16. Letter From the Chairman of the Task Force on Latin America (Berle) to President Kennedy1
My Dear Mr. President: I transmit herewith the report of the Task Force on Latin America whose creation you directed shortly after your inauguration.
The Task Force was conceived as a mechanism of transition. With the appointment of the new Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, the period of transition has substantially ended. The emergency problems pending solution on January 20 last have been or are in process of being dealt with. Under your leadership, the new direction of policy, I am convinced, offers good opportunity and prospect of success. I therefore ask that the Task Force be now discharged.
Prior to your inauguration, you constituted an informal group to report on Latin American policy.2 That group made one suggestion not yet acted on. It proposed the creation in the Department of State of the post of Undersecretary of State for Latin American Affairs. This would provide a high level straight line channel through the Secretary of State, by which the widely scattered activities of the government affecting Latin American affairs could be coordinated. This recommendation I venture to renew. Management of hemispheric affairs, comprising a continent and a half organized as a regional alliance, is a huge task. It is difficult to carry out so great an enterprise from a subordinate bureaucratic position.
The Task Force report suggests enlargement of the education-information-propaganda effort. An informal working group headed by Assistant Secretary of State Philip Coombs has been studying this possibility. Copies of their preliminary reports have been delivered to Mr. Richard Goodwin.
Let me pay special tribute to the effective cooperation and support of Assistant Secretary of the Treasury John M. Leddy and Assistant Secretary of Defense Haydn Williams. We are indebted to both for their wisdom and unstinting effort.[Page 39]
With the discharge of the Task Force, my own assignment comes to an end. Please feel free to call on me if at any time hereafter I can be of assistance.
- Source: Department of State, Latin America Task Force Files: Lot 61 D 298, Report to the President. Confidential.↩
- See Document 1.↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩
- 75 Stat. 86, P.L. 87-41.↩
- Reference is to a paper entitled “U.S. Policy for the Security of Latin America in the Sixties.” (Department of State, Latin America Task Force Files: Lot 61 D 298, Task Force Materials including Basic Documents)↩
- Printed from a copy that indicates Berle signed the original.↩