of selecting and financing up to 10 suitable U.S. trade unionists to visit Latin American countries to develop friendship and understanding between the U.S. and Latin American workers as well as to give on-the-spot advice and assistance to trade unions in Latin America.
Assigned to: Labor, State
Support: USIA
Target Date: As feasible.
Justification: It is highly important to establish liaison between U.S. labor organizations and those developing in Latin America. The problems of government sponsorship and methods of financing require additional study.
[Page 83]

Annex A

Paper Prepared in the Office of Intelligence Research, Department of State5


Communist objectives

The underlying objective of the Communists in Latin America is presumed to be the same as that of the Soviet Union—to weaken the United States. In the field of political action the Communists seek to locate power in the hands of groups hostile to the United States, and, short of this goal, to bring pressure to bear against policies of governments cooperating with the United States. Their propaganda is designed to build support for Soviet policies and to maximize friction between the countries of Latin America and the United States. The Communists cannot seriously regard the separation of Latin America and the United States as achievable over the short term in the light of traditional US–Latin America ties, geographical considerations, and economic interdependence of the hemisphere countries. Thus the Communists also seek to strike at the United States by weakening the economic and social fabric of Latin America, which they often describe as the “strategic rear” of the United States.

Communist Strategy and Tactics

Communist strategy is broadly defined by the program of the “national liberation front”. All Latin American Communist parties have adopted this program, which provides an almost infinitely flexible standard of operations. It permits alliances with all domestic groups to the extent that they will pursue an anti-US policy or, however temporarily, consent to serve as mouthpieces for such a policy. Thus in the period 1950–52, when anti-US nationalism was on the rise in Latin America, the Communists were willing to support Peron of Argentina, Ibanez of Chile, and the Bolivian MNR. All of these the Communists before and since then have denounced as “fascist”. The test has been simply the degree of their willingness to cooperate with the United States.

[Page 84]

The Communist statement of objectives of the “national liberation front” includes the extension of democracy and maintenance of constitutional process, economic development, national economic independence, labor unity and freedom, agrarian reform, and welfare for all. These objectives conform to aspirations widely held in Latin America and are the stock in trade of Latin American political leaders seeking a popular following.

The Communists find it easy to pose as the unrelenting champions of Latin American aspirations because they are almost perennially in opposition, and their words do not have to meet a day-to-day test. Further, the aspirations suit Communist requirements in the present phase of Latin American development and Communist strategy, or they can be twisted to Communist purposes. Thus the larger and more illiterate the body of voters, the more useful are extremist political appeals. The firmer the adherence to constitutional process and civil liberties, the greater freedom for Communist propagandists. The more urgency for economic development and freedom from “Wall Street”, the more alluring are the possibilities of trade with the Soviet bloc and destruction of ties with US capital and markets. In free labor movements Communists generally are better able to gain positions of leadership or influence, organizing labor unity as an instrument of pressure on the government for Communist objectives. Agrarian reform, as defined by the Communists, is a means to break down the traditional order and to open the way to propagandize the rural masses. In general, by exaggerating nationalist objectives and establishing an unrealistic timetable for fulfilling legitimate aspirations the Communists can forward the objectives of rousing anti-US feeling and striking at the United States by weakening Latin American societies. Moreover, they can carry on this operation with the applause or toleration of a substantial part of the local population.

Target Groups

Under the “national liberation front” strategy the Communists concentrate their efforts on social sectors that are active partisans of change—including labor, both manual and white collar, professionals, especially writers, artists and teachers, and youth and women sectors of these groups. The primary Communist target groups are urban and they have grown in size and influence with the shift of population from rural to urban centers. To the extent that the Communists have developed influence in agricultural areas, this has been a reflection of their strength in the cities, as in Guatemala.

