Created: 11/1/1947

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cia historical review program release in full



ctLV'-'m. DiCLAS

Apr 77






t'ince (or strategic reasons the Latin American Republics can be of scant use loSR as allies or sources of supply In any future war, the emphasis of current Soviet activity in the area has recently shifted to measures that can be counted oa to prevent, reduce, or place In doubt US access to lhe area's strategic materials or military support.

For so long as the US exercises its present role of leadership in the Westernthe Ccmmunists cannot hope to seize and retain powerny Latin American country, which means that the Communist Parties in Latin America are of Interest to the USSR only Insofar as they forward objectives other than that oi winning power andovernment, and only insofar as they do not, by becoming too strong, call down upon themselves punitive measures by the Latin American governments. Most of the energies freed by de-cmphasizing Party activity as such, appear, however, to have been channeled into preparations for espionage, sabotage, and clandestine operation of the Party in the event of suppression.

The present Communist line apparently rests on the assumption that the USSR's obleeMves in LaJJn America can be achieved with the Party's present following, end that it would be unwise to risk alienating that following or to Invite suppression by advocating the overthrow of the existinghow down with the anti-Comrnuiitst Latin American governments Is thus indefinitely postponed.

The Communist Parties in the oiher American Republics are unlikely to Increase their following or extend their influence during the months ahead; in fact, with certain exceptions, they may lose both membership and influence. In many Latin American Communist Parties thereendency for intrapaUy disputes to arise, therebyParty prestige, but the dissenting factions may actually aid Soviet espionage agents to reach sectors of the public not normally available to the Communist ParliesThis low of strength does not mean, however, that the Soviet Union's basic objectives in Latin America are likely, within the near future, to become unrealizable or that it docs not still lie within the Soviet Union's power to reverse the present trend.

It is estimated that nonpoli'.icai organization in Latin America has already proceeded so far and so effectively that in the event of war with thf US, the USSR ca.i, by merely giving the necessary orders, paralyze the economies of Chile and Cuba and thus deny to the US, at least temporarily, the copper and sugar that they would otherwise contribute to the US war effort. It is further estimated that in other important areas ot Latin America, Commur-ist undercover penetration of strategic sectors of the various economies is already such as to permit the USSR, by merely giving the necessary orders.o withhold from the US its normal peacetime flow of strategic raw materials from Latin America, ando precipitate economic crises in several key-Latin American countries.

Note: This paper ha* thel the Intel licence oignn^ntlons of the Departments ol the Army and ol the Air Forces. Statements ol dissent by the Departments or State and or the Navy are set loith In Enclosures "A".


"ThJ So-'et Government anticipates an inevitable conflict with the capitalist world." )

r strategic reason* the Latin American Republics can be or scant use (to the USSR> as allies or sources ol supply In any future war, the emphasis ol current Soviet activity ln the area Is upon measures calculated to undermine the strength ofmed future antagonist, the US, rather than upon measures calculated to build up the military potential of the USSR itself. These measures are, without exception, of such character that tl.ey will continue to pay dividends after an enforced Soviet withdrawal from the area on the eve of any future war."

1 The measures most certain to pay the Soviet Union dividends after an enforced withdrawal from Latin America are those that can be counted on to prevent, reduce, or place In doubt US access to the area's strategic materials or military support.

uch measures of course requite careful study on the part of the Soviets, and such studyroceed In the absence of full, continuous, and dependablethat will lay bare the amount and character of the assistance the US will wish to receive from its Latin American allies in the assumed futureas well as the latter's capabilities and Intentions, and the character of their political, economic, and socialrerequisite for such Intelligence is an efficient espionage and intelligence-collection service within the area, so organiied as to be able to perform its tasks without military or diplomatic protection from the Soviethoutervic the Soviets, unable to make prior plans for the campaign tf slowdowns, strikes, andthat will be theosl effective latin American weapon during any future war, would have to plate their reliance uponiocal improvisation.

The measures in question also call for peacetime concentration of Soviet effort In each Latin American country upon a) the development of thearties; b) the capture of crganizea labor with special attention to the trade unions whose member* extract, process, and transport materials of vial Importance to US war economy; c) achievementropaca.Ha position that wil' assure widespread and continued popular sympa'hy for the Sonet caute in the war; and d) providing an organizational bare for undercover vartima kctivitles and for further propaganda.

Of the foregoing objectives the first (the development of the several Lat'n American Communist Parties) receives markedly different smphasis in difTcvnt countries, but receives major emphasis at present in no country. For so long as the US exercises its present role of leadership In the Western Hemisphere, the Communistst hope to seize and retain power in any Latin American country, which means that a) no Latin American Communist Party can realistically look forward to successolitical party in the otdir.ary sensf of the term; b) the Communist Parties in Latin America ne of interest to the USSR only insofar as they forward objectives other than that of winning power andovernment, and only Insofar as they do not. by becoming loo strong."own upon themselves punitive measures by the

