810.20 Defense/39a

The Secretary of State to Diplomatic and Consular Officers in the American Republics

Sirs: The President approved on June 15, 1940, a joint resolution to authorize the Secretaries of War and of the Navy to assist the Governments of the American Republics to increase their military and naval establishments, and for other purposes. The text of the joint resolution is as follows:

[Here follows text of joint resolution printed in 54 Stat. 396.]

The Department desires that, so far as possible, all negotiations between this Government and the Government of any American Republic desiring to avail itself of the facilities offered by this Joint Resolution be conducted in Washington between the diplomatic or other authorized representatives of the American Republic and the appropriate authorities of this Government. Since the ultimate decision must of necessity rest with our War or Navy Department, it is obviously preferable that negotiations of this character be carried on directly with those Departments. Should the Government to which you are accredited, therefore, approach you with a view to opening such negotiations, you are requested to recommend, after answering as fully as possible inquiries in regard to the scope and purport of the law, that an authorized representative of that Government in Washington be authorized to carry on the necessary conversations there. These should be initiated with the Department of State, which will arrange for the representatives of the American Republic to confer with appropriate officials of the War and Navy Departments.

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Should circumstances arise, however, which in your judgment render it desirable that a particular inquiry from the Government to which you are accredited be transmitted through you, you are authorized to forward the inquiry to the Department. That provision of the Department’s Circular Instruction of November 21, 193521 which states that American diplomatic and consular officers should decline to use official channels for the communication of inquiries or offers between prospective purchasers and sellers is hereby modified to exempt from its scope inquiries from the Government of an American Republic relating to a purchase authorized by this Joint Resolution. The remaining provisions of the Circular Instruction shall continue in effect and American diplomatic and consular officers shall, while responding in every proper way to requests for assistance and information originating with the Government to which they are accredited, continue to refrain from attempting to create trade opportunities for arms, ammunition, and implements of war of United States origin and from undertaking on their own initiative to expand the sales of such articles.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles