FRUS, Vol. XII, 1961-1963, American Republics
Office of the Historian

Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
Department of State

Foreign Relations of the United States
1961-1963, Vol. XII, American Republics

(This is not an official statement of policy by the Department of State; it is intended only as a guide to the contents of this volume.)

Since 1861, the Department of State's documentary series Foreign Relations of the United States has constituted the official record of the foreign policy and diplomacy off the United States. Historians at the Office of the Historian collect, select, arrange, and annotate the principal documents comprising the record of American foreign policy. The standards for the preparation of the series and the general deadlines for its publication are established by the Foreign Relations of the United States statute of October 28, 1991. (22 USC 4351, et seq.) Volumes in the Foreign Relations series are published when all the necessary editing, declassification, and printing steps have been completed.

The documents in this volume are drawn primarily from the Department of State Central Files, the papers of John F. Kennedy and his advisers at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, decentralized lot files of the Department of State, the records of the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID), records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, and the files of Director of Central Intelligence John McCone at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In addition, the editors used the Presidential and other papers at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas, the Maxwell D. Taylor and Lyman L. Lemnitzer Papers at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., the Averell Harriman Papers at the Library of Congress, the Chester Bowles Papers at Yale University, and the Papers of Adlai Stevenson at Seeley Mudd Library, Princeton University.

Almost all the documents printed here were originally classified. The Division of Historical Documents Review of the Department of State, in concert with the appropriate offices in other agencies or governments, carried out the declassification of the selected documents.

A forthcoming microfiche supplement to this volume provides additional documentation on Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and Venezuela.

The following is a detailed summary of the most important issues covered. Parenthetical citations are to numbered documents in the text.


The Alliance for Progress

President Kennedy came to office determined to make a difference for good in Latin America. His idealism was no more evident than in the creation of the Alliance for Progress, a cooperative effort by the United States and Latin American countries to tackle the problems of economic and socio-political development. Even before he became President, Kennedy established an advisory task force that initially reported "that the greatest single task of American diplomacy in Latin America is to divorce the inevitable and necessary Latin American social transformation from connection with and prevent its capture by overseas Communist power politics." (2) The vehicle for this transformation was to be the Alliance for Progress, a campaign idea that President Kennedy sought to change from slogan to program. Before announcing the Alliance, Kennedy and his Special Assistant Richard Goodwin received advice from key advisers including Special Assistant Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. who told the President that modernization could not take place without the "drastic revision of the semi-feudal agrarian structure of society." He viewed the choices as either a "middle-class revolution" or "'workers-and peasant' (i.e., Communist or Peronista) revolution. It is obvious to the US interest to promote the middle class revolution." (5, 6, 7 ) On March 13, 1961, Kennedy announced the creation of the Alliance for Progress and outlined a ten-year, ten-point program which he kicked off with a $500 million request for financial support from Congress.

After establishing the philosophical framework of the Alliance came the difficult task of transforming words, ideas, and intentions into actions. The obstacles were many. The Latin Americanists in the Department of State were skeptical of the program. (13) United Nations Representative Adlai Stevenson found during his trip to Latin America that the region's leaders were divided on just what the Alliance could accomplish. (14) Under Secretary Chester Bowles worried that the concept was geared too much to economic growth and not enough toward distribution of wealth. (17) Task Force Director Adolf Berle stated that the Alliance had to be underpinned by "clear, consistent, moral principles." (16)

The Punta del Este Conference of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council in August 1961 established the Alliance. Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon, head of the U.S. Delegation, informed the President that the initial "single overriding preoccupation of all is the extent of the US commitment." Dillon promised an extensive financial commitment ($1 billion in the first year and $20 billion over the next 10 years) to the applause of the delegates. (20) At the end of the conference, Dillon reported U.S. objectives had been achieved. (28) Dillon noted that with the exception of Cuba and Bolivia, there was a remarkable show of unity on the Declaration and the Charter of Punta del Este which launched the Alliance for Progress. (30)

