128. Memorandum of Discussion at the 437th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, March 17, 19601
[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda items 2, “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security,” and 3, “U.S. Policy Toward Cuba.”]
Mr. Gray presented the draft statement of U.S. policy toward the West Indies (NSC 6002) to the Council. (A copy of Mr. Gray’s Briefing Note is filed in the Minutes of the Meeting6 and another is attached to this memorandum7).
Mr. Gray explained the divergence of views on economic assistance contained in Paragraph 12 of NSC 6002, wherein the majority proposed to provide technical assistance and modest economic assistance on a grant or loan basis while Treasury and Budget proposed to provide technical assistance and, on a small scale, related assistance as a means of demonstrating the U.S. interest in the West Indies, thereby supporting overall U.S. efforts to maintain continued U.S. access to required military facilities. Also, the majority wished to spell out the extent of U.S. assistance envisaged for the West Indies in addition to that necessary for maintaining U.S. military facilities.
After Mr. Gray’s explanation, the President wondered whether some of the differences of view being presented to the Council were not picayunish. He read the two versions of Paragraph 12 again and remarked that these seemed to be differences without a distinction. Mr. Scribner said Treasury had raised the question whether our policy on payment for base rights should not be changed to a policy of outright lease and rental payments. During the discussion of the Libyan policy last week, the Council had deferred the rental payment problem pending the study of the feasibility of rental payments on a [Page 428] world-wide basis. Treasury objected to the majority position in Paragraph 12 because it laid emphasis on four economic purposes of assistance, whereas Treasury believed that assistance was justified only for maintenance of U.S. bases in the West Indies. The President noted that all parties to the split wished to rely on the U.K. to help meet the requirements of the West Indies for external capital. He said, however, the U.S. would probably find it wise not to be indifferent to the West Indies. Cuba should be a warning to us. We need not be paternalistic, but we should be benevolent. Eric Williams was trying to get us out of Trinidad. Perhaps our relinquishment of our facilities in Trinidad would not be a bad thing except for the sums of money we have put into our base there. Mr. Dulles said Williams might be the Prime Minister of the West Indies when it attained its independence. Secretary Herter said the limited language of the Treasury–Budget version of Paragraph 12 would relate any help to the West Indies to base considerations, but the Department of State felt that assistance to the Federation should be based on broader considerations, including the desirability of retaining the friendship of the West Indies. [1 sentence (3 lines of source text) not declassified] The West Indies was at our backdoor and we should be careful that we did not define our interests too narrowly in terms of our military base in the area. Mr. Scribner felt we should provide enough assistance to demonstrate our interest in the West Indies, but we should not take the position of supplying assistance for major economic reasons. The President pointed out that the majority language provides for a great deal of reliance on other countries in furnishing assistance to the West Indies and states that the U.S. will give modest assistance. He felt it was not sufficient to say that we will give just enough assistance to keep the base. Mr. Stans felt the majority language in Paragraph 12 might be amended by saying “provide technical assistance and, if necessary to U.S. security interests, economic assistance, as a means of supporting overall U.S. efforts to maintain continued U.S. access to required military facilities and also as a means of demonstrating U.S. interest in the West Indies.” Mr. Hoegh noted that the U.S. was dependent on Jamaica for 50 per cent or more of its bauxite. He wished to support the majority language which he felt would result in assistance to the economic development of the West Indies. The President asked how much bauxite was obtained from Surinam. During his visit the ALCOA development there had been pointed out to him.8 Mr. Hoegh said 2.9 million tons were obtained from Surinam, whereas over four million tons came from the West Indies. The President pointed out again that the West Indies was [Page 429] Important because of its proximity to the U.S. He said he attached great importance to the Cuban situation, which has great potential danger to U.S. security, including the possible disintegration of the Organization of American States. He believed it was necessary for us to hang on to West Indian friendship and to help the Federation. Such assistance should not be our major responsibility, but would be in our interest. Mr. Irwin said the Department of Defense supported the majority language in Paragraph 12 because it believed assistance to the West Indies must be based on our broader interests and not solely on our desire to keep our military facilities. Throughout the whole area the political aspects were very important. The President believed the sub-paragraphs in the majority column of Paragraph 12 stated some desirable objectives. He noted that businessmen were constantly coming to him and saying that something must be done to counteract the Cuban situation or the flow of business investments to Latin America would dry up. The nations he had visited on his trip had promised to maintain a favorable climate for business and investment, but he did not know whether they would be able to do so in all cases. For example, it is not known how long Frondizi9 would last. If the Peronists came back into power, there would not be much desire to invest in Argentina. The President felt that we must have access to the South American continent. The U.S. was getting more and more to be a have-not nation as far as raw materials are concerned. For example, without