254. Briefing Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance (Maw) to Secretary of State Kissinger1 2

Submission of 502B Human Rights Report to Congress in Tandem with FY 76 Security Assistance Congressional Presentation Document

We have prepared a Report informing Congress of the results of the review the Department of State has conducted with respect to human rights in countries which are recipients of security assistance. A copy is attached at Tab 1.

Section 46 of the 1974 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) amended the 1961 FAA by adding a sub-paragraph (Section 502B) expressing the sense of Congress that “... the President shall substantially reduce or terminate security assistance to any government which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights...” (The full text of 502B is annexed to the Report, Tab 1.)

The Report outlines the Department’s efforts to review the human rights situation in security assistance recipient countries and gives our conclusions with respect to the advisability of reducing or terminating security assistance based on violations of human rights. The Report is designed as a covering document to forward digests of human rights conditions in the 83 security assistance recipient countries. Eight country digests—Korea, Brazil, Chile, the Philippines, Egypt, Iran, India and Ethiopia—are at Tab 2. These illustrate the style and content of the respective country digests. Sensitive sections will be classified.

The Report is intended to show our concern with human rights issues. Congressman Fraser and Senator Javits, among others, have pressed the Department for [Page 2] action pursuant to Section 502B and we have promised that a report will be forthcoming. We have also indicated that a report would be submitted in conjunction with our interim security assistance presentation material. The latter is scheduled to be transmitted to Congress this week.

The Report is intended to serve only as a base for discussion by Administration witnesses. We can expect that Department witnesses will be questioned closely on human rights issues during the forthcoming security assistance hearings in any case. The submission of a 502B report should have a beneficial effect as a step to meet mounting Congressional worries about Administration perspectives on human rights questions.

On the other hand, the Report will also be subject to severe criticism by individual members of Congress who are concerned with serious violations of human rights in countries for whom substantial security assistance programs are proposed. They will charge that in some cases (e.g. Chile and Korea) our digests are inadequate and that we should use stronger condemnatory language and make findings. It is my judgment, nevertheless, that the Report will on balance have a positive effect and should go forward as proposed.

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Tab 1

Report to the Congress on the Human Rights Situation in Countries Receiving U.S. Security Assistance

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, has contained in recent years several provisions regarding respect for internationally recognized human rights in countries receiving United States security assistance. Section 32 of the 1973 Foreign Assistance Act contained a provision expressing the sense of Congress that assistance should be denied to any government practicing the internment or imprisonment of its citizens for political purposes. Sections 25 and 26 of the 1974 Act limited the amount of assistance that could be made available to Chile and the Republic of Korea. Section 46 of the 1974 Act further added a new Section 502B to the basic Act which expressed the sense of Congress that, except in extraordinary circumstances, security assistance should be substantially reduced or eliminated in the case of any government found to engage in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, and established certain precepts and definitions.*

Pursuant to the foregoing the Department of State issued a series of instructions to U.S. missions in the field calling for comprehensive reports on the human rights situation in each country. The first of these instructions was issued on April 4 of last year and went to a total of 68 posts. Its text is contained on page 283 of the record of Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives on the Fiscal Year 1975 Foreign Assistance Request. Further instructions were issued over succeeding months and culminated in a cable regarding Section 502B to all diplomatic posts on January 17, 1975 with a follow-up circular airgram on February 14, 1975. The texts of both are attached as an appendix to this Report.

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In response to these instructions each mission submitted to Washington its analysis of the human rights situation within the country in which it was located. These reports in turn were digested by the desks in the geographic bureaus of the Department and submitted for review by panels made up of representatives of geographic and functional bureaus and offices in the Department and AID. Panels for countries in which particular public or Congressional interest had been expressed were chaired by the Under Secretary for Security Assistance and the facts and conditions were taken into consideration in deciding the levels of security assistance for individual countries under the FY 1975 program. All other panels were chaired by the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs.

The panels focused initially on the nature and degree of seriousness of reported violations of human rights. Reports from various sources were considered, including especially any public or private investigating bodies, national and international. In each country the trend of human rights developments was analyzed. Where situations appeared serious, the question was asked whether the reduction or termination of security assistance would be effective in achieving a change for the better and what other ways existed in long and short term to help in improving the situation. Previous or on-going efforts of the United States or international organizations vis-a-vis the government in question were considered in this connection to determine their efficacy.

In all cases, the rationale for U.S. security assistance and the nature of that assistance were also reexamined. Where appropriate further inquiries were put to posts in the field for more information or comment.

The results of these reviews have been taken into consideration in the levels of individual country programs proposed for FY 1976 which are being submitted concurrently with this report. Included in this report are summaries of the country digests outlining the human rights situation in each of the countries for which security assistance (as defined in Section 502B) is being proposed for FY 1976. Administration witnesses, furthermore, will be prepared to address any questions raised on this score during the course of the presentation to both Houses of the Congress of the Administration’s requested program for FY 1976.

