2. Report of the NSC 1290–d Working Group1

Problem

To formulate a concept for U.S. assistance in the development of forces adequate to provide internal security in countries vulnerable to Communist subversion.

The Nature of Communist Subversion

1. Communist subversion takes forms which range from political penetration to armed insurrection. Communist penetration is directed against every facet of national life; government, labor unions, newspapers, educational institutions and intellectual movements. Local strikes and disturbances are fomented when they will further communist objectives. The principal objective of communist penetration is to build the capability of seizing control of a country without insurrection and at least to reduce the capacity of the local governments to oppose insurrection if the communists resort to it.

2. Armed insurrection ranges from small-scale guerrilla activity to large-scale national rebellion. The communist tactics vary from country to country. They may attempt to weaken the political and economic system in order to discredit the local government and force [Page 6] it to accept communist participation; or they may attempt to seize control by armed force.

The Requirements of Internal Security

3. The general political and economic well-being of the country concerned is an important factor contributing to success in controlling communist subversion. In particular, the success of preventive measures depends upon development of that type of public opinion which will lead the local citizenry to identify itself with the local government and the security forces in dealing with subversion, and which will assist in inducing defections from the Communist side.

4. In the internal security field the prevention and control of communist subversion requires for the most part preventive, police-type activity including the application of limited force. Such activity includes:

a.
The detection of communist agents, fellow-travellers, front organizations and other components of the communist apparatus.
b.
The detention of communist personalities or groups.
c.
The execution of judicial measures against these persons or groups.

5. In countries where communist subversion has reached a stage of actual or potential insurrection its control and reduction normally involves the use of greater force than is at the disposition of the normal preventive police-type services. Military-type action is therefore required in certain instances to supplement police-type action.

Internal Security Forces

6. The functions of detection, arrest and judicial action are normally vested in the civil arm of government—police, investigative services, and the courts. It is the function of these forces to discover and destroy the communist subversive apparatus before it is able to achieve important penetration. In countries where the control of subversion requires limited application of force, police-type forces are usually organized to include armed police, gendarmérie or constabulary. Such forces are generally under the direction of a civilian branch of the government and are distinct from the regular national armed forces.

7. Where police-type operations, including limited applications of force, are not adequate to cope with communist subversion the regular military forces must take action. The suppression of organized insurrection requires in addition to police-type action military-type action which can be effectively conducted only by regular military forces.

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Vulnerable Countries

8. An illustrative list of countries which are threatened by communist subversion but where such subversion may still be responsive to preventive, police-type measures, including the application of limited force, might include the following: Iran, Iceland, Greece, Philippines, South Korea, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and certain of the Latin American Republics.2

9. An illustrative list of countries where communist subversion has reached a stage in which military-type action is immediately or potentially required might include the following: South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, and Indonesia.

U.S. Assistance in the Development of Forces for Internal Security

10. General Considerations. The U.S. has a vital interest in assisting free world countries to defend themselves against communist subversion. Since for most of these countries the U.S. is an important potential source of external assistance, it is in the U.S. interest that the internal security forces of these countries be able to deal with all forms of subversive penetration and insurrection both effectively and economically. In general it will be neither efficient nor economical for the U.S., initially at least, to press for sweeping changes in the general structure of the internal security forces of these countries. U.S. efforts, therefore, should be directed primarily toward improving the over-all effectiveness of existing forces.

11. Police-type forces. In countries where the primary requirement is to improve the capabilities of police-type forces and thus to prevent Communist subversion from making important headway, the U.S. programs of assistance for internal security should center, to the degree politically feasible, on helping to meet the following requirements:

a.
Honest and competent administration, more adequate pay, better training—both basic and technical, and the elimination of unqualified personnel from the police-type forces.
b.
Provision of minimum appropriate arms and equipment, including transport and communications facilities.
c.
Revision of legislation to permit effective police action.
d.
Revision or reorganization of judicial systems which block corrective measures.
e.
Exchange of information on communist subversion and methods of identifying and combatting it.
f.
Assistance in the development of information programs which make clear to the local population the nature of the communist [Page 8] threat and the advantages of cooperating with the local government in its efforts to eliminate subversion.

