601. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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  • Peruvian Army View of US Military Missions

Attached is a CIA report on the Peruvian Army reaction to US suspension of arms sales and withdrawal of military missions. [text not declassified]

The report states that:

  • —A great many Peruvian officers applauded the Peruvian Government’s request that the US military missions be withdrawn;
  • —Most officers feel that the missions have not been useful; have been of low quality; have influenced the GOP to purchase equipment it did not need; and that training offered was poor, especially compared to French and British training;
  • —Feeling against the US is growing in the army;
  • —Many officers felt Ambassador Jones was a spokesman for IPC;
  • —The Peruvian Army is preparing for a confrontation with the US on the IPC case;
  • —The growth of anti-US sentiment in the army is so noticeable that it appears to be more than merely a reaction to current events. Some officers feel radical civilian advisers are increasing their influence on Velasco and other key military leaders.

There are two important and far-reaching implications in this report, assuming it is substantially true:

  • —We have tended to assume that our problem was Velasco and that if he were to go we would be better off. This report would indicate that our problem may be the bulk of the officer corps.
  • —This, in turn, suggests that anti-US feeling has grown from a variety of resentments over a long period, and, secondly, that no likely successor to Velasco would be any easier to deal with. The officer we often consider to be the strongest “moderate” left in the government, Prime Minister Montagne, is quoted here as being as tough on the IPC issue as Velasco.
  • —The main political reason which we cite to justify our military missions in Latin America, i.e., to enable us to influence and have contact with the local military, was not served well in Peru. Perhaps this was peculiar to Peru, but perhaps our assumptions about (a) military missions being able to perform this political function and (b) how well we have done in the past are wrong.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 792, Country Files, Latin America, Peru, Vol. I, Through June 1970. Secret. Sent for information. Attached but not published is the CIA report, TDCS–314/07741–69, May 21. Telegram 3859 from Lima, May 26, stated that the Peruvians requested termination of U.S. military missions. However, a small group of U.S. military personnel could remain in the country. (Ibid.)
  2. Vaky summarized a CIA report on the Peruvian Army’s reaction to U.S. suspension of arms sales and withdrawal of military missions. The report concluded that anti-U.S. sentiment in Peru strong, and that any successor to President Velasco would be equally difficult to deal with.