38. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom) to the Deputy Coordinator for Mutual Security (Bell)1


  • FY 1961 Military Assistance Program for Latin America

I refer to my memorandum of May 27, 19602 in which I identified certain political considerations which should be taken into account in deciding what reductions could be made in the MAP program for Latin America, in the event that Congress should appropriate less money for the worldwide program than requested by the Executive Branch.

Taking into account that a reduction of $7.0 million has already been necessary in order to bring the program within the ceiling of $55.0 million imposed by the Mutual Security Act of 1960, I desire to state very strongly that any further reduction in the program would seriously affect our commitments and political objectives throughout the area for the following reasons:

In pricing out the FY 1961 program we have found that increased costs in the rehabilitation of ships (under the ship loan legislation) and in the acquisition of aircraft will result in an additional $3.4 million which will have to be absorbed within the ceiling.
Due to political exigencies, it will be necessary to finance the following unanticipated projects during 1961:
  • $1.5 million—Special Colombian Anti-Bandit Package
  • $1.0 million—Internal Security Package for Bolivia
  • $0.07 million—Carry-over security measures for proposed Quito Conference (not included in the Congressional presentation)

In view of the foregoing, we obviously cannot accept any recommendation from either the Defense Department or from the Caribbean Command to further reduce the Latin American program.

I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention the very serious situation confronting us in the Caribbean area, where a number of the governments are increasingly exposed to the threat of subversion by Castro elements operating within and outside their borders. In view of this threat, it may be necessary for us, in the near future, to provide grant military assistance to one or several of the [Page 214] countries in order to increase their defense and internal security capabilities. While it is not possible at this time to estimate the amount of U.S. funds that might be required for this purpose, I believe it is desirable that some advance plans be made for funding such assistance in the event that Caribbean developments should require that it be provided on an urgent basis. In this connection, I would also like to point out the possibility that the Foreign Ministers of American States, at their meeting of August 16, 1960,3 may recommend the establishment of an OAS naval patrol of Caribbean waters as a deterrent to movements of clandestine arms shipments from the Dominican Republic and Cuba to other Caribbean countries. In the event of such a development, it might be necessary for the U.S. to provide military assistance of various types to Latin American countries participating in the OAS patrol.

  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/OAP Files: Lot 63 D 127, Military Assistance Program. Confidential. Drafted by Spencer and Allan F. McLean, Jr., of the Office of Inter-American Regional Political Affairs.
  2. Document 34.
  3. Reference is to the Sixth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of American States, which convened at San José, Costa Rica, on August 16.