Front Organizations

Front organizations to attract non-Communist support and extend the voice and audience of the Communist parties are of major [Page 85] importance to the tactics of Latin-American communism. The Communists organize labor, both urban and rural, youth-student groups, women, racial, and other front groups, using special appeals to each—labor unity, higher wages, agrarian reform, benefits to youth, women’s suffrage. The special-interest groups are then deployed to support appeals that cut across class and group lines, such as “peace”, nationalization of raw material resources, and the cancellation of infringements on sovereignty allegedly involved in collaboration with the United States.

Communist Capabilities

The ability of the Communists to further their objectives depends upon the local climate and upon the strength of their organization. Potentially the climate is favorable to Communist operations throughout the area, where few countries enjoy basic social or economic stability. This is true even though, with the reassertion of Army power or with US assistance, Latin American governments are more moderately oriented than for some years past and are inclined to curb Communist activities. Over the short run the climate is favorable to Communist capabilities only in those countries having a relatively free political life. In other countries, where controls are imposed, the Communists may benefit over a longer period from association with the opposition, although their operations are now being contained.

Communist party organization has a special advantage in Latin America where political organization is in general weak or poorly developed. The value of Communist organization was shown dramatically in Guatemala, where it served as a school and a model to non-Communist revolutionaries. The Communists possess the unique advantage of support from an international organization in building a going concern, which overcomes handicaps that would normally be fatal. They are able to maintain a consistent level of propaganda activity, in contrast to non-Communist political groups which confine their operations to electoral periods and to special issues as they arise, and thus can provide what amounts to professional staff support to the non-Communists in many situations. The Communists are also able to continue low-level activity in most countries even under legal bans and thus are able to revive at short notice when opportunity offers.

Communist Party organization has at one time or another shown significant strength in most countries of the area. At present it is operating under serious handicaps in Guatemala, Peru, and Venezuela, and is semi-submerged in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Cuba. In other countries—Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, [Page 86] Mexico, and Uruguay—the party is relatively free to propagandize and carry on its other activities.

With the destruction of the Communist-dominated regime of Arbenz in Guatemala, the major centers of Communist activity are now found in Brazil and Chile. In these countries the social and economic instability endemic throughout Latin America has been especially evident in an environment of political freedom. Both Brazil and Chile were singled out at the XXth Moscow Party Congress as countries in which the “national liberation movement” is growing, and together they account for almost two-thirds of the Latin American Communist Party membership of about 250,000.

The Chilean Communists, who have a reservoir of strength from their participation in Chile’s Popular Front in the first decade of Radical Party rule, 1938–47, backed Ibanez’ ultra-nationalist campaign for the presidency and gave the Ibanez regime conditional support in 1952–53. The Communists cooled toward Ibanez as he moved to closer cooperation with the United States and became more intolerant of Communist action and labor pressures. Their objective at present is to mobilize effective opposition to the regime’s determined effort to halt inflation with US assistance. Although outlawed by the Radical regime in 1948, the Communists have maintained and made effective use of their labor base and penetration of intellectual circles. In early 1956, following sweeping arrests of both Communist and non-Communist labor leaders agitating against the regime’s economic reforms, the Communists reached a political alliance with the Popular Socialist Party, a major left-wing party formerly allied with Ibanez. The pro-Communist political group, whose constituent members polled about one-quarter of the 1953 congressional electoral vote, successfully collaborated with the influential center Radical Party in April 1, 1956 municipal elections and will doubtless seek to maintain this alliance in the 1957 congressional and 1958 presidential elections. The achievement in Chile of a Communist dominated government on the order of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala is unlikely in view of the strength of anti-Communist forces. Nevertheless, the Communists may enjoy considerable success in intensifying Chile’s problems and in obstructing reforms needed to strengthen the social and economic fabric of the country.