The lofty words at Punta del Este were inspiring, but Goodwin still doubted that the U.S. bureaucracy was up to the challenge of putting them into action. As he told the President, "Nothing is more discouraging to compare the caliber of the people who were drafted into the Marshall Plan with those who now run the Latin American Aid program." (33) The U.S. government agreed in January 1962 to create a working group to address the problems of the Alliance. (35, 37) The President himself met with the U.S. officials concerned with the Alliance and insisted that the program receive the highest priority. (41)

Kennedy was not pleased with the progress so far, which he described as chaotic. He resisted the pressure to create a new agency for the Alliance, but agreed to keep it within the newly formed Agency for International Development. (42) As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter American Affairs Arturo Morales-Carrion saw it, the Alliance was perceived in Latin America as too North American, "simply a money lending operation in fiscal and financial fields," and "not wedded to Latin American nationalism." (44) The President's Special Assistant Ralph A. Dungan feared that the Alliance was returning to the Eisenhower emphasis on monetary stabilization, which provided the proper climate for private investment and economic growth and included tolerating military dictatorships. Dungan suggested that a reversion to Eisenhower's policy meant the United States "might as well kiss the Alliance(and the hemisphere(good-bye." (47)

In meeting with former Presidents of Brazil and Colombia, Kennedy tried to counter some of the growing criticism of and disappointment with the Alliance. He suggested that it was not supposed to be U.S.-run, but meant to be a true cooperative effort. He acknowledged that falling commodity prices were undermining Latin American economies, promised to encourage the flow of private US capital to Brazil and Chile, and admitted that the United States "had to improve its own procedures to attain more speed and increase aid wherever possible." (52)

Reports on the Alliance at the end of 1962 and beginning of 1963 were mixed. Democracy and economic, social, and political reform were losing ground and communism and social disorder were on the rise. (53, 54) The National Security Council met with the President in March 1963 and confirmed this generally gloomy picture. (56) Goodwin put it succinctly to the President in September 1963: "the Alianza has the same trouble as the Washington Nats(they don't have the ball players." Goodwin suggested that the Alliance was operating at best at 50 percent effectiveness and he recommended a new leader, specifically Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver. (63)

In late October 1963, President Kennedy sought to upgrade the Alliance for Progress and Latin American Affairs. He requested that Secretary of State Rusk consider creating an Under Secretary of State for Inter- American Affairs to be the fourth ranking official at the Department of State. (68) This change did not occur and within a month President Kennedy was killed in Dallas. The Alliance for Progress, which began with such fanfare and enthusiasm, seemed to have lost its way.

Latin American Security and the Cuban Question

The Kennedy administration's preoccupation with Fidel Castro's Cuba and the threat of Soviet influence in Latin America are the themes of the next two regional compilations. With Kennedy's encouragement, U.S. policy toward military assistance shifted from military hardware to internal security and civic action. (80, 81, 89-91, 103, 108) All Ambassadors received instructions to make sure that military aid was not used to prop up undemocratic governments or to foster military coups. (85, 97, 98, 100) Nevertheless, it was recognized that in some cases internal security might take precedence over the "longer term goal" of encouraging the development of popularly-supported civilian governments. (106) The Cuban missile crisis further heightened the Kennedy administration's concern over the threat of Cuban subversion. (102, 103, 107)

The second compilation, "The Cuban Question," highlights U.S. efforts to isolate Cuba from other Latin American republics. Shortly after the Bay of Pigs debacle, U.S. officials explored actions that could be taken by the Organization of American States (OAS) or under the Rio Treaty of 1947. (109, 110, 111, 114-117). At the OAS Council meeting in November 1961, Colombia requested a Meeting of Foreign Ministers (MFM) under the Rio Treaty to consider sanctions against Cuba. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile opposed the idea, but most Caribbean countries favored it. Castro's public avowal of his Marxism on December 1, 1961 gave impetus to the pro-sanctions forces. On December 4, the OAS Council agreed to hold a meeting. (118-122)

