33. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Achilles) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Policy Planning (Smith)1


  • “A New Concept for Hemispheric Defense and Development”

The basic purpose of this paper2—to promote a reexamination of our hemispheric defense concept with greater emphasis on economic and social problems—is excellent. Certainly the external threat to Latin America is one of subversion rather than armed aggression and it should be countered continuously by an active policy of accelerating economic and social development.

The anomalies cited in para 12 are well stated but I would suggest the addition of a fourth, namely that if our objective is to prevent the growth of Communism, we have encouraged the diversion to military purposes of U.S. and local funds urgently needed for economic and social development.

Since the Morse Amendment prohibits furnishing arms for internal security, we will need, unless it is repealed, to find a new concept to replace that of defense against external aggression to cover those minimum arms deliveries necessary to keep the Latin American military reasonably satisfied. The Intro-hemispheric defense concept may [Page 194] well be the answer but again in practice the U.S. will undoubtedly have to play the major role in it. The “inter-American” nature of such action is vital and small, elite standby units in various countries would be useful.

I am not sure we want to go as far as supporting only such units. Engineer battalions, communications equipment, dry docks, technical training for conscripts, etc. can do much to expedite economic development.

I would be glad to discuss this further with you and anyone else interested at any time.3

  1. Source: Department of State, PPS Files: Lot 57 D 548, American Republics 1960–1961. Secret.
  2. See Tab B, Document 30.
  3. The following handwritten notation by George A. Morgan appears on the source text: “I think we should—not only this but other Latin American matters.”

    A second handwritten notation, addressed to Morgan by Ramsey on February 29, also appears on the source text: “I agree. Let’s try to use Ted [Achilles] not only to get this balloon aloft but to get momentum behind Latin American arms limitations.”