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U.S. Marine Corps - Small Wars Manual (1940 Edition)

Chapter I. Introduction.

Section VI

Importance								1-28
Contact with national govt. officials		1-29
Coop. with law enforcement agencies		1-30
Contact with inhabitants					1-31

1-28. Importance. -- a. All officers of the naval establishment, whether serving with the force afloat,the forces ashore, or temporarily attached to the national forces of another country, are required by the Constitution and by Navy Regulations to observe and obey the laws of nations in their relations with foreign states and with the governments or agents thereof.

b. One of the dominating factors in the establishment. of the mission in small war situations has been in the past, and will continue to be in the future, the civil contacts of the entire command. The satisfactory solution of problems involving civil authorities and civil population requires that all ranks be familiar with the language, the geography, and the political, social, and economic factors involved in the country in which they are operating. Poor judgment on the part of subordinates in the handling of situations involving the local civil authorities and the local inhabitants is certain to involve the commander of the force in unnecessary military difficulties and cause publicity adverse to the public interests of the United States.

1-29. Contact with national government officials. -- a. Upon the arrival of the United States forces at the main point of entry the commander thereof should endeavor, through the medium of the United States diplomatic representative, to confer with the Chief Executive of the government, or his authorized representative and impart such information as maybe required by the directive he has received. Such conference will invariably lead to acquaintance with the government's leading officials with whom the military commander may be required to deal throughout the subsequent operation.

b. Meetings with these officials frequently require considerable, tact. These officials are the duly elected or appointed officials of the government, and the military commander in his association with them, represents the President of the United States. These meetings or conferences usually result in minimizing the number of oficials to be dealt with, and the way is thereby speeded to the early formulation of plans of action by the military commander. When the mission is one of rendering assistance to the recognized government, the relationship between its officials and the military commander should be amicable. However if animosity should be shown or cooperation be denied or withdrawn, the military commander cannot compel the foreign government officials to act according to his wishes. Ordinarily an appeal to the Chief Executive of the country concerned will effect the desired cooperation by subordinate officials. Should the military commander's appeal be unproductive, the matter should be promptly referred to the naval superior afloat or other designated superior, who will in turn transmit the information to the Nay Department and/or the State Department as the case may be.

c. In most of the theaters of operations, it will be found that, the Chief Executive maintains a close grip on all phases of the national government. The executive power is vested in this official and is administered through his cabinet and various other presidential appointees. Some of these appointed officials exercise considerable power within their respective jurisdictions, both over the people and the minor local officials. Some of them exercise judicial as well as executive funnctions, and are directly responsible to the President as head of the National Government.

d. It follows, therefore, that in the type of situation which involves the mission of assisting a foreign government, the military commander and his subordinates, in their associations with national governmental officials, as a rule will be dealing with individuals who are adherent to the political party in power. This situation has its advantages in that it tends to generate cooperation by government officials, provided of course, the Chief Executive, himself, reflects the spirit of cooperation. At the same time, it may have the disadvantage of creating a feeling of antagonism toward our forces by the opposite political party, unless the military commander instills in all members of his command the necessity for maintaining an absolute nonpartisan attitude in all their activities.

e. Political affiliation in most countries is a paramount element in the lives of all citizens of the country. Political ties are taken very seriously and serve to influence the attitude and action of the individual in all his dealings.

f. When subordinate military commanders are assigned independent missions which bring them into contact with local and national governmental officials, they should make every effort to acquaint themselves with the political structure of the locality in which they are to be stationed. The principal guide for the conduct of their associations with the civil officials will be, of course, the regulation previously referred to which governs the relations between members of the naval service and the agents of foreign governments. The amenities of official intercourse should be observed and the conventions of society, when and where applicable, should be respected. When assuming command within a district or department, an officer should promptly pay his respects to the supreme political authority in the area, endeavor to obtain from him the desired information with regard to the economic situation in that locality and indicate by his conduct and attitude that he is desirous of cooperating to the extent of his authority with those responsible for the administration of the foreign government's affairs.

g. In giving the fullest cooperation to the civil authorities, the military commander should insist on reciprocal action on their part toward the military forces. Interference with the performance of the functions of civil officials should be avoided, while noninterference on the part of those authorities with the administration of the military forces should be demanded. In brief, a feeling of mutual respect and cooperation between members of the military forces and civil officials on a basis of mutual independence of each other should be cultivated.

1-30. Cooperation with law-enforcement agencies. -- a. United States forces, other than those attached to the military establishment of the foreign country in which they are operating will not, as a rule, participate in matters concerning police and other civil functions. The military forces usually constitute a reserve which is to be made available only in extreme emergency to assist the native constabulary in the performance of its purely police mission.

b. The mission of our forces usually involves the training of native officers and men in the art of war, assisting in offensive operations against organized banditry and in such defensive measures against threatened raids of large organized bandit groups as are essential to the protection of lives and property. When the civil police functions are vested in the native military forces of the country, these forces are charged with the performance of two definite tasks-a military task involving the matters outlined above and a police task involving in general the enforcement of the civil and criminal laws. The native military forces control the traffic of arms and ammunition; they see that the police, traffic , and sanitary regulations are observed; they assume the control and administration of government prisons; and they perform numerous other duties that, by their nature, may obviously, directly or indirectly, play an important part in the accomplishment of the military mission.