In discussions with Venezuelan President Romulo Betancourt, Colombia's President Lleras Camargo, and Argentine President Arturo Frondizi, Kennedy sought support for sanctions. (124, 125, 127) Although a majority within the OAS supported an economic break and sanctions, Argentina led the opposition to action against Cuba. (132) Kennedy dispatched Richard Goodwin to Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro and wrote to Frondizi, but to no avail. (130, 131, 133-135)

When the MFM convened in Punta del Este in January 1962, Rusk sought a consensus on expelling Cuba from the OAS. (137, 140) Rusk enlisted the President's help first to bring Ecuador into the majority and later to obtain help from Colombia to build the consensus. (138, 143) The key resolutions adopted at the meeting declared a Marxist-Leninist Cuba incompatible with the principles and objectives of the inter-American system and excluded it from the organs of the OAS. Another approved resolution called for an arms embargo against Cuba. Although disappointed, Rusk told Kennedy that this was the best that could be obtained and considered it a significant step toward recognizing the dangers of communism. (144)


Argentina, led by its left-democratic President Arturo Frondizi, seemed to be the model for the Kennedy administration's new Latin American policy. Elected in 1958 in part on the strength of his promises to accomplish the social goals of the Peronist movement while opening Argentina to foreign investment and capitalism, Frondizi sought to conciliate both traditional power bases in Argentina, the military and the followers of exiled Juan Peron.

Frondizi tried to reform the chaotic yet potentially promising Argentine economy with the help of US financial assistance. He came to Washington in 1961 with a long shopping list of projects and reforms. (173, 174) The United States could not possibly provide all the assistance Frondizi requested, but it worked with international lenders to encourage Argentine economic development. U.S. policymakers soon discovered that the tension between the military and Peronists complicated economic reform. In February 1962, the Department authorized a warning to the military that the United States would not look kindly on Frondizi's overthrow. (175) Unfortunately for Frondizi, national elections for governors and almost one-half of the Chamber of Deputies resulted in key victories for Peronists. Ambassador Robert McClintock reported from Buenos Aires that the results of these "clean and honestly run" elections could only result in trouble. (176)

At the end of March 1962, the military's dissatisfaction at Frondizi's failure to defeat or later curb the Peronists erupted on March 26 when they arrested the president. For the next few days, the Department of State and the White House considered whether to support Frondizi or let events take their course. Ultimately, Washington decided against intervention. (178, 179) Frondizi and his Vice President "resigned" on March 29, 1962. President of the Senate Jose Maria Guido, next in line of succession, became provisional President. In fact, it was a golpe with only the thinnest veneer of legality. (180)

The problem for Kennedy and his advisers was whether or not to continue relations with the new government of Guido. In Guido's favor, he promised elections and was a civilian. (181, 182) Latin American democratic leaders, especially President Bentancourt of Venezuela, objected to recognition of the military-dominated Guido government, but in the end the Kennedy administration accepted Guido as the lesser of two evils. (184, 185, 186) The Department of State's plan was to encourage Argentina toward economic reform and democracy. (188, 189)

Nevertheless, Argentina seemed headed for trouble: the military remained restless and from exile in Spain Juan Peron directed his mass following to oppose Guido's government. (192, 193) Looking forward to the elections scheduled for mid-1963, the Department encouraged moderate elements. (194-196) Just how effective U.S. support was is difficult to determine. The elections went smoothly, but many charged that the Guido government and the military unduly hindered the Peronists. Still, the majority victory of moderate Arturo Illia gave hope to the U.S. Embassy that Argentina's radicalism was on the verge of a new era. (198)

To Washington, Illia was much preferable to Peron or the Peronists, but Illia insisted on fulfilling his campaign promise to nationalize American oil companies. (199) Even Kennedy's favorite envoy and negotiator, Averell Harriman, failed to resolve the problem of fair compensation. (200, 202) In late 1963, U.S.-Argentine relations were not in good shape; the basic tension between radicalism and repression had not been solved.


