Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 19, 2016
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP79-00927A005600010002-0.pdf602.48 KB
Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 '0 Secret No Foreign Dissem DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE WEEKLY SUMMARY Special Report Assessment of Latin American Military and Arms Needs Secret 23 December 1966 No. 0320/66A Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 `~wr+ SECRET ASSESSMENT OF LATIN AMERICAN MILITARY AND ARMS NEEDS* Latin American armed forces consistently get only a small portion of the resources available within their countries yet are responsible, in ad- dition to defense, for a host of functions normally handled in other countries by civilian entities. Because of rapid technological advancements in air- craft, communications systems, and ground weapons, these countries find themselves hard pressed to maintain their capability for national defense and internal security while keeping their defense budgets to proportionately low levels. Recent and prospective purchases of expensive military equipment by several Latin American coun- tries have led to talk of an "arms race" and criti- cism of the governments involved for spending money on armament that should be going toward houses, schools, and roads. In fact, the countries now buying modern equipment for their armed services are doing so within normal budgetary limits. They are trying to replace antiquated equipment that is costly to maintain and unsafe to operate. There is no evidence that any Latin American country is in- volving itself in a genuine arms race with its neighbors for either hostile or deterrent purposes. There has been no international military conflict in Latin America since the conclusion of the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia in 1935, and none appears likely. Historical Background After winning their coun- tries' independence from the Euro- pean powers in the 19th century, the armed forces of the Latin American nations became a major force in internal politics, along with the church and the landed oligarchy. Several major armed conflicts involving the South American nations, countless border disputes, the threat of interference in their affairs from *ExcZuded from this discussion are Cuba, because of its dependence on the USSR for its arms; the English-speaking new nations of the hemisphere, which are stiZZ largely under the military protection of Great Britain; Costa Rica, which has no military forces; and Haiti, whose general economic and political situation is no Longer comparable to that of the other republics. SECRET Page 1 SPECIAL REPORT 23 Dec 66 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Chilean soldiers wearing old German-style helmets Ecuadorean army tank *Irra7ilan Air Force B-17s in Recife Argentine destroyer (vintage 1943) Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AAO05600010002-0 SECRET Europe, and the needs of internal security gave the military an im- portance that led to pressure for well-trained and well-equipped professional armies and navies, instead of politically oriented forces. The trend toward pro- fessionalism in the latter half of the 19th century inspired many countries to look toward Europe and the traditional great mili- tary powers for equipment and for training. After World War II, in which only Brazil and Mexico of the countries south of the border had forces actively involved, the na- tions of the area turned to the United States for assistance and arms. Spurred by the signing of the Inter-American Treaty of Re- ciprocal Assistance in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, the policy of cooperative hemispheric defense became the basis for equipping many of the armed services with more modern ships, planes, tanks, and guns. In 1960, new emphasis was placed on strengthening in- ternal security against a growing threat of guerrilla warfare. Civic action was.also emphasized, designed to assist in national development as, well as to stem the military's continuing in- volvement in politics. Professionalization and Modernization The military services in the major countries have achieved their relatively high level of professionalism through the es- tablishment of military academies and technical schools. These give as fine an education as is available in the best civilian schools and often a better educa- tion than the average university graduate receives. Academy- trained officers are frequently able to obtain further schooling in the US or in the special pro- grams in the Canal Zone, and oc- casionally attend schools in Euro- pean countries. Argentina, Bra- zil, and Chile have achieved a professional level sufficiently high to enable them to send mili- tary missions to some of the smaller countries. The Latin American profes- sional military men who have had this training and who are familiar with the latest developments in military technology are interested in seeing their own services adapt to the new techniques and equipment. The prestige of their nation's military is also im- portant, especially in relations with other Latin American mili- tary forces in combined exercises. As evidence of a danger to their prestige, the officers point to the supersonic planes, missiles, and other advanced weapons pos- sessed by African and Asian nations which they consider far less developed than their own. The military uniform is no longer a guarantee of advanced social standing, and a military career is becoming increasingly less attractive because of low pay and poor living conditions in certain areas. Today's pro- fessional officer sees moderni- zation as the only effective way to continue to attract young and capable people to a military career. SECRET Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Rele 