the iron ore of Canada and Venezuela her steel production would be seriously curtailed. We could not think in terms of military bases only in this hemisphere. In fact, he would be willing to trade several military bases for a strong OAS determined to hang together. Mr. Dulles said it was not certain that the West Indies Federation would actually be formed because Jamaica wants a rather loose federation whereas Williams wants a very tight organization. If Williams becomes Prime Minister the U.S. may be in difficulties in the West Indies. Williams seems to want to have considerable control over wealthy Jamaica. The President, noting that he was usually desirous of saving money, issued a plea that matters connected with Latin America not be looked at solely from the point of view of saving money. This area was a very sensitive area and could have a great effect on the possibility of carrying out our policies. We could not afford not to make every effort to get the countries of this hemisphere on our side in the way we had persuaded Mexico to be on our side. He did not want to adopt a paternalistic policy, but he would put our policy toward the West Indies on a broader base than the desire to maintain military bases there.[Page 430]
Mr. Gray then pointed out that the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed to add the following as a new sub-paragraph to Paragraph 12: “Assist in the acquisition of a federal capital on land other than leased base areas which the U.S. has declared that it requires.” Mr. Gray explained that there was some feeling in the West Indies that the federal capital should be established on the site of our Chaguaramas Base; the Joint Chiefs hoped to induce the West Indies to establish its capital elsewhere in order to keep the base. The President wondered whether this sub-paragraph was needed, inasmuch as Paragraph 12 without the new sub-paragraph spoke of maintaining access to required U.S. military facilities. Admiral Burke felt the Joint Chiefs proposal was directed toward a slightly different point; that is, toward helping the West Indies look for a capital. The President suspected that the West Indies wanted a ready-made capital free of cost. So far as the language of Paragraph 12 was concerned he had no objection to the majority language in general except that in his view the specific statements in the sub-paragraphs were somewhat limiting. He wanted to emphasize the general interest of the U.S. in the area and accordingly would prefer that general language be used in the paragraph. Mr. Gray said an attempt would be made to formulate agreed general language for the paragraph in the spirit of the discussion. He believed that resolution of the split in Paragraph 14 would also resolve the split in Paragraph 18.10 He reported that since issuance of NSC 6002 the split in Paragraph 1911 had been resolved by new agreed language which he read as follows:
“Make clear to the U.K. and to the West Indies that we expect the U.K. to provide such external military assistance as may be required for the Federation’s internal security forces. However, if this approach [Page 431] fails and if required to achieve U.S. objectives in the West Indies, consider providing U.S. assistance to meet the Federation’s minimum legitimate internal security requirements.”
The President said he agreed with the new language. He asked whether the new Paragraph 19 referred to overt action by the U.S. Mr. Gray replied in the affirmative. The President said he was somewhat fearful that we might be getting into U.K. or Commonwealth business. If we act too independently with respect to British or British Commonwealth countries, and especially if we act covertly, we will raise the possibility of a disagreement with our best allies. Mr. Gray suggested that the phrase “after consultation with the U.K.” might be inserted in Paragraph 19. The President said we were dealing with a proud nation in dealing with the U.K.; accordingly, he would like to see the term “after consultation” or “with the knowledge of the U.K.” inserted in Paragraph 19.
Secretary Herter asked permission to say a word about the last sentence of Paragraph 15. This sentence provided that we should make an early effort to associate the West Indies with the present agreements between the U.K. and the U.S. concerning base rights. The U.K. had recommended early negotiations in order that a better deal could be made with the West Indies on our base rights before West Indian independence. However, the language of Paragraph 15 was somewhat over-optimistic in its reference to “present agreements.” If we limit ourselves to trying to get the West Indies to accept our present agreements with the U.K. on bases without any change, we were defeated before we started. He accordingly suggested that the words “the present” be deleted from Paragraph 15. Mr. Stans noted that Paragraph 18 had been passed over somewhat hurriedly and inquired how the split in that paragraph was to be settled. Mr. Scribner said he understood that paragraph 18 would be worked out after the meeting in the light of the discussion of Paragraph 12. The President said he did not regard Paragraph 18 as a very important paragraph. Mr. Dulles felt the entire statement of policy was rather optimistic. The President agreed, remarking that he believed the situation in the West Indies was more serious than the Planning Board thought it was. Mr. Irwin said he believed the West Indies would want to change the term and various other provisions in our 1941 base agreement with the U.K. as it related to the West Indies. In September the U.K. had indicated that, while it could not guarantee results, it would endeavor to put forward a base agreement protecting U.S. base rights in the West Indies as part of the settlement in independence between the U.K. and the West Indies. Mr. Irwin noted that British Commonwealth countries becoming independent have generally accepted the obligations of the U.K. [Page 432] Government with respect to those countries. The President said he was very much in favor of getting the U.K. to preserve our base rights in the West Indies if this was a feasible procedure.