Brazil with its democratically elected and left-leaning President Janio Quadros and his even more leftist Vice President Joao Goulart faced the challenge of social and economic development without alienating the powerful and conservative Brazilian military. Despite Brazil's size and potential, it teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. While Quadros' independent foreign policy was not always appreciated in Washington (208, 210), he established a good working relationship with the Kennedy administration's leading Latin Americanists like Adolf Berle and Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon. (205, 207) In late August 1961, Quadros resigned in the hopes of forcing his opponents to grant him more sweeping powers. Quadros assumed that the conservative military would find Goulart an anathema. Much of the military agreed, but a compromise was hammered out that allowed Goulart to succeed as President, with limited powers. (213)

U.S. officials feared Goulart was too closely associated with Brazil's Communists (218, 219), but Goulart's meetings with Kennedy in Washington lessened those suspicions. (223, 224) There was still high-level concern in Washington about the need for economic reform and development. (229- 230, 233, 235) The new Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, Edwin Martin, complained to the Ambassador that the "U.S. image in Brazil, rightly or wrongly and probably largely wrongly, is dominated" by pressure by financial austerity, protection of U.S. investments, and support of conservative provincial Governor Carlos Lacerda. The Kennedy administration responded with a plan of action to deal with U.S.-Brazilian relations looking towards the elections of October 1965. The plan sought to encourage democratic forces in the face of threats from Goulart's "extreme leftist or ultranationalists supporters" and from the extreme right. (240) This policy of the middle road was squarely within the philosophical framework of the Alliance for Progress.

British Guiana

A small British colony of 600,000 inhabitants of whom half were East Indian in origin, one third of African descent, and the rest British, Portuguese, Native American Indian, and Chinese, British Guiana should not have loomed large on the roster of potential trouble spots, except for the fact that Marxist East Indian leader, Cheddi Jagan, was the favorite to win the pre-independence elections in August 1961. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Kennedy was unwilling to accept the possibility of another "Castro" on the mainland. As Presidential Assistant Arthur Schlesinger remarked in March 1962: "Jagan would no doubt be gratified to know that the American and British Governments are spending more man- hours per capita on British Guiana than any other current problem!" (267)

The Kennedy administration first tried to convince the British, who clearly wanted to wash their hands of the colony, to realize the danger Jagan supposedly posed. As Schlesinger characterized it, the British considered that, "Jagan is not a Communist. He is a naive, London School of Economics Marxist filled with charm, personal honesty and juvenile nationalism." (267) Washington saw Jagan as, if not an acknowledged Communist, at least heavily influenced by Marxists, especially his American born wife. (242) As Rusk told British Foreign Secretary Lord Home, "we are not inclined to give people like Jagan the benefit of the doubt that was given two or three years ago to Castro himself." (245) The British considered Jagan "salvageable" and argued for a joint policy of "friendship." (244) The Kennedy administration was prepared to try the "policy of friendship" only in tandem with a "covert program to develop information about, expose and destroy Communists in British Guiana." (249)

Jagan won the election of August 1961. Kennedy met him during a Washington visit to "educate" him, but the President also insisted separately that the British Government discuss a plan that included another election, delayed independence, and covert action if that education failed. (253, 259, 261, 262) Rusk told Home that he had "reached the conclusion that it is not possible for us to put up with an independent British Guiana under Jagan" (264), but Home was not enthusiastic about delaying independence. (266) Kennedy agreed to delay action until the British made an on-the-spot survey and after further consultations between Rusk and Home. (268) After these consultations, Rusk stepped back from implementing covert action, (270) opting for yet another examination of the options and more consultations. (272, 273)

