171. Record of Actions by the National Security Council Standing Group0

Meeting No. 16/63, December 10, 1963—5:00 PM

Deputy Under Secretary of State Johnson summarized a draft State Department paper dealing with possible measures which might be taken in the OAS to prevent Cuban arms exports to Latin America.1 Following a discussion, the group asked the State Department to prepare a memorandum for the President’s decision covering the two preferred alternatives.2

Requiring OAS authorization for the use of force in connection with visit-and-search in international waters against selected Cuban vessels and selected vessels of OAS countries.
Not requiring OAS authorization for the use of force because visit-and-search would take place only within the territorial waters of an OAS country agreeing to cooperative interception.

Because the attitude of Mexico and Brazil toward the use of force is critical in any effort to obtain OAS approval for such action, the State memorandum will recommend that our Ambassadors in Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro be authorized to find out informally the probable view of these two governments toward an OAS resolution authorizing the use of force if a visit-and-search in international waters were challenged by a Cuban vessel or selected vessels of any OAS country.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency Files, NSC Standing Group, Vol. I. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid.)
  3. A memorandum of December 13 from Ball to Johnson set forth the alternatives. (Department of State, Central Files, POL CUBA)
  4. The instructions were sent in telegram 1071 to Mexico City, also sent to Rio de Janeiro and Caracas, December 17. (Ibid., POL 3 COAS-IA)