The National Security Council:12
- Discussed the draft statement of policy on the subject contained in NSC 6002, as amended by the enclosures to the reference Memos For All Holders of NSC 6002; in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thereon, transmitted by the reference memorandum of February 18, 1960.
- Adopted the statement of policy in NSC 6002, subject to the following amendments:
- Pages 3–4, paragraph 12: Revise to
read as follows:
“12. While relying on the United Kingdom, Canada and other Commonwealth countries, Free World international financial institutions and private sources to meet the requirements of The West Indies for external capital, provide technical assistance and modest economic assistance on a grant or loan basis as may be required to demonstrate U.S. interest in the West Indies which, together with the entire Latin American area, is of vital significance to the United States and also to support over-all U.S. efforts to maintain continued U.S. access to required military facilities.”
- Page 5, paragraph 15: In the last sentence, delete the words “the present” between “with” and “agreements”.
- Page 6, paragraph 18: Revise to
read as follows:
“18. Should it become necessary for the United States to make financial or other arrangements for the maintenance of required U.S. base rights and facilities in the area, be prepared to offer additional assistance or other appropriate quid pro quo, commensurate with the value of these rights and facilities to the United States.*”
- Page 7, paragraph 19: Revise to
read as follows:
“19. Make clear to the United Kingdom and to The West Indies that we expect the United Kingdom to provide such external military assistance as may be required for the federation’s internal security forces. However, if this approach fails and if required to achieve U.S. objectives in The West Indies, consider, after consultation with the United Kingdom, providing U.S. assistance to meet the federation’s minimum legitimate internal security requirements.”
- Pages 16–17, subparagraph 13–d: Delete the bracketed sentence and the footnote thereto.
Note: NSC 6002, as amended by the action in b above, subsequently approved by the President; circulated as NSC 6002/113 for implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government; and referred to the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency.
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Boggs.↩
- Document 11.↩
- See footnote 2, supra.↩
- These memoranda all transmitted revised pages of NSC 6002 to holders of the draft statement. (Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 6002 Series)↩
- This memorandum transmitted the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on NSC 6002 to the members of the NSC. (ibid.)↩
- The minutes of all National Security Council meetings are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, Official Meeting Minutes File.↩
- Attached to the source text, but not printed.↩
- During the return portion of his trip to South America, February 23–March 7, President Eisenhower’s party made a refueling stop at Paramaribo, Suriname, on March 3. Regarding the trip, see Documents 68 ff.↩
- Arturo Frondizi was inaugurated as President of Argentina on May 1, 1958, for a 6-year term.↩
Paragraph 18 of NSC 6002 reads as follows:
“18. Should it become necessary for the United States to make financial or other arrangements for the maintenance of required U.S. base rights and facilities in the area, [in amounts greater than would otherwise be programmed under the above guidance,]* be prepared to offer [additional assistance or other]* appropriate quid pro quo, commensurate with the value of these rights and facilities to the United States.**” The single asterisk denoted that the Department of the Treasury and the Bureau of the Budget proposed deletion of the bracketed material. The double asterisks denoted that “The Department of Defense has been directed to undertake in consultation with the Department of State an over-all study of the feasibility and desirability of utilizing direct rental payments as quid pro quo for the maintenance of military rights and facilities in various foreign countries.”↩
Paragraph 19 of NSC 6002 reads as follows:
“19. Encourage the U.K. to provide such external military assistance as may be required for the federation’s internal security forces. [If this approach fails and if required to achieve U.S. objectives in The West Indies, consider providing U.S. assistance to meet the federation’s minimum legitimate internal security requirements.]*” The single asterisk denoted that the Department of the Treasury proposed deletion of the bracketed material.↩
- Paragraphs a and b and the Note that follow constitute NSC Action No. 2196.↩