In June 1962, the Department of State concluded that Jagan would "establish a 'Marxist' regime in British Guiana and associate his country with the Soviet Bloc," and that Forbes Burnham, Jagan's Afro- Guyanese opponent who was himself a doctrinaire socialist, was a better alternative than Jagan. (278, 280) As Schlesinger told Kennedy, Rusk was "recommending a "hard policy of getting rid of Jagan," but Schlesinger was not convinced that the "CIA knows how to manipulate an election in British Guiana without a backfire." (281, 282) Kennedy himself told British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in July 1962 that the United States "cannot afford to see another Communist regime established in this hemisphere." (284) The President authorized the CIA to discuss the situation with the British and agree on a joint assessment and "the urgency of taking action to improve" the situation. (286-287)

Meeting with his advisers in June 1963, the President acknowledged that British Guiana "had become a major policy issue." (293) As Rusk stated it, "our objective in London is to get HMG to take effective action to remove Jagan Government prior to independence." (294) During subsequent meetings in England, Kennedy encouraged the British to "drag the thing out," explore a referendum on proportional representation and claim that the delay was to avoid a racial war. Kennedy hinted darkly that failure to prevent Jagan from becoming Prime Minister of an independent British Guiana would help elect a Republican in 1964, who would have "irresistible pressure in the United States to strike militarily against Cuba." (295)

Jagan sent Kennedy a long letter (292) and talked frankly to the U.S. Consul General in Georgetown about improving relations (297), but the Department discounted this "pitch for improved US-BG relations." (298, 299) The record of the Kennedy administration's final decisions on British Guiana are obscured by documents not declassified(identified in the text only by title(and the confusion and dislocation in policy caused by the assassination of Kennedy. Nevertheless, the cleared documentation indicates the lengths to which the administration was prepared to go to convince the British to hinder Jagan's progress and to assure that an independent British Guiana's first Prime Minister was not Jagan.

Dominican Republic

The previous compilations in this volume deal mostly with democratic governments. The Dominican Republic compilation documents the Kennedy administration's efforts to encouraging the dissolution of one of the most noxious dictatorships in the Western Hemisphere without allowing a pro-Communist or pro-Castro government to succeed Generalissimo Trujillo and his family. So complete was Trujillo's control that his opponents concentrated on his assassination. This compilation does not add much detail to the mechanics of this program beyond what is available in the 1975 Senate report on "Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders." Nevertheless, documents from January to June 1961, indicate that the Consulate (the Embassy had been closed in 1960) was not willing to provide arms to dissidents for use against Trujillo.

In January 1961, underground contacts asked the Consulate to furnish "four hand grenades" to use against Trujillo. Consul General Henry Dearborn's response was "we were not in that business," but he was eager to "convince [the] most doubtful dissidents [the] USG is in sympathy with termination of Trujillo dictatorship." (300, 303) On May 30, eight assailants killed Trujillo. Three days later, Bowles wrote a frank memorandum outlining the debate within the administration over support of the dissidents. According to Bowles, Goodwin, McNamara, and especially Robert Kennedy favored action to support the anti-Trujillo forces and had been considering overt U.S. military intervention. Rusk, Ball, U.S. Information Agency head Edward R. Murrow, and Bowles himself turned the tide against precipitous action. As Bowles wrote, "we had no real knowledge of who the dissidents were, their views, or depth of influence. Nor was it proper for the United States to be involved in assassination." (310)

Ramfis Trujillo, the late dictator's son, and Joaquin Balaguer, the nominal President, took power and promised to move the republic toward democratic government. Consul General Dearborn told President Kennedy that it might "be possible to have a democratic regime in the Dominican Republic without a Communist takeover." Robert Kennedy suggested giving Ramfis and Balaguer a chance. (312) Kennedy himself ordered Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Robert F. Woodward to offer Balaguer "a specific program of action for bringing about democratization." (313) The result was a paper outlining courses of action to prevent Castro/communism from developing and to create a friendly democratic government. While there were signs of a diminution of repression and torture by the secret police, legalization of political parties, and economic liberalization, the Department of State warned against becoming associated with the Balaguer government while the Trujillo family retained control. (315) The U.S. intelligence community gave democracy only a 50-50 chance of succeeding in the Dominican Republic. (317)

