1. National Security Study Memorandum 15, Washington, February 3, 1969.1 2

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February 3, 1969

National Security Study Memorandum 15

TO: The Secretary of State
The Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of the Treasury
The Administrator, Agency for International Development
The Director of Central Intelligence

SUBJECT: Review of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America

The President has asked that a broad study be prepared reviewing our overall policy toward Latin America. The study should analyze the situation in Latin America and examine U.S. interests in the region and the conceptual premises which should underpin U.S. policy, as well as alternative strategies to implement it. The overall review should concentrate initially on five major segments of Latin American policy:

1. U.S. posture toward internal political developments in Latin American countries, especially coups.

2. Regional security requirements, U.S. security interests and objectives; the purpose and nature of military assistance programs in the light thereof.

3. Development assistance strategy, the Alliance for Progress and the U.S. role in it.

4. Trade and investment policy; regional economic integration.

5. Role of the OAS and other multilateral organizations.

The President has directed that the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Latin America act as a steering group for this review. The Chairman of the NSC Interdepartmental Group should designate working groups to prepare papers on each of the above five subjects, drawing upon participating agencies for chairmen of the working groups as appropriate.

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Each participating agency should also provide staff support as required and perform such subsidiary studies in support of the overall papers as may be requested. The Chairman of the NSC Interdepartmental Group may invite other agencies not normally participant in the Group to take part in individual studies or participate in meetings as appropriate.

These five papers should be submitted to the NSC Review Group by March 31.

After NSC review of these studies, the NSC Interdepartmental Group should prepare by May 15 for NSC approval an overall statement of U.S. policy toward Latin America, incorporating decisions reached in connection with the individual studies in an overall, coordinated conceptual summary of our policy toward the region.

Henry A. Kissinger

cc: The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–134, NSSM 15. Secret. A copy was sent to the Chairman of the JCS. An Analytical Summary of the five papers is printed as Document 5. The overall statement of U.S. policy towards Latin America is printed as Document 4.
  2. President Nixon asked for a review of U.S. posture toward internal political developments in Latin America, U.S. security interests, development assistance strategy, and the role of the OAS and other multilateral organizations.