37. Memorandum from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Hurwitch) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Security (Gentile) to Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Macomber)1 2
- Kidnapping of U.S. Officials Abroad
I. We believe that the present program of protecting our personnel abroad can be improved by (a) a better alert and control system and (b) the creation of a mobile reserve of equipment (communications, armored cars, etc.) that can be utilized when the kidnapping risk is deemed high in a given area.
II. Alert and Control:
- We believe that the present arrangements for alert and control can be improved. The weaknesses of the present system are: (a) the degree of danger is not linked to the level of protection required; the Ambassador is not explicitly required to make a determination as to the degree of danger and to invoke commensurate protection; and the Department does not know at any given time in any given country what the degree of danger of kidnapping is and what measures the Ambassador has invoked. The Department is therefore unable to plan intelligently how it can best support the Embassy.
- To correct these weaknesses, we propose the following plan:
- SY would formulate a standard phased plan, tailored later by the Embassy to suit its peculiar circumstances, which describes the program of actions the Embassy would take at different levels of danger. For example, in politically quiet countries with a low crime (robbery, terrorism) rate, probably no measures would be required; in politically quiet countries with high crime rates, specific measures would be taken (phase 1); in politically unstable countries especially with activist left extremists, other (probably additional) measures would be invoked (phase 2) etc.
- Upon institution of the plan, the Ambassador would be required to keep his personnel and the Department informed of the phase the Embassy was in.
- Both the Embassy and the Department would monitor the measures that had been determined to be appropriate for the announced level of danger.
- Under this proposal, the SY booklet “A Guidance Document on the Protection of U.S. Personnel and Installations Against Attack” of recommended practices, augmented by SY to include “compounds”, “concentration of personnel”, “reduction of functions”, “evacuation”, “request increase police protection”, “follow-on cars” and whatever other ideas exist, would be reorganized by SY into standard sample phases. The Embassy would choose those that seemed most appropriate to the circumstances of the host country and submit its final phased plan to the Department for approval.
- Under this proposal, the intelligence agencies would be required by the USIB to place a high priority on the acquisition of intelligence relating to plans, targets, etc. of potential kidnappers in an area from which we receive danger signals.
We see as the advantages of this proposed system:
- Protective measures would be realistically linked to the political/criminal situation.
- The Ambassador would be forced to make a conscious determination as to the level of danger.
- The Department would be forced to focus on these situations through the process of approving the Embassy’s plans and in responding to the Ambassador’s signals as to the level of danger.
Other than the work involved in devising the plans (which we do not consider to be onerous) we perceive no serious disadvantages.
That you approve the above described alert and control system.
III. Mobile Reserve
1. In addition to formulating the standard alert and control of plan, SY would be responsible for the Department’s technical backstopping of the various phases. It is neither feasible nor necessary to take special measures to protect all of our people abroad at all times, everywhere. We believe that the more prominent members of our missions abroad are the most likely targets and that we should be ready to offer them special protection when the Ambassador and the Department determine that the phase of danger to them is such as to warrant special measures. The special measures that would be taken include (1) the temporary assignment of additional U.S. security personnel to the post (from nearby posts where the danger is reported as less); and (2) the temporary (for the duration of the emergency) loan of equipment such as communications gear, armored cars, etc. SY would formulate a complete catalog which would constitute a mobile service of proportions reasonably based upon our experience as to the frequency and variety of the danger.
That you approve the concept of a mobile reserve.
3. Specifically in ARA there is believed to be requirements for the following deployment of security personnel and equipment:
A. That ARA be authorized to fund as a one-time cost the installation of bullet proof glass and windshields on the four partially armored vehicles presently assigned to Guatemala from funds available to the Bureau in FY 70.
B. That the Department authorize and obtain funds for the procurement of armored vehicles for Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, Santo Domingo, La Paz and Lima.
C. That the vehicle ceiling limitation for the Latin American area be increased by 10 to provide follow cars for protective services to key officials in instances where such cannot be provided by the host country or by the Embassy, without adversely affecting its transportation services.
D. That the Latin American Bureau personnel ceiling be increased to cover requirements for additional security personnel positions where such additional positions are determined to be necessary by the Bureau and 0/SY. (additional positions required to date include a Security Officer in Guatemala and an Assistant Security Officer in Brazil).
E. That funds be provided to the Latin American Bureau to cover continuing costs for increased protective services which presently total $134,626 on an annual basis. We can anticipate that there will be additional requirements for protective services which are as yet unknown.
IV. The analysis and justification for the detailed recommendations in 3A through E have been previously submitted to A/BF, Mr. Donelan.