Undeterred, Rusk pushed for a policy to "induce the Trujillos to relinquish power" and leave the country "with some small part of their holdings"(which amounted to roughly 2/3 of the country's combined wealth(using the rest of their vast fortune to create a foundation to benefit the people. As an incentive, Rusk offered a partial lifting of the OAS economic sanctions of August 1960 and full resumption of diplomatic relations. (319) As Ball told Balaguer in October 1961, deconcentration of political and economic power of the Trujillo family, observance of human rights, and formulation of a coalition government were preconditions for ending sanctions. (322, 324)

Talk of ending sanctions went on hold when the late Generalissimo Trujillo's brothers, Hector and Arismendi, returned to the republic in a brazen attempt to reassert control. Ramfis and Balaguer resigned. (325, 326) By positioning warships off the coast of the republic, the Kennedy administration helped convince the military to line up behind Balaguer and caused the brothers' departure. (329-331) Kennedy's objective was to get Balaguer to resign in favor of a council of state. "As long as Balaguer continues without a definite date to turn over the office of the President to a successor," Kennedy wrote, "the dangers of a new dictatorship will increase and the prestige of President Balaguer will decline." (332-334)

On December 17, Balaguer created a seven-man Council of State to govern until OAS sponsored elections were held in 1962. As a result, the OAS lifted sanctions and the United States reestablished diplomatic relations. Shortly after Balaguer resigned to make way for the Council, there was an abortive military coup, but within 2 days the Council resumed power. (336-338) The Embassy, which was re-established in January 1962, reported that "the government of this country is now in the hands of moderate, anti-dictatorial and anti-Communist group." (339) U.S. policymakers focused on preparing for these elections, resolving economic and financial difficulties, controlling Communist elements, and determining with Congress the crucial U.S. sugar quota for the Dominican Republic. (341, 344, 346)

The victory of Juan Bosch in the December 1962 peaceful and relatively honest presidential elections was only a partial victory for the United States. Bosch was not the candidate whom Washington wanted. (348, 349, 351) Ambassador John Martin wrote in January 1963: "Bosch presents us with several dangers," noting "he has been a deep-cover communist for many years," and suggesting that "he might turn toward support for Castro." (354) The CIA seconded this assessment, citing Bosch's "remarkably tolerant attitude towards Communist activities," and warning that while the "Communist danger in the Dominican Republic is not immediate," it was "nonetheless serious." (356)

On September 25, 1963, after only seven months in office, Bosch was overthrown by Air Force Chief Miguel Atila Luna and Colonel Elias Wessin y Wessin, who established a "Triumvirate" to rule the country. The military's justifications for the coup were Bosch's ineptitude, corruption, failure to keep promises, and the growth of Communist influence. Washington recalled Martin and refused to recognize the military government unless they agreed to return to a semblance of political and economic reform. (357, 360) In retrospect, Kennedy's policy was only a partial success. The iron grip of the Trujillos was broken, but the transition to democracy failed and the Communist threat remained a possibility.


In June 1961 Secretary Rusk bluntly stated, "Haiti is the cesspool of the western hemisphere, under a dictator we abhor." (368) Even before Kennedy took office, his Task Force on Latin America recommended establishing a "left-handed" relationship with anti-Duvalier Haitian exiles. (364) The task force hoped to encourage Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier's departure without making the Haitian situation worse. Ambassador Robert Newbegin suggested that for the time being this was impossible. There were only "two sorry alternatives," he wrote, Duvalier or anarchy. (365) Internal and external opposition was so weak and disorganized that prospects for Duvalier's successful overthrow were slim. The Kennedy administration therefore tolerated Duvalier while working behind the scenes to encourage more forceful exile opposition. (366, 367, 369, 370) Duvalier could not be overthrown until there was a viable alternative. (371) The United States opted for "cool relations," which included limited U.S. economic aid designed to aid the Haitian people, not Duvalier's political base, given only in exchange for specific social and economic reforms. The United States would continue to support the Haitian army and encourage opponents of Duvalier. (375)