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The general conclusions reached on the subject of reducing or terminating security assistance to countries found to present problems of serious violations of human rights may be summed up as follows:

We view Section 502B as an authoritative expression of Congressional concern for human rights in all countries receiving security assistance. The Executive Branch shares this concern and agrees with the Congress that the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world is an important and legitimate goal of our foreign policy.

When we consider using security assistance as a possible lever to improve the human rights situation in a particular country, however, we are faced at the outset with at least two fundamental questions:

Would the substantial reduction or termination of security assistance to that country damage our own national security?
Would the substantial reduction or termination of security assistance improve the human rights situation in that country or make it more difficult to make our views known?

The Foreign Assistance Act of course is designed to support many U.S. interests, among the most important of which are U.S. security and the protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights. This is illustrated in the Statement of Policy of Part I of the Foreign Assistance Act:

“The Congress declares that the freedom, security, and prosperity of the United States are best sustained in a community of free, secure and prospering nations. In particular, the Congress recognizes the threat to world peace posed by aggression and subversion wherever they occur and that ignorance, want, and despair breed the [Page 6] extremism and violence which lead to aggression and subversion. The Congress declares therefore that it is not only expressive of our sense of freedom, justice, and compassion but also important to our national security that the United States, through private as well as public efforts, assist the people of less developed countries in their efforts to acquire the knowledge and resources essential for development and to build the economic, political, and social institutions which will meet their aspirations for a better life, with freedom, and in peace.”

Similarly, the statement of policy of Part II of the Foreign Assistance Act states:

“...It is therefore the intention of the Congress to promote the peace of the World, and the foreign policy, security, and general welfare of the United States by fostering an improved climate of political independence and individual liberty...”

It is thus clear that the Foreign Assistance Act recognizes both the need to protect basic human rights and freedoms in all countries and the importance of protecting U.S. security interests. The question presented is what is to happen when one of these objectives cannot be accomplished without prejudicing the other in our relations with a particular country.

We know that some members of Congress feel that the U.S. Government should simply disassociate itself from repressive governments, even if such actions would have no effect on human rights problems there. Others feel that if our security interests (or other kinds of national interests, for that matter) are strong enough, these interests should prevail. Our view is that while both security interests and human rights are important, each country needs to be looked at individually to determine where our predominant interests lie in every case.

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We believe, in the spirit of Section 502B and the statements of policy quoted above, that the USG should take positive actions to improve human rights wherever possible. There are many ways of doing so, however, by direct and indirect means, such as diplomatic representation, multilateral efforts in concert with other countries, educational and exchange programs and the pressures of public and private opinion.

Partially, as a result of the review process described earlier, renewed efforts are underway both within the Department itself and in AID to develop new programs with particular focus on the betterment of human rights in various countries around the world. These include new emphasis on human rights concerns in programs sponsored by the Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and an effort to continue open and cooperative relationships with relevant sections of the American Bar Association, with the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights under law, the International Commission of Jurists, the World Peace through Law Center, Amnesty International and many other organizations concerned with human rights. AID is planning to do more important work in this area. Examples of possibilities are programs to improve the capability of legislatures in human rights matters, technical assistance to provide competent legal advice from local counsel and exchange programs between law schools with particular emphasis on human rights problems.

Our security assistance programs are designed to meet U.S. security interests as well as those of other countries. The reduction or termination of security assistance thus can have a direct adverse effect on our own security.

In particular instances, moreover, the reduction or termination of security assistance may be wholly ineffective so far as improvement of human rights conditions in a particular country are concerned or may serve only to impair whatever influence we otherwise might have been able to wield in this regard.

Our studies indicate that if reduction or termination of security assistance to a country would adversely affect U.S. security interests in a particular country and be unlikely to produce a favorable impact on the human rights situation there, it would not be useful to do so. Other means should be sought, however, to improve the [Page 8] situation if possible or to distance the U.S. Government from too close an association with the local government in political terms, making clear our position regarding the need to respect human rights.

Where, as in the case in South Korea and several other countries, U.S. security assistance is favored both by the regime in power and the opposition, reduction or termination of security assistance is unlikely to improve the human rights situation and should not be undertaken with this as a goal, but other avenues should be pursued to that goal.

Suppression of human rights or failure to provide adequate protection for them is in many cases symptomatic of a basic insecurity on the part of the government in a developing country. It is possible, therefore, that U.S. security assistance by contributing to the economic stability of a country or by enhancing a government’s sense of security from outside attack may serve to improve local attitudes toward the protection of human rights.

The situation in each country must always be weighed individually and assessed on the basis of careful analysis to where U.S. interests with respect to security and human rights lie and how they can be best served. This is what we have tried to accomplish through-the reports, analyses and evaluation described earlier in response to Section 502B.

  1. Source: Ford Library, James M. Wilson Papers, Box 6, 5/75–8/75. Confidential. Sent for information. Drafted by Palmer, Wilson, and Lewis. Concurred in by Goldberg, Stern, Michel, Runyon, and Austin. Tab 2 has not been found. The report was not submitted to Congress, but became part of the public record as a result of Congressional action and news reports. See Document 257.
  2. The memorandum explained the rationale for submitting the attached a human rights report to Congress.
  3. The full text of Section 502B is attached.