40. Memorandum of the Substance of Discussion at the Department of State–Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting, Pentagon, Washington, October 28, 1960, 11 a.m.1
[Here follows discussion of agenda item 1.]
2. Internal Security Programs for Latin America (JCS Initiative)
General Lemnitzer asked what State had on its mind on the Latin American internal security item and so Mr. Hare turned the meeting over to Mr. Mann. Mr. Mann observed that our Latin American military training program had been a bulwark during the last ten years for the preservation of democracy in Latin America. By orienting Latin American military officers toward the U.S. we have been able to keep the military element, the only stabilizing influence in those areas, on the side of the West. The accent of this training program has been on hemispheric defense, although in effect the program has been a bilateral one between the United States and the twelve Latin American countries eligible for our training aid under this concept. We think that now, however, more attention should be paid to the training of the Latin American military in the internal subversion field. President Lleras Camargo recently asked us to do just this.
In addition to the military services’ efforts in this field, both ICA and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] are active but it is State’s feeling that this training is being done on an inadequate hit and miss scale. We have, therefore, prepared a message which is still awaiting Defense clearance requesting detailed information on the [Page 217] needs of the various Latin American countries in this field. Obviously, a program to increase the internal subversion defenses in Latin America must be tailored to the individual country. For example, Colombia needs increased training of the army to combat large scale guerrilla tactics while other countries riot control training.
In the past we have had difficulty in getting Congressional authorization for military training programs in South America since the Congress has looked at this as a program to perpetuate the right-wing dictatorships there. Now, however, with the rise of Castro and all he represents in South America we feel that there would be a definitely changed attitude in Congress and we could get much more support for a program of military training and equipment for internal security.
General Lemnitzer said that of course internal security measures have been one of the basic parts of the military program for Latin America. He said he was encouraged to hear that the Department of State wanted to act more vigorously in this field.
General White concurred, pointing out that in his view, given the lack of an effective middle class in most Latin American countries, a middle class being the sine qua non of democracy, the army in Latin America was the only effective repository of democratic practices.
Mr. Mann said that it was our feeling that internal security training should now be given a higher priority in Latin America than training and equipping for hemispheric defense, to which General Lemnitzer agreed.
General Decker said that the Army was interested in sending Army [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] experts to various countries in South America in order to advise the country team not only on normal Army [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] functions, but also as needed to advise on the necessary technical requirements in the internal subversion area.
General White wondered why we couldn’t go to the Congress to get either special legislation for internal security or perhaps a separate title in the overall MSP for Latin America.
General Lemnitzer thought that we shouldn’t delay pending Congressional authorization but should get on with this program. He said that actually the cost of the training envisaged would be small, training being one of the least expensive types of military activities.
Mr. Mann observed that while training might be inexpensive, it would be necessary to provide certain types of expensive equipment, particularly integrated communications nets to maintain adequate communication for internal security purposes.
Mr. Irwin said that he agreed a message requesting information on various countries’ needs in the internal security field should be sent.[Page 218]
General Decker said that he understood the Department of State was objecting to the dispatch to some twelve Latin American countries of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] experts to work in the embassy, advise the country team and train the local armies in [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] activities.
Mr. Mann said he was not familiar with this problem but that speaking personally he thought this might be a worth while exercise, particularly if these men could provide technical advice for training and equipment needs in the internal security areas.
[Here follows discussion of the remaining agenda items.]
- Source: Department of State, state–JCS Meetings: Lot 67 D 548. Top Secret. The source text indicates that this memorandum was a Department of State draft not cleared with the Department of Defense. The meeting was attended by 30 individuals: the Department of Defense was represented by 23, the Department of State by 6, and the National Security Council by 1. Under Secretary Merchant headed the Department of State group.↩