34. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom) to the Special Assistant for Mutual Security Coordination (Bell)1


  • FY 1961 Military Assistance Program

I refer to your memorandum of May 12, 1960,2 in which you asked us to identify political considerations which should be taken into account in deciding what reductions should be made in the proposed FY 1961 military assistance program for Latin America, in the event that the Congress should appropriate substantially less money for worldwide foreign military assistance than requested by the Executive Branch.

I desire to state very strongly my view that, after the reduction of $7,059,000 which will be necessary to bring the Latin American program into line with the ceiling imposed by the Mutual Security Act of 1960, the program will be very close to the minimum we require to [Page 195] meet our commitments and minimum political objectives. I believe that the following breakdown of the program into its basic components amply demonstrates the modest size of the proposed LA program, which is designed to meet our direct and implied commitments to ten Latin American countries: $10,135,000, for training ($8,860,000 for ten MAP countries; $1,275,000 for non-MAP countries); $32,959,000, for matériel ($14,944,000 for force maintenance; $18,015,000 for force improvement); $5,954,000 for packing and shipping costs; $18 million for financing the sale of equipment on credit terms. With the exception of Brazil and Chile, no country in the program is scheduled to receive force improvement items exceeding $1 million. With regard to force maintenance items, Brazil is scheduled to receive $8,394,000; each of three countries less than $2 million; each of two countries less than $1 million; and each of the remaining four countries less than $100,000.

In order to bring this minimum program within the Congressional ceiling, and perhaps make further slight reductions that may be necessary in the event of reduced worldwide appropriations, I make the following suggestions.

The Brazilian program, totalling $26,671,000 in matériel, training, and shipping costs, consists principally of the third of four annual installments on the special commitment we assumed in connection with the USAF tracking facility located on Brazilian territory. I believe this program may be reduced slightly, if absolutely necessary, the deleted items to be financed out of funds obtained from the next Congress for the FY 1962 program, provided that this can be done without jeopardizing any commitments U.S. military representatives may have made to Brazilian military authorities regarding the delivery of specific items included in the four-year package.
The $18 million earmarked to finance the sale of military equipment to Venezuela may be reduced to $11 million.

I request that any recommendations of the Defense Department or Caribbean Defense Command for reducing the FY 1961 LA program submitted to the Congress be referred to me for consideration before they are approved by the State Department.

  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/OAP Files: Lot 63 D 127, Military Assistance Program. Confidential. Drafted by Spencer on May 25.
  2. Not found in Department of State files.