168. Memorandum From Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Kennedy Doctrine
You wanted to be reminded about the possibility of setting up a meeting on the Kennedy Doctrine.
Bob Hurwitch2 tells me that State has dropped its plans to stir up an OAS resolution focussing on the presence of Soviet troops in Cuba. Ed Martin and others feel it is a non-starter—there is no sense in passing a resolution unless the OAS is prepared to act on it. If the OAS is not prepared to act, the resolution will simply highlight the impotency of the OAS.
I talked to Bill Bowdler about the OAS tactics involved in taking a first jump towards a possible Kennedy Doctrine. (In the past, Bill had been in touch with Walt Rostow on the Doctrine.) Bill’s feelings are generally as follows:
The OAS will be a difficult forum, especially at this time. For one thing, we have let Cuba cool down substantially; at this point, many Latin Americans feel that the U.S. is really not interested in doing much about Cuba. For another thing, elections in Latin America in the near future (Peru, Argentina, Mexico, and Chile) do not help matters. Mexico’s key primary in September, which determines the next president, will make Mexico especially tough to deal with; Chile is presently ginning up for next year’s election and will be similarly difficult to handle.
It would not be easy to call a meeting of Foreign Ministers under the prevailing tepid atmosphere. A call for a meeting, as a reaction against the recent Castro visit and Khrushchev speech about national liberation movements, would not be credible. The OAS countries are really not concerned with subversion and “another Cuba.” About the only credible issue you could conceivably use now to gin up a Foreign Ministers meeting is the presence of Soviet troops in Cuba.
Bill doubts that we could get an OAS resolution on intervention which is any stronger than the Punta del Este resolution. The OAS countries probably would not even buy a resolution stating that we don’t [Page 351] want another Cuba. They would immediately think in terms of the next step, which they are not willing to face—actions to prevent another Cuba.
Bill said that, in about a month, the COAS will meet to consider the Lavalle Committee’s report on subversion.3 This context might provide a useful forum for a small jump towards the Doctrine.
Assuming we want to condition the OAS for the Kennedy Doctrine (maybe we don’t) there seems to me to be 2 ways we can do it—dramatically (e.g. a Foreign Ministers meeting without much softening up) or subtlety. The subtle method would seem to involve the use of a series of statements to create an atmosphere which reflects our concern about another Cuba in the hemisphere. If we decide to take the subtle road, we should probably use every chance we get to take a jump, no matter how small, towards the Kennedy Doctrine. In this regard, a reaction to the Castro visit and the Khrushchev speech seems to me to be in order—perhaps a speech in the COAS by the Secretary or one of the Under Secretaries. Also, it would seem appropriate to say something in the COAS at the time when the Lavalle Committee submits its report on subversion. It should be noted that the small steps would not preclude a Foreign Ministers meeting; in fact, they might create a more credible atmosphere for one.
In view of the fact that we are getting close to the operational stage of the Kennedy Doctrine, you might want to consider inviting an ARA type or two to the next meeting of the Kennedy Doctrine group.4
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Regional Security Series, Latin America, Kennedy Doctrine. Secret.
  2. Deputy Coordinator of Cuban Affairs Robert Hurwitch.
  3. Reference is to the report of the Special Committee to Study Resolutions II.1 and VIII of the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, submitted to the OAS Council on June 4. (OAS doc. OEA/Ser.G/IV/c-i-605 Rev. 3, July 3, 1963; printed in part in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, pp. 271-276) The OAS Council voted on July 3 to transmit the report to member governments urging them to implement its recommendations to the extent that they had not already done so within the limits of their constitutions. (Circular telegram 23 to ARA diplomatic posts, dated July 3; Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 COAS-IA)
  4. A memorandum of February 21, 1964, from Bundy to Robert Kennedy and others, states that Bundy’s May 25 memorandum to the President (Document 167) and its attachments were developed outside regular channels at President Kennedy’s direction. It states, “The actual policy result of all this was a few sentences in the President’s November 18 speech, which was blanketed almost immediately by his death.” The text of Kennedy’s speech is printed in Department of State Bulletin, December 9, 1963, pp. 900-904.