As the May 1963 official termination for Duvalier's legal term of office neared, conditions in Haiti worsened. Duvalier had already declared himself President for an unspecified second term. In March 1963, the United States planned for possible military intervention in Haiti. (376, 377) In May, dissidents tried to kidnap the Duvalier family. Duvalier lashed out indiscriminately at his opponents, many of whom took refuge in Latin American embassies in Port-au-Prince. Haitian security forces, the infamous Ton Ton Macoutes, spread terror throughout the capital and stormed the Embassy of the Dominican Republic. (378) On May 14, a U.S. aircraft carrier fleet with combat ready Marines sailed to a location in international waters just off Port-au-Prince to await developments. (380) Expecting Duvalier to flee Haiti(he had plane reservations(there was some hope in Washington that Bosch would order an invasion of Haiti, but the Dominican President confided that his army was not up to the task. U.S. dependents and citizens were evacuated from Haiti. (379, 386)

The United States recalled its Ambassador on May 26, 1963, to protest Duvalier's illegal rule. The carrier fleet returned to its base. In Washington, Kennedy and the NSC agreed to fund and control the Haitian opposition, to obtain Bosch's permission to use the Dominican Republic as a staging area, and to create an exile force capable of toppling Duvalier. (383) The United States desired a low profile, but as Kennedy and Rusk made clear, the United States would be pulling the strings from the background. (385, 386, 388, 389)

While an abortive invasion from the Dominican Republic staged by a rag- tag crew of Haitian exiles failed miserably in August 1963, it did not dampen Kennedy's commitment to encouraging opposition to Duvalier. (390) The overthrow of Bosch and the inability of Haitian exiles to unite did create some second thoughts in Washington. In November 1963, the Department of State suggested dissociation from an invasion or assassination unless it was likely to succeed and the U.S. role could be denied. There had to be a good alternative to Duvalier or else the "cool posture" of limiting aid and discouraging official contacts and tourism should continue. (391) The United States expected Duvalier to be eventually overthrown. No one in Washington imagined that President for Life "Papa Doc" would die of natural causes in 1971.


The compilation on Panama revolves around the Panama Canal and possible future canals. Eisenhower policymakers had considered a possible sea level canal to replace the Panama Canal, but the Kennedy administration had second thoughts about its feasibility. (392, 395) Panamanian President Roberto Chiari pressed the new administration for a renegotiation of the 1903 Canal Convention. (393, 397, 398) Kennedy created a working group, which reported in April 1962 that a decision on a new canal should be deferred for 5 years and in the meantime the interpretation of the existing treaty should be liberalized. (401) Kennedy approved, but noted that treaty revision could not be postponed indefinitely. (402) He invited Chiari to Washington to discuss interim measures to improve relations. (403)

In Washington in June 1962, Chiari pressed hard for renegotiation of the treaty, but Kennedy rejected this on the grounds that the question of a future canal had to be resolved and that the Senate was unlikely to approve a revised treaty until that was settled. (405) Discussion between U.S. and Panamanian officials on the treaty issues began in July 1962 and continued sporadically throughout the year without much success. The Panamanians thought the U.S. representatives were stalling, the United States saw backdoor revision of the Canal Treaty. (407, 408) The talks concluded in July 1963 with agreement on some issues. (411)

Kennedy and Chiari met in March 1963 to discuss economic aid. While aid was not specifically linked to the canal, it was in Kennedy's mind. (409) Kennedy thought the $1.93 million paid to Panama under the 1903 treaty was not enough, but if the treaty was to be renegotiated it was useless to raise the issue with Congress. Kennedy favored "keeping the lid on" for the next few years to avoid a blow up in Panama. He directed consideration of new aid to Panama which would compensate for the token canal payment. (410) Agreement was reached on new aid and Kennedy wrote Chiari that he was pleased with the progress made in U.S.- Panamanian relations. (411)


