Council for Inter-American Security

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Note: the Council for Inter-American Security is no longer in operation.

According to Group Watch (last updated 1991), the Council for Inter-American Security (CIS) "was founded in l976 by Ronald Docksai with the objectives of clarifying the common security interests of nations of the Western hemisphere, recommending approaches for the protection of those interests, and popularizing its recommendations. Now [1991] claiming a membership of nearly 200,000--up from 70,000 in l986--CIS has been described as a 'hybrid institution,' which combines the features of a public policy research institution and a citizens' lobby. One of its major objectives is, therefore, to provide information to Congress, to the executive branch, and to the American public concerning its analyses of national security policy.

"It consequently sponsors educational programs, seminars, conferences, and briefing sessions; conducts direct mail and advertising campaigns; and produces publications, radio shows, films, and television documentaries on various issues relating to foreign policy and national defense posture. In the early years of the Ronald Reagan administration, the organization was one of the more influential think tanks of the New Right, providing both policy and policymakers to the new administration.

"In the heyday of its influence, one observer noted, top officials of CIS 'shuttle[d] to and from key policy-making and advisory roles in the administration. . . . '. Among those tapped for administration positions were Patrick Buchanan, who became President Reagan's communications director; Lewis Tambs, initially a consultant to the National Security Council (NSC) and later appointed ambassador first to Colombia and then to Costa Rica; Gordon Sumner, named as special consultant to the State Department's Bureau of Inter-American Affairs; and Roger W. Fontaine, assigned to the NSC as a specialist on Latin America.

"This initial influence was not to last, however. CIS--like other radically conservative groups--always had the ear of President Reagan but were often incapable of working within Washington's bureaucratic system and were inclined to frustrate and antagonize more pragmatic conservatives both in and out of government. Roger Fontaine, for example, was eased out of the National Security Council, and Pat Buchanan eventually resigned his position with the White House.

"Despite the less dogmatically conservative political climate of the late l980s, CIS continues its efforts. In l988, the Committee of Santa Fe released a new document, Santa Fe II, with recommendations for the next administration. Although it is somewhat less ideological and more pragmatic than the original 'Santa Fe Document,' this second publication is unlikely to have the impact of the first simply due to the changing political tenor of the country and the absence from the White House of a truly ideological president.

"CIS publications and analyses focus primarily on Latin America but include coverage of other regions of the world as well, particularly the Soviet Union. These analyses are formed by a perspective which, for the most part, frames issues in East-West terms. Groups and individuals which opposed President Reagan's Central America policy or supported nuclear disarmament, for example, were repeatedly and vociferously accused by CIS of being tied to or dupes of the Soviet Union. Among other projects, the group has campaigned to defeat the Panama Canal and Salt II treaties and has opposed attempts to normalize relations with Cuba. Its publications call for a vigorous and muscular defense posture in the United States, and CIS has asserted that 'Soviet-Cuban adventurism in this hemisphere started after Jimmy Carter was elected.'

"The Inter-American Security Educational Institute (ISEI), an offshoot of CIS, sponsors a speakers bureau of individuals with expertise in a variety of areas, including economics, theology, politics, warfare, and diplomacy.

"CIS is a membership group and claims to have nearly 200,000 members."

"COUNCIL FOR INTER-AMERICAN SECURITY (CIS): A key New Right group supporting the Contras and right-wing dictatorships in Latin America. It has been part of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) since at least 1975 and has ties to Moon's Unification Church. Major General John Singlaub, a leader of WACL, and others with intelligence agency backgrounds are on the CIS speakers bureau. (Council for National Policy)/CNP member Frank Aker is also a leader of CIS. General Gordon Sumner is chair of the national CIS."[1]

The following comes from a July 16, 1987 book review written by Joan Didion of The New York Review:

"There were in Washington during the Reagan administration a small but significant number of people for whom a commitment to American involvement in Central America did not exist exclusively as an issue, a political marker to be moved sometimes front, sometimes back. These were people for whom a commitment to American involvement in Central America was always front, in fact 'the' front, the battleground on which, as Ronald Reagan had put it in his second inaugural address and on many occasions before and after, 'human freedom' was 'on the march.' These were people who had believed early on and even formulated what was eventually known as the Reagan Doctrine, people committed to the idea that 'rollback,' or the reversal of Soviet power which had been part of the rhetoric of the American right since at least the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, could now be achieved by supporting guerrilla resistance movements around the world; people who believed that, in the words of A New Inter-American Policy for the Eighties, a fifty-three-page policy proposal issued in the summer of 1980 by the Council for Inter-American Security, 'containment of the Soviet Union is not enough. Detente is dead. Survival demands a new US foreign policy. America must seize the initiative or perish. For World War III is almost over.'"

The following comes from political columnists Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover who reported in 1977 that fundraiser for the Council was Bruce Eberle: "Finally, Independent groups like the Council for Inter-American Security are tapping the conservative lode. Its fundraiser, Bruce Eberle, says nearly $80,000 has come in from still another anti-treaties letter."

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