National Security Action Memorandum No. 132, "Support of Local Police Forces for Internal Security and Counter-Insurgency Purposes," 19 February 1962

Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 2, pp. 666-667



TO: The Honorable Fowler Hamilton
The Administrator
Agency for International Development

SUBJECT: Support of Local Police Forces for Internal Security and Counter-Insurgency Purposes

As you know, I desire the appropriate agencies of this Government to give utmost attention and emphasis to programs designed to counter Communist indirect aggression, which I regard as a grave threat during the 1960s. I have already written the Secretary of Defense 'to move to a new level of increased activity across the board" in the counter-insurgency field.

Police assistance programs, including those under the aegis of your agency, are also a crucial element in our response to this challenge. I understand that there has been some tendency toward de-emphasizing them under the new aid criteria developed by your agency. I recognize that such programs may seem marginal in terms of focusing our energies on those key sectors which will contribute most to sustained economic growth. But I regard them as justified on a different though related basis, i.e., that of contributing to internal security and resisting Communist-supported insurgency.

I am further aware that police programs, as a relatively minor facet of the functions of the aid agency, may have tended to receive little emphasis as a result. Therefore, I would like you to consider various ways and means of giving the police program greater autonomy within AID, if this seems necessary in order to protect it from neglect. I fully recognize that police programs must be looked at on a case-by-case basis and that in some instances they can indeed be cut back or eliminated. I simply wish to insure that before doing so we have taken fully into account the importance of the counter-insurgency objective as I view it.

In sum, I should like AID to review carefully its role in the support of local police forces for internal security and counter-insurgency purposes, and to recommend to me through the Special Group (Counter-Insurgency) what new or renewed emphases are desirable.

(signed) John F. Kennedy

Information Copy to:

The Secretary of State
The Secretary of Defense
The Attorney General
Director of Central Intelligence
Director, Bureau of the Budget
Director, Peace Corps
General Maxwell D. Taylor

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