The present tactics of the Brazilian Communist Party recall Chilean Party tactics during the period of conditional support of the Ibanez regime. In 1955 the Brazilian Communists for the first time came out unequivocally in support of a non-Communist slate in a nation-wide election, and contributed heavily to President Kubitschek’s margin of victory. The Brazilian Party has continued its support of the Kubitschek forces since the election, allegedly for the [Page 87] purpose of preventing a coup d’état by right-wing military elements. The Party’s recent strategy has no doubt enhanced its political prestige and widened the audience for Communist propaganda. However, it is unlikely that the Communists will exert strong influence on the Kubitschek administration or that their capabilities will be greatly increased as the result of favors granted by the federal government. In view of the anti-Communist attitude of important military and conservative civilian groups, it would be politically dangerous for Kubitschek to permit any marked increase in Communist strength within the federal bureaucracy or within the trade union movement. Nevertheless the Communists have some leverage within the left-wing of the administration groups. When and if the administration adopts unpopular though necessary economic reforms, the Communists will no doubt seek to draw off the left-wing into a Communist-influenced opposition, as have the Chilean Communists. In the meanwhile the Brazilian Communists are maintaining constant pressure to bear against administration measures of cooperation with the United States.

International Ties

In the period since the outbreak of the Korean War international Communism attention to Latin America has markedly increased. Communist-sponsored trips of Latin Americans to the orbit, less than 100 in 1950, reached as high as one thousand in 1953, with heavy attendance at “peace” and youth front conferences. This travel declined in volume during 1954 in the absence of massive front meetings. Nevertheless with increasing emphasis on cultural missions, the travellers probably had at least as great propaganda value to the Communists as in 1953. In 1955 both the volume and quality of travel reached a high level. Emphasis on “culture” continues, but with evidence at the same time of more concentration on labor groups.

The Soviet Bloc has shown a growing interest in trade with Latin America since early 1953, culminating with Bulganin’s offer of closer ties in January 1956. Important Latin American countries—Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay—are vulnerable to Communist propaganda and bloc trade approaches either because they wish to unload export surpluses or as a means of increasing their bargaining power in relation to the United States. Present bilateral trade agreements between the two areas envisaged a total trade level of about $450 million in 1955; actual trade reached $250 million in 1954, and probably increased somewhat in 1955. Since total Latin American trade was in the vicinity of $15 billion in 1954, trade with the Soviet Bloc constituted less than 2% of the total. Argentina, Brazil, and [Page 88] Uruguay accounted for 96 percent of Latin American trade with the Soviet Bloc in 1954.

Although trade with Latin America has represented about one-quarter of Soviet Bloc trade with underdeveloped areas in 1954–55, the opportunities for Soviet policy in the area are not comparable with those in other underdeveloped areas. In Latin America societies are more stable, and geographic and other factors work against development of a “third position”. On the other hand, Latin American countries are alert to possible economic advantages to be derived from current Soviet overtures. Resentment of U.S. trade barriers applicable to Latin America (even though Latin America fares better than any other area in the proportion of exports to the U.S. which enters duty-free) has been intensified by recent U.S. competition in world markets under the surplus disposal program, by contrast with Soviet Bloc offers of new markets. Consequently, in the economic area Soviet policy has opportunities to harass the United States and to complement local Communist campaigns for “national liberation”.

The nature of international Communist control of Latin American Communist operations and sources of financing of these operations can not be defined with concrete evidence. Nevertheless, support from abroad is believed to be essential to the maintenance of the Communist apparatus in Latin America: it is assumed to pass through covert channels which have grown with increased travel to the orbit and trade between the orbit and Latin America. There is in addition a constant flow of propaganda material from international Communist headquarters and from Soviet Bloc missions established in the hemisphere, especially those in Mexico and the River Plate countries. International Communist financing of trips to the orbit provides in itself an important contribution to the Latin American Communist organizations. These trips have been of great use in enlisting the essential corps of fellow-travellers, holding those whose sympathies may tend to weaken, and providing live propaganda to Latin American audiences.