12. Military-type forces. In those countries where communist subversion has reached the stage of actual or potential large-scale insurrection U.S. assistance should include, in addition to the measures outlined in paragraph 11, primary emphasis upon coping with the threat of armed insurrection. In most of these countries the U.S. does not expect that in cases of external armed aggression the regular military forces alone can deal with large scale attacks. The regular military forces could perform little more than a covering or delaying role. In some of these countries, moreover, the U.S. would not expect to use its own armed forces locally in case of external aggression but would plan to counter such aggression with military operations directed against the aggressor elsewhere. The U.S. should therefore be prepared where necessary to see some sacrifice of the capability of the local regular military forces to meet external armed aggression in order to achieve the required capability to deal with internal insurrection. For political and morale reasons these forces must have a dual mission: (a) protecting the frontiers of the country against external attack, and (b) suppressing internal insurrection. The latter mission, however, should in practice be conceived by the U.S. as primary and in these countries the U.S. should direct its military assistance towards providing that type of training, equipment and deployment of the regular military forces which will best fit them for dealing with insurrection. The U.S. could then better deal with pressure for the provision of that type of modern heavy military equipment which is useful only for meeting overt aggression by encouraging local governments to conceive of their regular forces as primarily an instrument for dealing with subversion. To the degree that the local leaders can be brought to recognize and accept the importance of this mission, U.S. assistance can be more effectively utilized, and pressure on the U.S. for assistance in unrealistic types of equipment and organization would be relaxed.

Recommendation

13. The U.S. should adopt the following general concept for U.S. assistance in development of foreign forces for internal security:

a.
It is in the U.S. national interest to assist free world countries to defend themselves against communist subversion. In general the U.S. should seek more effective use of forces and agencies in being rather than the creation of new types of security forces. Where communist subversion is in a relatively early stage of development and consists primarily of efforts at penetration, U.S. assistance for internal security should be directed primarily toward the development of effective preventive forces—police, investigative services, [Page 9] and judicial systems—and the development of public support for these forces. In countries where communist subversion has matured to the stage of actual or potential insurrection the U.S. should, in addition, direct its military assistance primarily toward developing the capability of the military forces of the country to take military action against insurrection. In doing so the U.S. should encourage the acceptance of action against internal insurrection as one of the primary missions of the regular military forces of the local country. The U.S. should recognize that the assignment of this mission will reduce their capability to conduct large scale military operations.
b.

The precise nature of U.S. assistance and the relative emphasis to be placed on various kinds of internal security forces should be individually designed to meet the specific requirements of each country. This determination should follow a comprehensive country-by-country analysis of internal security requirements which should be immediately undertaken and completed prior to May 1, 1955.

In such a survey priority attention should be given to:

(1)
Studies of the possibilities and requirements for U.S. assistance in increasing the effectiveness of police-type forces to deal with Communist subversion in the following countries: Iran, Iceland, Greece, Philippines, South Korea, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and certain of the Latin American Republics;3
(2)
Studies of the possibilities and requirements for U.S. assistance in increasing the effectiveness of the regular armed forces to deal with Communist subversion and insurrections, in addition to measures to increase the effectiveness of local police-type forces, in the following countries: South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma and Indonesia.4

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Working Group on NSC 1290d. Top Secret. No drafting information is given on the source text. Annex A to this report, containing the status of internal security forces of individual countries, is not printed.
  2. The Defense representative believes that Thailand, Burma and Indonesia should be included in paragraph 8 and excluded from paragraph 9. [Footnote in the source text.]
  3. The Defense representative believes that Thailand, Burma and Indonesia should be included in sub-paragraph (1) and excluded from sub-paragraph (2). [Footnote in the source text.]
  4. The OCB approved this report on March 9 and authorized the working group to prepare instructions requesting recommendations and analyses from the country missions. These instructions were transmitted in circular telegram 559, March 23, summarized in footnote 2, infra .