Latin American governments; c) the ussr would be wasting money, time, and energy If It sought to develop the Latin American Communist Parties beyond the limits sethese considerations, plus the sharply anti-Communist trend ol governmental policy In thc several Latin American countries, apparently account for the fact thai the local Communistnder guidance from Moscow, have in recent months stepped down tne level of Intensity of their activities that are appropriate to organizations expecting to become great mass movements and to appeal for majorityupport. They have, however, continued those efforts directed against the us. and those stressing (a) the Communist Party's devotion to democracy, (b) its non-revolutionary attitude toward the locally established form ol government, and ;c) Its Independence, as an Indigenous Party organization,is Moscow. Meat of the anergics freed, by de-emphacizlng the Party as such, appear, however, to have been channeled into preparations for espionage and sabotage (including arming forin andttacks upon areas and facilities of strategic Importance as well as continuing thc clandestine llf: of thc Party In the event of suppression.

he present propaganda line, save for Us anti-US emphasis, largely parallels the Communist Party line during World War II, when it supported all local governments that were aiding the Soviet war effort. The Communists are at this time apparently ready to support any local governments that oppose the "imperialist" us. and to utiack any local government that serves us interests,resent line. ui short,rests on the assumption that the ussr's objectives in Latin America can be achieved wlITi the Parly's present following, andould be unwise to riskthat following, or lo Invite suppression by advocating th'j overthrow of existing with the anti-Communist Latin Amtricanis thus Indefinitelyt is clear that this policy hasnin avoiding anti-Communist action by various Lr.tln American Governments, and that, with the possible exception of Costa Rica, nc Latin American Government Is today publicly cooperating wit) the Communists.

o organize and retain controlubversive political movement In aremote aisa Is, even under the most favorableifficult enterprise and one that calls for both trained personnel and largeof funds. In thc course of tne months sinceSSR has nevertheless withdrawn much of Its experienced diplomatic personnel from Laiin Ame.ica, and through the same period It has become Increasingly evident that no considerable sums of money are being spent on Communist activities In lhe ?rea. The one exception among the otherRepublics in this respect appears to be Argentina, where the available data point to continued generous Investment of both men and money. (Argentina, alone among the Latin American Governments. Is to some extentosition to oppose usin Hemisphere aflairs. The USSR thereforeeason Icr treating Argentina as qualitatively different from the otheruring the months sinceoreover, there have been Increasingly numerous reports of Internecine disputes, struggles for control, and disputes In Latin America's Communist Parties. eculiar

"Thestrise in lhel Ctlli In October 1m1 docs not appear brrn Intended by thi Comm-iilsii tua!ihoj;hComilcz VidcU ol Chile ulleeedwas the case.

feature of the reports is that the sources from which they were obtained invariably offer only the most superficial guesses regarding the cause of these difficulties, which are without precedent in the recent history of latin american communism. perhaps because of concerne issues between the contending parties, none of the sources has yet seen the probable connection between the lapse of discipline within the parties on onend the ussr'sth men and money on the other hand, one unavoidable result of which would, naturally,elaxation of control from moscow.

under suvh cii cumstances. the communist parties in the other americanore unlikely to increase their following or extend their influence during the months ahead. it is, indeed, possible that they are enteringeriod during which they will actually lose both membership and influence. but this does not mean, in any sense, that the soviet union's basic objectives ln latin america arc likely, within the near future, to become unrealizable, or that it docs not still liethe soviet union's power, by resuming large-scale expenditures of men and money, lo reverse the present trend. rati- er it is estimated thai, so long as it retains its grip on the strategic sections of the latin american labor movement, the ussr has good reason to regard that trend as favorable. (the communists do face, however. increasing opposition to their control ol key labor groups, and may find it desirable at some polut to revise their tactics in order to maintain iheirational authoritieshe several countries are unlikely to maintain strict surveillanceommunist movement, which is notoriously weakened by internal dissension. for espionageommunist movement split into many factions independentis one another would not only be extremely difficult to 1'quidateoment of crisis, but also might welt, through varied appeals, reach sectors of the population that could not otherwise be mobilized for communist purposss. there is, therefore, some reason to believe recent unconfirmed reports that the ussr is encouraging the present fissiparous tendency in the ltin american communist movement. furthermore, there is evidence that the ussr has given express orders for the creationhole new series of ostensibly non-communist political and cultural groups. these groups, operating under secret communist control, would make their- appeal to persons in general sympathy with the declared objectives of the communist party who have nevertheless opposed it hitherto.'

the defeat of soviet espionage in canadahough partial, could hard'y have failed to impress soviet planners with the necessity of reconsidering the whole problem of the comparative value ol the traditional communist parlies, upon which reliance had been placed with such disastrous results in canada, and of "front"which might well haveore effective cover for clandestinethe emerging new pattern ol communist activities in latin america may, therefore, have been influenced by the lessons learned in canada. if so.atural inference would be that in latin america today, as in canada in connection with the atomic bomb, clandestine operations are, or are about lo become, the order 0', the day.

connection the ussr has placed particular emphasis on winning over the persons of s'.avle descent now resident in latin america. thetolony in the riwr plate area is unusually larcc and has been the taryeixtensive oreanlmllon under soviet direction.

