Created: 4/10/1947

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central intelligence group

soviet obiecttves in latin america

ORE 16



The Soviet Government, anticipates an Inevitable conflict with the capitalist world. It therefore seeks to increase its relative power by building up its own strength and undermining that of its assumed

Latin America, in particular,

Soviet and Communist influence will be exerted to the utmost to destroy the influence of the United States and to create antagonisms disruptive to the Pan American system. "


The pattern of Soviet objectives in Latin America differs sharply from that in other areas because of thc following four considerations, which arearying extent peculiar to this area:

o. Latin Americahole lies within striking distance of US naval and air power, and could be shut off from the outside worldS naval blockade. The Latin American Republicscannot be of much use to the USSR, either as military allies or an sources of supply, in any future war.

b. The USSR has nothing to gain by integrating Its economy with that of Latin America as long-term commercial exchangewould oblige it to do. This ia only in small partSoviet and Latin American import requirements an.', export surpluses do not dovetail. The imaginative and resourcefulstate trading agency could, by careful manipulation of three-cornered trade, make then dovetail, especially since it couldin its calculations the import requirements and exportof the satellite powers with their highly variegatedresources. The USSR, however, must assume that large-scale Soviet trade arrangements Involving Latin America's strategicwould elicit on immediate and effective answer from the US. Moreover, the post-war USSR realizes that it is not In a

This report has the concurrence of the intelligence aeencieR cf the War and Navy Departments and of the Army AirXcts la

ORESoviet Foreign and Military Policy."

position to compete with the superior productive resources of the US in supplying' Latin America's truly urgent import needs. the notion of economic dependency upon an area from which It would be cut offuture war is unlikely to comment Itself to the security-conscious USSR.

The post-war Hemisphere development that the USSR moot fears is the negotiationemisphere Defense Pact that would tie together the arned forces of themerican Republics under the US-sponsored standardization program and mobilize Latinvast resources, human and material, in any futurewar against the USSR. So long as differences between the US and Argentina delay the negotiation ofact, it is to the advantage of the USSR to prc-Bs no objectives that might awaken ln the Hemisphere the sense of urgencyuture war that the Soviets themselves already feel.

d- The climate of opinion in Latin America calls forappeals markedly different free: those appropriate to the other areas of current interest to the USSR. Majority opinion in the other American Republics Is not only Catholic andand thus inherently anti-Communist, but Is also strongly pro-democratic and reformist. Il looks in the direction of grcaier popular control over government, higher living standards for the masses of the people, and increased state intervention ln economic processeswithin,redominantlyframework.


Analysis of Soviet activities in the Latin American arealear grasp of the implications of the above considerationsise allocation of Soviet effort and resources, as follows:

Since for strategic reasons ihe Latin American Republics can be of scant use as allies or sources of supply in any future war, the emphasis of current Soviet activity in the area is upon measures calculated to undermine the strength of the assumedantagonist, the US, rather than upon measures calculated to build up the military potential of the USSR itself. These near -ures are, without exception, of such character that they will continue to pay dividends after an enforced Soviet withdrawal from the area on the eve of any future war. Anything that makes for tension between the US and its future allies in Latin America, and thus tends to delay the negotiationemisphere Defense Pact, is pure windfall gain for Soviet policy, and as such is skillfully exploited. Thus the strategically situated Argentine


present _presitlept_or. Argentina, .hasonsiderable period given qualified support to his regime, and enthusiastically'his vigorous campaignouth American trade bloc.

fe. Since long-term trade relations with Latin America would involve economic dependency upon an area from which the USSR could be cut off during any future war, the Soviets have made noeffort to offset the remarkably rapid expansion of US trade in the area since the war. Soviet trade representatives have made overtures to, for example, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, andbut there is no evidence that these negotiations have led to results that will notably affect the flow of goods acrossfrontiers. The major occupation of Soviet tradein the other American Republics appears to be intelligence activities rather than trade negotiations. "Economicn the ordinary sense of this term, apparently isurrent Soviet objective in Latin America. Since Soviet-Latin American trade is capable of large-scale development, this roust be regardedeliberate policy choice on the part of the USSR.

g. Since it is to the advantage of the USSR to press noin Latin America that might awaken US opinionense of urgencyossible future war, the eight Sovietand legations in Latin America conspicuously devoteto diplomacy and culture, avoiding every appearance of en organic relationship either with local Communist parties or with the Soviet's Latin-America-wide intelligence network. Noare on record concerning the placement of Sovietmissions, and up to the present time the USSR has accredited only two military representatives in the entire area.

fl. Recognizing the special characteristics of Latin American public opinion, the Communist strategists in the area haveosture of apparent devotion to democratic institutions and the democratic freedoms; have seldom referred to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dreamoviet America; and havea propaganda line that lays at the door of the USfor Latin America's extremes of poverty, and conveys the Impression that the USSRand of freedom and equality. On the strength of this propaganda line, the Communist movement in Latin America is winning members and sympathizers. These gains, however, are made possible primarily by widespread ignorance of and delusions concerning the economic and political character of the USSR and not, as some commentators suggest, by poverty as such. (There is no correlation between the incidence of poverty and the Incidence of Communism In Latin America. J Moreover, because of the democratic appeals it employs, the propaganda cannoi contributeto the Sovietjzation of theerican countries.