Events in Peru confronted the United States with the difficult choices between constitutional government and military dictatorship. In mid- 1962, the leader of the Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA), radical Victor Raul Haya de Torre, emerged from elections as the leading vote getter, but without the two thirds plurality needed to win. (418, 419) The military had made it clear to the United States that they would not accept their old nemesis, Haya, as President. Ambassador James Loeb told the generals not to plan on U.S. recognition if Haya won and they overthrew him. (415) Unable to obtain the Presidency, Haya passed his support to Manuel Odria in return for an APRA majority in the cabinet. At this point the military moved in. (420)

True to Loeb's promise, the United States suspended diplomatic relations with and military assistance to Peru and took a high-profile stand against unconstitutional changes of government. Nine other Latin American countries joined Washington in severing or suspending relations. (421) Despite this stance, Kennedy himself wished to commit the military in Peru to holding elections and guaranteeing civil liberties. The President traded those concessions for U.S. recognition and resumption of limited military aid. (423, 426, 427) In January 1963, Kennedy sent a new Ambassador to Lima to resume business as usual. (428) When elections were held in July 1963, Fernando Belaunde won them. While there were differences between the United States and Peru over nationalization of Peru's oil resources (432), U.S.-Peruvian relations seemed back on track.

Office of the Historian Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State

July 26, 1996

The Kennedy administration came to office in January 1961 determined to make a difference in Latin America. It proposed to counter the influence of Fidel Castro in Cuba; to nurture, encourage, and expand the trend toward democratically elected governments in Latin America; and to use American liberalism, technology, organizational ability, and capital in cooperation with Latin Americans themselves to reshape the Hemisphere. The basic challenge was to prevent social reform and change in Latin America from becoming the monopoly of Latin America's Marxist left. The mechanism for this far-reaching transformation was to be a cooperative effort, the Alliance for Progress, the topic first covered in Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, Volume XII, American Republics, the volume being released today. The idealism and promise of the Alianza is a theme that also runs throughout most of the other compilations in the volume. In virtually all the documents presented here, the lofty goals of the Kennedy foreign policymakers came into conflict with long- standing problems of Latin America, such as the disparity between rich and poor, chronic underdevelopment, single commodity economies, military influence in politics, and in some cases entrenched dictatorships.

In January 1961, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru already had democratically elected Presidents. The Kennedy administration sought to encourage the tradition of democracy while discouraging unconstitutional political activities by the powerful conservative Latin American military forces. By the end of 1963, Brazil was the only one of these three countries that had not undergone a military coup. The tension between radical and left-leaning politicians and the conservative forces in these countries proved too great a gap to bridge. As for Haiti and the Dominican Republic, U.S. policymakers sought to expedite the departure of notorious dictators Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and the Trujillo family without exposing these countries to anarchy or communism. The Trujillos were eliminated, but democracy did not take hold. Duvalier remained in control in Haiti because there was no one to take his place. The Kennedy administration began a campaign to encourage a viable Haitian opposition, but it was not to bear fruit. In British Guiana, the Kennedy administration was determined to prevent the election of a Marxist-oriented leader, Cheddi Jagan, as prime minister of an independent Guyana and the coming to power on the South American mainland of a possible "second Castro."

The documents presented in this volume reflect the mixed results of the Kennedy administration's policies. The initial enthusiasm and momentum of the Alliance for Progress waned; there were no more democratically elected Presidents in the Caribbean, Central, and South America at the end of 1963 than in January 1961. Moreover, Haiti, British Guiana, and the Dominican Republic remained serious potential crisis spots. Security of the Hemisphere from the threats of indigenous Marxist movements or Castro's subversion usually took precedence over other more positive goals such as nurturing democracy or encouraging peaceful social and economic revolutions. Given the challenge that Castro's Cuba presented to American policy in Latin America, Cold War considerations were too pressing Still, Kennedy and his advisers could take some heart that there was not another Castro in the hemisphere.


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