134. Memorandum of Discussion at the 467th Meeting of the National Security Council, Augusta, Georgia, November 17, 19601

[Here follows a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting.]

1. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security

Mr. Dulles commented that “Castro-itis” was affecting Central America and parts of South America. Castro propaganda had certainly played a part in the recent revolts in that area. There was no evidence [Page 454] yet that Cuban “bodies” had been involved but there was no doubt of Cuban intrigue. Somoza says that he has hard evidence of Cuban involvement [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].

Mr. Dulles stated that the Guatemalan revolt was largely by disaffected army officers. Also, it was not yet over. The government has control of a key city on the road to Puerto Barrios. The revolutionists held Puerto Barrios for awhile. However, they have now been driven out into the hills but are still a menace. The government air force is worn out [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] it is still needed. Ydigoras, while he has suppressed this revolt for the present, cannot be sure to keep the top on the Guatemalan political volcano.

Mr. Dulles then turned to the Nicaraguan rebels who were based in Costa Rico. This was a most severe revolt but the action was concentrated near the border. The revolt has generally been put down. It included extreme Leftists who had been in Cuba.

Mr. Dulles reported that in El Salvador Leftist elements have now entrenched themselves in the government and were being encouraged by the Cuban Embassy. In Honduras also the Cuban Embassy was cultivating Leftist groups. There is a strong pro-Castro element in Venezuela although it has suffered a set-back. Betancourt still has considerable opposition.

Secretary Herter commented that the overall picture presented by Mr. Dulles was accurate but not pleasant. Mr. Herter said that he planned to take up with the President, after the NSC Meeting, the Nicaraguan and Guatemalan requests for U.S. help to prevent outside assistance to the rebels.2 Mr. Herter said that the Communists were taking full advantage of recent developments in Latin America. The OAS may call a consultative meeting, probably to name an investigative group. Secretary Herter said he was hopeful that this process would lead to the OAS taking specific sanctions against Cuba. He said that the OAS Peace Commission was headed by a Mexican and had a number of Leftists on it. Therefore, the U.S. preferred the appointment of an investigative committee.

[Page 455]

[Here follow additional discussion of agenda item 1 and agenda item 2, “NATO in the 1960’s.”]

James S. Lay, Jr.
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Lay on November 21. The source text incorrectly indicates the meeting took place in Atlanta, instead of Augusta, Georgia.
  2. Later that day, James C. Hagerty made the following statement to news correspondents at Augusta, Georgia:

    “In response to requests of the Governments of Guatemala and Nicaragua, surface and air units of the United States Navy are in a position in which they could assist these Governments, should it become necessary, to seek out and prevent intervention on the part of Communist-directed elements in the internal affairs of Guatemala and Nicaragua through the landing of armed forces or supplies from abroad.” (Department of State Bulletin, December 12, 1960, p. 888)

    For a related exchange of letters between President Eisenhower and President Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes of Guatemala, released to the press by the White House on December 2, see ibid., December 19, 1960, p. 924.