9. Editorial Note

During the latter part of December 1958, the NSC Planning Board undertook consideration of a new draft statement of policy toward Latin America prepared in the Department of State, dated December 18, and referred portions of it to the Board Assistants for revision. The Board Assistants subsequently prepared a revised version under date of January 22, 1959. At its meeting on January 30, the Planning Board amended and concurred in the revised version, and approved its submission to the Council as NSC 5902 for consideration at its meeting on February 12. (Record of Meeting of the NSC Planning Board, January 30, 1959; Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 60 D 1)

In its revision of the new draft statement of policy, the Planning Board took into account suggestions made at the NSC meeting of June 19, 1958 (see Document 4), the views of several consultants who had met with the Board (see Document 5), and the December 27 report by Milton Eisenhower to the President concerning U.S. relations with Latin America. (Department of State Bulletin, January 19, 1959, pages 89–105) (Note from Gleason to the NSC, January 30; Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 66 D 95, NSC 5902/1)

In a memorandum to the Acting Secretary of State, February 9, summarizing the contents of NSC 5902, Deputy Assistant Secretary Snow stated in part the following:

“The principal differences of emphasis from the 1956 paper [NSC 5613/1] may be summarized as greater recognition of the importance of Latin American attitudes, greater acceptance that Latin American economic development will require an additional flow of private and public capital from the US and greater stress on increased cultural exchanges and informational activities. Recently adopted courses of action, such as the establishment of the Inter-American Bank, are recorded and greater flexibility is given in meeting critical economic problems. Those of Dr. Eisenhower’s recommendations which affect policy, as distinct from projects and operations, are reflected in the paper, although there is perhaps slightly more emphasis in this paper on positive, long-range action to encourage democratic forces and less on maintaining cool relations with the few remaining dictatorships.” (ibid., NSC 5902—Memoranda) Snow noted further that the only unresolved issues in NSC 5902 were 1) the split between the State and Treasury Departments concerning the proposed policy of encouraging Latin American countries to take individual and collective action to limit Communist activities and contacts with the Sino-Soviet bloc, which Treasury believed should be subordinated to maintaining Latin American good will and friendship and 2) the split between the Defense Department and the Bureau of the Budget relative to financing military training in non-MDAP countries.

[Page 79]

At its meeting on February 10, the Planning Board discussed suggested changes in NSC 5902 proposed by Milton Eisenhower on February 6. These suggestions were incorporated into a February memorandum from Philip J. Halla to Gordon Gray and subsequently submitted to the Planning Board. (Eisenhower Library, Project Cleanup) As a result of the Planning Board’s discussions, it agreed to recommend to the Council revisions in paragraphs 25–a, 27–c–(7), and 37–b of NSC 5902, dealing, respectively, with the Panama Canal Zone, prevention of trade with the Soviet bloc, and the role of private enterprise in benefiting the common people of Latin America. (Record of Meeting of the NSC Planning Board, February 10; Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1) The specific rationale for accepting these changes is contained in a memorandum from Snow to the Acting Secretary of State, February 11. (ibid., Lot 66 D 95, NSC 5902— Memoranda)