c. It follows, therefore, that by cooperating to the fullest extent of his authority with the native forces in the performance of civil police functions, the military commander will, without actually participating in this phase of the picture, be rendering valuable assistance towards the accomplishment of the ultimate mission assigned to the combined military forces. Due to the fact that in most cases the individuals occupying the important positions in those native organizations performing police duties, are United States officers and enlisted men, questions arising with regard to cooperation and assistance are easy of solution. Adherence, on the part of our personnel, to the dictates of the local laws and regulations, and a thorough knowledge of the scope of authority vested in the native police force is essential to the end that we cannot hamper this force in the performance of its duty, and to the end that we maintain the respect and confidence of the community as a whole.

d. With regard to the contact that is had with those connected with the judicial branch of the government, very little need be said. The magistrates and judges of the various courts are usually political appointees, or are elected to the office by the national congress. Consequently, they are affiliated politically with the party in power national and/or local. In most situations, the civil courts will continue to function. Although this procedure is not always conducive to the best interests of the military forces, it is a situation that normally exists and must be accepted. The manner in which the judiciary performs its functions may have a profound effect on the conduct of a small war campaign. In the first place, the apprehension and delivery of criminals, including guerrillas, by the armed forces to the courts will serve no useful purpose if these courts are not in sympathy with the military authorities; and in the second place, a lack of cooperation on the part of the courts, insofar as the punishment of outlaws is concerned, may have a tendency to place the local inhabitants in fear of assisting the military forces. In view of this situation, every endeavor should be made to generate a friendly attitude on the part of these law-enforcement officials in order that their cooperation may be had.

1-31. Contact with inhabitants. -- a. Whether a military commander be stationed at headquarters in a metropolis or assigned to the smallest outpost, he must necessarily come into contact with the civilian population. By "contact" in this case is implied intercourse in daily life. The transaction of daily routine involves the association with the civilian element, even in the most tranquil territory. The purchase of fresh provisions, fuel, and other necessities of camp life involve the relationships with merchants, bankers, those in charge of public utilities, and many others. In relations vvith these persons, whether they be business or social, a superiority complex on the part of the military commander is unproductive of cooperation. The inhabitants are usually mindful of the fact that we are there to assist them, to cooperate with them in so doing, and while dignity in such relationship should always obtain, the conduct of the military authority should not be such as to indicate an attitude of superiority.

b. Association with civilians may be other than business or social. The same daily occurrences that take place in the United States between members of the naval forces and our own police and civilian population frequently take place on foreign soil. Damage to private property by the military forces is frequently the cause of complaints by members of the civilian population. Dealings with civilians making claims for damages incurred through the conduct of our personnel should be as equitable as the facts warrant. Even where the responsibility rests with the United States, the settlement of such claims is necessarily protracted by the required reference to the Navy Department, and the lack of facilities through which to afford prompt redress is oftentimes the cause of bad feelings. If the military commander were supplied vith a fund to be used for the prompt adjustment of limited claims, the foregoing condition might be materially improved. However, under existing laws and regulations the amicable adjustment of matters involving injury and damage to the civilian population and their property calls for the highest degree of tact and sound judgment.

c. Cordial relationship between our forces and the civilian population is best maintained by engendering the spirit of good will. As previously stated, a mutual feeling of dislike and aversion to association may exist between members of rival political parties. Conservatives and liberals, or by whatever label they may be known, are frequently prone to remain "die hards" when their political candidate is unsuccessful at the polls. It is, therefore, highly important for a military commander to ascertain the party affiliation of the persons with whom he comes into contact. The homely advice: "Don't dabble in politics" is wise, and military authorities should scrupulously avoid discussing the subject.

d. Akin to politics is the subject of religion. The people of many countries take their religion as seriously as their politics. Consequently members of the United States forces should avoid any attitude that tends to indicate criticism or lack of respect for the religious beliefs and practices observed by the native inhabitants.

e. Relations between our military forces and the civilians might easily be disturbed if the former were to get into altercations with the public press. Freedom of speech is another liberty of which the inhabitants of many countries are not only proud, but jealous. Editors of the local newspapers are not always averse to criticizing the actions of troops other than their own. Nothing can be gained by the marine commander in jumping into print and replying to such newspaper articles, other than possibly starting a controversy which may make his further retention in that locality undesirable. When a matter is so published and it is considered detrimental, the subordinate marine commander should bring it to the attention of his immediate superior for necessary action by higher authority.

f. Every endeavor should be made to assure the civilian population of the friendliness of our forces. No effort should be spared to demonstrate the advantage of law and order and to secure their friendly cooperation. All ranks should be kept mindful of the mission to be accomplished, the necessity for adhering to the policy of the United States and of observing the law of nations.

g. Foreign nationals are often the underlying cause of intervention; almost invariably they are present in the country during the occupation. Generally their concern is for the security of their lives and property; sometimes they have an exaggerated opinion of their importance and influence. Generally the condition of political unrest does not react directly against foreigners, and it often happens that the foreign resident does not consider himself in any danger until he reads of it in a foreign newspaper, whereupon his imagination becomes active. Foreign cooperation may at times be a greater obstacle to success than the foreign mercenaries in a revolutionary party, when, for equally unworthy purposes, they render aid openly or secretly to the revolutionists in order to assure themselves of the protection or favor of any new government. Any discontented faction of natives can usually secure the sympathy or support from some group of investors or speculators who think they can further their own interests or secure valuable concessions by promoting a revolution. In any event, in dealing with these corporations and in receiving reports from them, it may often be wise to scrutinize their actions carefully to determine if they have any ulterior motives. In interventions, the United States accords equal attention to the security of life and property of all foreign residents.

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