It is estimated that the Communist nonpolitical organization In Latin America (that Is, the organization lor other than straight political Party purposes) has already proceeded so lar and so effectively that in the event of war with the US. the USSR could a) receive on extensive flow of reasonably ucurate informationtin America, b)iotage agents, and c) by merely giving the necessary orders, paralyze the econc es of two countries (Chile and Cuba) that arc normallyUS suppliers. Thus the USSR could deny to the US. through at least the crucla. early months of the war, the militarily Important copper and sugar these two countries would otherwise contribute to the US war effort. It Is further estimated that In the remaining Latin American countries (excepting only Argentina. Mexico, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, anj Elommunistpenetration of strategic spheres of the various economies Is already such as to permit the USSR, by merely giving the necessary orders a) to withhold from the US at least,imited perloJ. its normal peacetime flow of strategic raw materials from Latin America, b) to precipitate. In the several Latin American countries, economic crises that would oblige the US to choose between fiscally expensive programs ofaid on the one hand, and the politically expensive step of denying such aid on the other hand. SpeclflcaUy. the USSR could today interrupt the flow of Latin American supplies of tin, quarts crystal, natural rubber, quinine, and ol! to the US.

CIA estimates that none of thc Latin American countries, again excepting Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic. Honduras, and El Salvador {plus, perhaps.s today capable, by its own governmental action, of preventing the successommunist attempt either to a) Interrupt the flow of supplies lo the US, or b) disrupt the domestic economy of the country involved.




The Intelligence Organization of the Department ol State finds ibelf unable to concur completely In this estimate. Certain internal Inconsistenciesailure to distinguish sufficiently between long-range Soviet objectives and short-range tactics, especially as applied generally to the various Latin American countries, tend toan erroneous concept of the mechanics and strength of Soviet Influence In Latin Ameilca.

The paper Insufficiently distinguishes between assumed broad Soviet objectives deduced from the theoretical logic of the situation, and the varying tactical objectives of local Communist Parties. This confusion conceals the facts that Latin America for the present seems to be low on the Soviet target list, and that local Communist activities seen largely to be conditioned now by local economic and political situations and personal ambitions.

In particular, It is logical deduction from standard Kremlin tactics rather than reasoning from available evidence to suggest that

USSR has adopted new priorities or strategy in Its policy towards

of Communist Parties to split up have recently Increased.

activities of Communists have increased (except In Brazil whereParty has teen outlawed).




The Office of Naval Inte'Ugence is unable fully lo concur in the findings of this paper. It is felt that the subjectit yet been thoroughly explored and that, in this paper, toomphasis Is placed on factors presumably working towards the realization of Soviet objectives and little or none placed on those counter-forces whose present and potential ability is patent. While it is agreed that the Soviet objectives In Latin America are to deny strategic materials to the US In time of war, ONIbelieves that the realization of this objective Is remote if not impossible. In other words, the real or latent danger from Communism in Latin America, as expressed in this paper, seems exaggerated.

In considering ComraurUsm in Latin America it is believed that some attention should be paid to the obvious distinction between the European Communist and the Latin American Communist. In thc latter case, the majority of the adherents are not die-hard Marxists but peopleery low economic, social, and cultural scale. These would be the first to desert the Party banner in the event of war between the US and USSR and go along with the masses who would probably rally around each government. Naturally there would be some who would attempt and commit acts of sabotage, but surta acts would probably bed more In thc nature of an Irritant which ca- be liquidated rather than p. persistent serious threat.

The Oifice of Naval Intelligence would give in this paper consideration to the forces working against Soviet objectives in Latin An.erica such as the Catholic Ohurch; the ultra-conservative armed forces, the real keyivilian power; the influence of the US and other western powers; the Hemispheric Defense Plan; and the economicot Latin America on the US, especially in time of war, which means that the US would greatly influence the internal and foreign policies of the various countries.

It is not believed by the Office of Naval Intelligence that the Soviets will placj emphasis on espionage and the collection of intelligence, but rather on saboiage In the form of strikes, etc. Itatter of public record what strategic materialsproduced in Latin America and the Soviets should assume that we will take theoutput. It Is doubted that the Communists in Cuba, in time of war could paralyze the economic lite of that country. Cuba is too close geographically and too economically mortgaged to the US to permit this to happen.

For reasons mentioned above, the Office of Naval Inte.'igence cannot envisage Communist armed uprisings or guenil'a attacks on areas of strategic Importance In Latin America. Isolated acts of strategic importance could be expected but no really concerted action.

The Office of Naval Intelligence is not prepared at this lime to agree that none of the Latin American countries (excepting Argentina, Mexico, the DominicanParaguay, Honduras. El Salvador and. possibly, Peru) is today capable ofthe success, by its own governmental action,ommunist attempt either to (a) Interrupt the flow of supplies to the US. or (b) to disrupt thc domestic economy

of the country Involved. The tenor of the CIA paper Is based on the assumption of an Inevitable conflict In the unforseeable future between the Soviets and the capitalist *orId, so the ablllf/or inability of the Latin American nations today to cope with theppears not to bear on tbe problem. If anything, the passage of time might -well Increase the effectiveness of the various nations to put down Communist disorders In their respective countries, at least In this Hemisphere.

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