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927A0900010002-0 SECRET Most Latin American armies are using World War II equipment which is still serviceable, es- pecially rifles, machine guns, and similar small arms. Parts and ammunition are no problem for the smaller weapons. The Latin American armies are not seeking highly sophisticated electronic equipment, advanced missiles, or large field weapons, and there seems little likelihood that they will be interested in buying such equipment. Transport of troops and supplies is a problem, however, and they will probably become increasingly interested in the uses of helicopters and Light aircraft of the type em- ployed by United States forces in Vietnam. A demand is also de- veloping for newer tanks and mil- itary vehicles, since the older models in most inventories can no longer be maintained except by cannibalizing vehicles or by paying outrageous prices to pri- vate suppliers for spare parts. Several Latin nations have submarines and cruisers as well as destroyers in their navies. Argentina and Brazil also have small aircraft carriers. Some ships, including the carriers, and some cruisers and destroyers, were bought from Europe, while others were purchased or are on loan from the US. 41though the carriers and cruisers are pres- tigious flagships, especially in inter-American maneuvers, they are quite old, expensive to oper- ate, and hard to maintain. These countries also want improved com- munications and navigation equip- ment to support their naval forces. It is in the re-equipping of the air forces that the latest fears of an arms race have been triggered. Most Latin American air forces are flying jet fighters and trainers developed at the end of World War II or before the Korean war, such as the US F-80 and F-86 and the British Meteor. Latin America's rugged mountains and extreme altitudes limit both the kinds of aircraft that can be used and the useful loads they can carry. Some countries have modern turboprop transports, but the work-horse C-47 and C-54 of World War II fame are still their mainstays. Only a few countries have acquired any aerial attack capa- bility and they use such aircraft as the British Canberra (US B-57), the older B-26, and the ancient B-17 for reconnaissance, air-sea rescue, and training. Many of their so-called modern jets, such as the F-86 and the Meteor, have been grounded for periods of up to a year because their advanced age requires extensive repair of their wings before they can again be safely flown. Other older propeller planes are used mostly for parts to keep a few aircraft serviceable. The air forces have been hardest hit in the matter of equipment obsolescence because of the rapid advancements in aircraft technology. The nations looking for new aircraft want to be sure their purchases will not become museum pieces before they are used. SECRET Page 4 SPECIAL REPORT 23 Dec 66 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 SECRET Defense Equipment and the Lcono m Military purchases from European suppliers prior to World War II were haphazard at best, resulting in a lack of standard- ization. An army could have French guns, Czech rifles, Italian tanks, and British trucks. There was little effort made to do more than manufacture some small arms and ammunition at home. Many of the Latin American countries used foreign exchange reserves built up during World War II to finance the moderniza- tion of their services. This modernization reflected the pol- icy implications of the 1947 Inter-American Defense Pact and the emphasis on standardization provided by the US military as- sistance program (MAP). Since the initial re-equip- ping of the Latin American mili- tary forces after the war, de- fense spending by these nations has remained at a low and fairly constant level. Defense budgets form about 13 percent of the to- tal national budgets for 17 coun- tries (see table). Such expend- itures for the most part are LATIN AMERICAN DEFENSE SPENDING 1966 Est. of Defense Expenditures 1964 1965 1966* Argentina 15 12 13 2.0 1.5 1.6 220 Bolivia 10 15 13 1.2 1.7 1.4 12 Rrazi 1 16 16 18 4.0 3.0 4.0 576 Chile 10 11 11 2.0 2.5 2.4 158 Colombia 14 14 14 0.9 0.9 0n8 48 Dominican Republic 22 24 22 5.1 4.7 4.7 40 Ecuador 9 10 10 2.0 2.0 2.0 25 1:l Salvador 11 10 8 1.2 1.3 1.1 10 Guatemala 9 8 9 0.9 1?0 1.0 14 Honduras 10 10 9 1.3 1.2 1.2 7 Mexico 10 10 10 0.7 0.7 0.7 155 Ni carogua 10 9 10 1.1* 1.1 1.4 9 Panama 7 7 5 1.0 1.0 0,8 5 Paraguay 28 24 26 2.5 2.6 3.5 16 Peru 20 17 16 3.4 3.8 3.3 118 Uruguay 10 8 8 1.7 1.5 1.4 14 Venezuela 10 10 10 2.6 2.2 2,2 174 17 Republics 13 13 13 2.0 1.9 1.9 1,601 * Estimated **Fffective exchange rates used to derive dollar values. SECRET CONFIDENTIAL 65080 12-66 CIA SPECIAL REPORT 23 Dec 66 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 SECRET equivalent to only about two percent of their gross national product. The percentages of budget and gross national product vary widely from country to coun- try, according to the level of sociopolitical development in each country. Generally, however, a growing emphasis in the hemi- sphere on spending for social and economic development programs has constrained military expend- itures. Severe balance-of-pay- ments problems in most countries, moreover, have contributed to the reluctance to buy advanced weapons systems that require large foreign exchange expenditures. It must also be noted that most armed forces budgets include a host of expenditures that are for nonmilitary purposes. These cover such functions as air traf- fic control, mail delivery, health services, housing and road con- struction, communications, and operation of airline services. For example, 30 percent of the budget of the Brazilian Air Force is devoted to items that would be handled by civilian agencies in the US. The military budget figures often also include the cost of maintaining the national police forces. The Current Quest for Arms The concentration of arms purchases concluded recently by several Latin American countries has given the impression that there has been a sudden upsurge in this activity. Actually, these purchases have been pro- vided for in the budgets of the nations involved. In some cases they represent the culmination of up to two years of negotiations and shopping. They do not sig- nify an increase in defense spend- ing as a percent of national budgets, and there is no indica- tion at present that any increase is contemplated by the nations involved in seeking further new equipment. