33. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2

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  • International Links Among Insurgent Groups in Latin America

Attached at Tab A is a memorandum to you from Under Secretary Irwin covering a study (at Tab B) carried out by the NSC Under Secretaries Committee on the subject of cross-border contacts and coordination among insurgent groups in Latin America. We requested the study to assure that the intelligence community is giving sufficient attention to this potentially serious area. The chief conclusions of the study are:

  • —The main thrust of multinational links among insurgent groups thus far has been the provision of safe havens, some funding, and facilitation of transit.
  • —Bolivia is the most important target for would-be cross-border operations in South America and Guatemala is the most important focus in Central America.
  • —There is presently no positive evidence of continent-wide revolutionary groups, in Latin America, and there are factors which tend to limit the effectiveness of the anticipated level of multinational cooperation among such groups.
  • —While Cuba has supplied training and other aid to Latin American insurgent groups, Castro has recently emphasized selectivity in his support and self-sufficiency on the part of insurgent groups. (Cuba’s activities are summarized at Tab C.)
  • —The Allende Government in Chile could facilitate insurgency in neighboring countries, but at least in the short run is unlikely to risk retaliation by doing so in a major or obvious way.
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Attached at Tab C is an annex expanding upon Cuba’s role in subversion and insurgency in the Hemisphere which was prepared and submitted by the Department of Defense subsequent to the completion of the NSC Under Secretaries Committee study.

Since the study was completed an increasing number of intelligence reports of cross-border contact and cooperation have been received. These reports tend to support the conclusion that there probably will be an increase in cross-border linkages among insurgent groups, and that the presence of the Allende Government in Chile will facilitate such linkages. The study reinforces our belief that this subject merited more attention than it was getting, and indicates that the intelligence community is now giving this problem greater attention.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 798, Country Files, Latin America, Latin America General, Vol. 4, January–June 1971. Secret. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Nixon wrote in the margin next to the last sentence, “good—follow up diligently.” Attached but not published are Tabs A and B. Tab B is titled “Insurgency in Bolivia and Latin America.” Tab C, a DOD annex to the study, has not been found.
  2. Kissinger reported on the findings of a NSC Under Secretaries Committee study on cross-border contacts and coordination among insurgent groups in Latin America.