The pattern or Soviet activities in Latin America suggests,that Soviet planners have posed their problem to themselves in the following terms: What, ln the time available to us In Latin America, can we do to undermine the military potential of the Western Hemisphereighting unit? Where, without assuming direct responsibility, can we channel our resources and energies in such fashion that thewe Initiate will continue to weaken the US even when we are no longer present to oupervise them? wiiat existing diplomatic orsituations, favorable to our long-term purposes, can we exploitagain without assuming direct responsibility?


The USSR has found the answer to its problem ln the following four objectives: he development of strong localhe Cocmunization of the leadership or the local tradehe dissemination or carefully selected propaganda themes which, Implanted in the hearts and minds of the Latinthemselves, tend to undermine US hegemony in the Hemisphere and make Inter-American military cooperation dlfricult to achieve,he creation and maintenance of an intelligence network that will obtain for Soviet planners the data they require In order to forward these objectivesaximum of skillinimum expenditure of

erf on.

All the available evidence indicates that the USSR can already point to advantageous developments with respect to each of these four objectives, as follows:

The local Ccmunist parties. These are strongest in Cuba, inand ln Chile, but ln none of these countries is there anyof an early Communist bid for power. There are several countries, such as Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, where there is at Communist party. However, most of the Latin Americanand all of the important ones, have alert and vigorousparties which have an impact on day-to-day social and political events entirely out of proportion to their actual numbers.

Conmunist leadership in the trade unions,. Here the main evidence of Soviet progress is the CTAL, or Confederation or Latin Americanwhich has as affiliates the bulk of the trade unions in the area. The top echelons of the Confederation and the leaders of most or the key member-unions are Communist-controlled, with the result that the Confederation's "line" Is rarely distinguishable from that of theparties. The head of the Confederation is Vicente Lombardo Toledano, who, despite his assert ion that he isommunist, is regarded throughout the area as the Communists' spokesman in labor

affairs. Me and his lieutenants have been able to dominate the movement because, like Communist labor leaders everywhere, they know what they want, give careful thought to how to get it, and are more diligent than their opponents. There is, moreover, little prospect of their being Jockeyed out of their presentposition, despite the fact that socialist-led labor factions In certain countries, resenting thereputation for being Coonunist-^omlnated, are now opposing them. Naturally, the unions that extract, process, and transportthe US would need from Latin America In any future war are major targets for Communist penetration.

Propaganda themes. By press and radio propaganda through most of the area, the CocrmunTsts skillfully drive home their major themes: "The USSR is right, the UShenever therelash between them. *The Hemisphere Defense Pact is partS plan to fight to the last Latin American in an aggressive imperialist war against the Soviet Union." "The Hemisphere Defense Pact is inconsistent withnited Nations, which is in turn Latin America's only defense against an Indefinite future of oppression and exploitation by thc United States." "The Good Neighbor Policy died with Presidentn short, the Communist press and radio in Latin America miss noto lnculcote resentment and distrust of the United StateG and the Hemisphere Defense Pact, postponement of which the local Coranunisls treat as the Soviet Union's major goal in the area. The resultantand resentment of the United States would remain and be exploited long after the negotiation and signature of the Pact Itself.

Intelligence activities. That the Soviet Union todayatin-Amerlca-wide Intelligence network, so related to the local Communist organizations as to enable it to keep the Latin American scene under continuous observation, is attested not only by the weight of thein the possession of US intelligence agencies, but also by the fact that Soviet activities in Latin America ore clearly based upon thorough knowledge and deep understanding of the main political and economic trends.


The Intelligence Organization of the Department of State dissents from the foregoing CIO estimate as Indicated by the paragraphs below. It le considered that ln certain respects the estimate la misleading:

suggests inreater immediate Sovietin the other American Republics than the evidence so

falls to note that the Hemisphere Defense Pact,United States bill authorizing militarythe other American states,roposal of theDefense Boardermanent Inter-Americanare separate projects and could conceivably beindependently. Ccrrnunist attacks are directedthe proposed United States bill.

suggests the absence of any significant factorsthe differences between. and Argentina which mayor conceivably prevent the negotiation of hemisphere

discussing causes for gains in the Communistthe emphasis upon propaganda and "ignorance" concealsof local conditions arising from such factors asdistress, social maladjustmcntE, and frustrated national-


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