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela have all ex- pressed interest in purchasing the US-built F-5 supersonic "Freedom Fighter," a twin-jet tactical aircraft that can be used in a variety of roles. The F-5 is already being supplied to a number of African and Asian countries. When the US decided to postpone sales of the F-5 to Latin America, Argentina agreed to accept the older and slower A-4B, since it could get this model at an attractive price. However, the demands of the war in Vietnam prevented further sales of the A-4B, and the other na- tions which wanted the newer planes were offered only the venerable F-86. Therefore, Chile turned to Great Britain for Hawker Hunters, an aircraft simi- lar to the A-4B, but far more expensive. Brazil, on the other hand, asked the US for jet train- ers, apparently with the idea of SECRET SPECIAL REPORT 23 Dec 66 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 SECRET either waiting for the time when the F-5 finally is made available, or eventually looking to Europe for tactical planes. Peru's Air Force leaders have rejected of- fers of the F-86, saying that it would be like buying a "Model-T Ford," but they have been unable to find a satisfactory substitute that they can afford (see Table). These same countries have been less insistent on buying newer ships for their navies. Argentina's Admiral Varela has been most vigorous in trying to improve his fleet, some elements of which were built before World War II. Argentina would like to revamp its carrier to launch modern jets and there were rumors earlier this year that Chile would also like to have a carrier. It appears, however, that the great- est demand will be for newer de- stroyers and smaller ships, which are more practical and easier and cheaper to operate than the larger vessels. Although there has been a good deal of shopping, there have been no recent purchases of major ships by any of the coun- tries mentioned. Attitudes Toward an Arms Limitation Agreement The governments of the coun- tries currently buying new mili- tary equipment have generally ex- pressed surprise and consternation that they would be accused of en- tering an "arms race." Several of these same governments have CURRENT STATUS OF JET AIRCRAFT PURCHASES Argentina US A48 subsonic 24 (12 delivered 8.5 million Grounded F-86 and fighter-bombers Nov. 1966 ) Meteor jets Brazi I Negotiating for US T-37 subsonic jet trainers 30 7.5 million Antiquated T-6 propellor trainers Chile British Hawker 21 Hunter subsonic jet interceptors Looking for sub- or supersonic fighters Venezuela US F-86K subsonic 74 (28 for fighters (purchased parts) from W. Germany) SECRET Page 7 SPECIAL REPORT 20 million F-80, T-33 jets F-80 and F-86 jets 2 million Older British and US jets Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927A005600010002-0 NOW, 1%0 SECRET indicated their interest in discuss- ing an arms limitation agreement among the Latin American nations and have suggested that it might be a valuable subject for discus- sion at the proposed summit con- ference of Western Hemisphere chiefs of state, which may be held next spring. The government leaders of the major countries generally agree that there is no arms race, and that they are not buying arms with money that should be di- verted toward nonmilitary devel- opment. Nevertheless, they tend to be critical of each other's arms agreements. Also, the presidents of some of the smaller countries, who are not under pressure for modernization, have been severely critical of the larger countries for buying arms. Thus, there is a good pos- sibility that some general state- ment on arms limitations, if brought up at the summit meeting, would be approved. Such a ban might cover heavy weapons, nu- clear armaments, bombers, and missiles, which would be of lit- tle use to the nations involved. Conclusion Although there is no arms race among Latin American nations and there is little likelihood that there will be one, especially if the MAP program is maintained, these countries will continue to seek new equipment. In order to maintain their capability for national defense and internal security, the Latin American republics must consider the re- placement of aging machinery, the development of new techniques and training, and the capabili- ties of neighboring countries in planning for the future. The countries which are un- able to buy new equipment under the US MAP program can be ex- pected to turn toward European suppliers or even Japan. Although the European suppliers agree gen- erally that excessive defense spending would be a mistake in Latin America, they will, for financial reasons (Great Britain) or in an attempt to expand their influence (France), continue to try to sell their planes, tanks, and ships. There seems little chance that the Latin countries will ever really be interested in obtaining arms from Communist bloc nations since most Latin govern- ments are strongly anti-Communist. (CONFIDENTIAL NO FOREIGN DISSEM) SECRET Page 8 SPECIAL REPORT 23 Dec 66 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927A005600010002-0 Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0 Secret Secret Approved For Release 2006/10/12 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05600010002-0