810.20 Defense/21⅗

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of the American Republics (Duggan) to the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

To summarize briefly the thoughts of this Division regarding the best procedure to develop plans for continental defense, we suggest the following:

A circular instructing our missions in the large countries except Mexico to call to the attention of the governments to which they are accredited the need for increased cooperation among the American republics in military and naval matters relating to their common defense, and to inquire whether these governments are prepared to cooperate and, if so, in what ways. This initiative should be handled orally by our missions. (I understand that you would like this confined only to the South American countries at this time.)
Follow-up conferences between our military and naval authorities and those of the other American countries. It would seem that more rapid and efficient results could be obtained by dealing with the several countries individually, since the matters to be discussed will vary as will the approach. We urge that a State Department representative accompany our military and naval authorities and participate in the discussions, since we believe that the form of any arrangements concluded is important.
A general conference later on once, as a result of individual country-by-country discussions, we have obtained in general what is considered to be immediately essential. Our thought was that there would be a psychological value in a general meeting. (I understand that you do not think that this is desirable.)

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In any discussions that might be carried on it would seem desirable to discuss the following matters which in some cases overlap those already suggested, but in others are new:

  • Establishment and development of airports in the American republics; defensive measures for their protection.
  • Radio beacons and the training of personnel to operate them.
  • Fuel supplies at airports and the training of personnel to handle refueling operations rapidly.
  • Lighting of airports and airways.
  • Practice flights.
  • The training of United States Army and Navy pilots in commercial transport airplanes (Panair and Panagra).
  • Temporary stationing of airplanes in certain places (the War Department has already raised this in connection with Guatemala).
  • Coastal patrols.
  • Surveillance of ships in port.
  • Establishment of bases and fueling stations.
  • Purchase of new and surplus equipment.
  • Servicing and repairs.
Military, Naval and Aviation Missions.
Fifth Column Activities in the American Republics.
Anti-Sabotage Precautions in the American Republics.

Laurence Duggan