5. Editorial Note

At its formal meeting on May 28, the Operations Coordinating Board, noting a suggestion by Vice President Nixon proposing the establishment of a special program relating to Latin American students, agreed to form an ad hoc working group under the chairmanship of a representative from the United States Information Agency (USIA) to develop concrete proposals for early consideration by the Board. The new committee also included representatives from the Department of State; Defense; and Health, Education and Welfare (HEW); the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the International Cooperation Agency (ICA); the OCB Staff, and other agencies as appropriate. (Minutes of OCB Meeting, approved June 4; Department of State, S/S–OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430)

Subseqeunt to this meeting, the OCB prepared “Draft Terms of Reference for the OCB Ad Hoc Committee on Special Latin American Youth Program,” and circulated it to the Board Assistants for concurrence under cover of a June 2 memorandum from Staats. (ibid., Latin America—Documents) The Ad Hoc Committee initiated a series of meetings on June 4, at which it drafted, on the basis of the approved [Page 33] terms of reference, an extensive paper entitled “Report of the OCB Ad Hoc Committee on Special Latin American Student Program,” dated August 8, for submission to the OCB. (ibid.)

In a memorandum to Under Secretary Douglas Dillon, August 8, commenting on the draft report and recommending its approval, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Roy R. Rubottom, Jr. stated in part:

“The principal difference between the proposed program and existing exchange program and other US Government activities among Latin American students is a shift of emphasis: current operations largely concentrate on bringing Latin American students to the United States to complete their studies and they thus have negligible impact on their own campuses since they return to their countries after graduation. The proposed program concentrates on influencing undergraduates who will return and remain at their universities.” (ibid.)

Some of the salient features of the proposed program included seminars on U.S. and Puerto Rican campuses for Latin American students, exchange programs for students and professors, establishment of binational student centers on Latin American campuses, and surveys undertaken at the request of Latin American universities to determine needs for the improvement of physical plants and faculties.

The OCB discussed, revised, and concurred in the major conclusions of the report at its meeting on August 13, and referred them for consideration to Executive departments and agencies responsible for developing programs concerned with Latin American students. Further discussion and clarification of certain proposals in the report took place at the OCB meetings on August 20 and 27. The final approved paper, entitled “Latin American Student Program,” containing ten project proposals, was circulated under date of August 27, along with a request for a status report on the projects at the end of Fiscal Year 1959. (Minutes of OCB meetings, approved August 27; ibid.)

Upon adoption of the Latin American student program, the Ad Hoc Committee was replaced by a Subcommittee of the OCB Working Group on Latin America. The Subcommittee was charged with responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the program and evaluating additional program proposals. On January 12, 1959, it prepared a “Special Report on Latin American Student Program,” which described the progress made on the ten project proposals approved by the OCB on August 27, 1958, summarized the results of a review of five additional proposals, and recommended that the responsible agencies consider implementing them along with the original proposals. The additional proposals involved seminars in [Page 34] the United States for English teachers, a study program for officials and leaders of teachers’ organizations, seminars in teacher-training methods, seminars in the United States for directors of schools of social work, and a series of projects that could be organized by private groups. (ibid., Latin America—Documents, 1959)

On January 4, 1960, the Subcommittee prepared a draft “Report on the Status of Latin American Student Program Proposals,” which stated that while generally satisfactory progress had been made in initiating the specific projects approved by the OCB, they had only a marginal effect in influencing Latin American student leaders to support friendly relations between their respective countries and the United States. The report also noted that deep-seated anti-U.S. attitudes could not be materially changed over such a brief period, and recommended the following: 1) that the departments and agencies involved consider allocating additional resources to expand activities relative to Latin American students, and 2) that they urge private organizations to increase their participation in exchange programs. A copy of the report and a memorandum from Assistant Secretary Rubottom to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Livingston T. Merchant, commenting on it, both dated January 4, 1960, are ibid.

The OCB concurred in the recommendations contained in the report at its meeting on January 6, 1960, and approved its circulation under date of January 13. (Minutes of OCB Meeting, approved January 13, 1960; ibid.)