Agents of the international Communist front groups—peace, labor, student—have from time to time travelled to Latin America on the business of these organizations. However, the bulk of international Communist business in the area is believed to be transacted by Latin American Communists who have been schooled in the Soviet Bloc. These individuals receive funds and disburse them, take the lead in setting the propaganda tone, and provide a word-of-mouth channel for instructions as to tactics of the Communist fronts. The resolution on Communist intervention in the hemisphere adopted by the Tenth Inter-American Conference at Caracas, March 1954, was directed against this type of contact. Nevertheless, the Communists continue to enjoy freedom to travel on international [Page 89] Communist business and, as nationals of the Latin American countries, they enjoy the privileges of free transit that these countries extend to each other’s citizens.

Probable Future Developments

The “national liberation front” program is expected to continue much in its present form, as a guide line to Communists in Latin America. This program—designed to rally popular pressure for rapid social and economic reform and against cooperation with the United States—has been and will continue to be very flexible, permitting wide adaptation to changing local and international conditions and new opportunities. In the post-Stalin period Communist strategists have sought to widen the area of cooperation with non-Communist groups and there has been reduced emphasis on militant action. Only in Colombia, where the Communists have made common cause with existing guerrilla forces is there evidence of militancy or an attempt to exert all-out pressure on governments.

The conclusions of the XXth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party are not expected to bring any marked shift in Communist tactics within the “national liberation front” strategy. At the same time, new opportunities may open up. The Soviet accent on coexistence, economic cooperation, and traditional diplomacy should work to increase the respectability of its Communist party agencies. More important, the welcoming hand extended by the Moscow Congress to Socialist and other parties of “progress” can help Communism to gain new allies among leftist parties of Latin America. In Chile the Secretary General of the Popular Socialist Party, in commenting on his party’s unprecedented decision to ally with the Communists, reportedly hailed the XXth Congress as opening “broad possibilities for developing and consolidating unity between socialists and communists”. To the extent that more moderate and economically prudent administrations alienate powerful left-wing groups in Latin America, Communist ability to make use of the new united front themes and to broaden out the “national liberation front” may be expected to increase.

  1. Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, Latin America—1956. Top Secret. A covering title sheet; a statement concerning the purpose and use of the Outline Plan, dated April 18; and an action memorandum by the OCB Secretariat Staff, dated April 25, are not printed. This Outline Plan had its origins in early 1955 in Assistant Secretary Holland’s “concern at the apparent failure of Latin American Governments to appreciate the seriousness of the threat posed by international communism and their resultant failure to take effective measures to control communist activities.” (Memorandum from Lyon to Hoover, December 2, 1955; ibid., Latin America—1955) A paper on the subject, apparently drafted in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs and circulated within the Bureau for comment during the summer of 1955, was thereafter submitted to the OCB Working Group on Latin America. (Memorandum from John T. Fishburn of the Office of Regional American Affairs to Robert M. Sayre of the Office, August 8, 1955; ibid., Central Files, 611.20/8–555) The Working Group prepared a draft outline plan entitled “Outline Plan of Operations Against Communist Activities in Latin America”. dated November 29, and submitted it to the OCB for preliminary consideration prior to its transmission to U.S. Embassies in Latin America for comment. At its meeting on December 15, the OCB suggested certain revisions, and authorized its transmission to the field. The Department transmitted the draft plan, under cover of instruction CA–4731, dated December 21, 1955.

    In March 1956, the USIA notified the OCB of its urgent need for the Outline Plan, and the OCB agreed to expedite its completion. Consequently, the Working Group met on March 28, 29, and 30, before all replies had been received from the field, and produced a revised version dated April 5. The Board Assistants reviewed this version at a meeting on April 13, made additional changes, and concurred in its submission to the OCB under date of April 13. At its meeting on April 18, the OCB concurred in the Outline Plan, after suggesting a few more changes, including a new title, and authorized its transmission to the field under date of April 18. The Department sent copies of the Outline Plan to all Chiefs of Mission in Latin America at various dates during May and June 1956, under cover of similar letters signed by Hoover, requesting that they personally supervise its implementation. Copies of the letters are ibid., Central File 611.20.

  2. Not printed.
  3. Ellipsis in source text.
  4. Ellipses in paragraphs 9, 10, 14, 18, and 13 are in the source text.
  5. Secret.