810.20 Defense/811: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Argentina (Armour)8

On April 23 [22] the Secretaries of State, War, and the Navy addressed a letter to the President9 inviting his attention to the conversations which have taken place between the military and naval officials of the United States and the other American republics, excepting Panama, during which the latter expressed the need of their countries for military equipment. These requests were carefully studied by the Joint Advisory Board, a committee composed of officers of the Army and Navy, and the Secretaries of War and the Navy concluded that it is essential to the defense of the United States that military and naval matériel to the value of approximately $400,000,000 should be furnished to those republics during the next few years. Of this amount about $80,000,000 would be supplied up to July 1, 1942, provided its use is not deemed by this Government to be more important elsewhere. This Department concurred in these recommendations. These materials would be procured through the War and Navy Departments in the same way that they effect their own procurement, the funds covering such procurement to come out of appropriations now available under Public Law 23, 77th Congress.10

It is probable that a part of the needed material can be purchased through cash payments by the American republics. A part would be paid by furnishing strategic raw materials. Some countries have indicated that they would like to obtain credits. Others, however, will be unable to afford the cost of the material which it is believed by their military authorities and ours they should obtain unless a part of these supplies are furnished them under the provisions of the Lease-Lend Act (Public Law 11).11

The letter recommends that the Secretary of State be authorized to inform the governments of the American republics that the President considers their defense vital to the defense of the United States under the terms of Public Law 11 and that the Secretary of State may initiate negotiations with each of the American republics to prepare [Page 138] a program of munitions totaling $400,000,000 to be supplied to these countries by the United States, in accordance with the plan elaborated by the Joint Advisory Board.

The President has expressed his approval of the views and recommendations expressed in this letter.

The Department has invited the attention of the chiefs of the missions representing the American republics to the information outlined above and has requested them to ask their governments to designate representatives with whom the officers of the War and Navy Departments could discuss their countries’ requirements in accordance with the plan formulated by the Joint Advisory Board. The Department will conduct the negotiations concerning the method of payment for the material, the value of which, according to the aforementioned plan, would be $21,000,000 for naval material only, in the case of Argentina.

The foregoing has been furnished to you for your confidential information in the event that it should be desirable for you to discuss any aspects of this matter with the officials of the country to which you are accredited.

  1. Sent, mutatis mutandis, to the following Missions, with the figure in last line of penultimate paragraph changed in each instance as indicated, and with the phrase “for naval material only” omitted: Bolivia, $8,000,000; Brazil, $100,000,000; Chile, $50,000,000; Colombia, $16,200,000; Costa Rica, $550,000; Cuba, $3,700,000; Dominican Republic, $1,600,000; Ecuador, $17,000,000; El Salvador, $1,550,000; Guatemala, $3,000,000 (for Army alone); Haiti, $1,100,000; Honduras, $1,300,000; Nicaragua, $1,300,000; Paraguay, $11,000,000; Peru, $29,000,000; Uruguay, $17,000,000; Venezuela, $20,000,000. Sent also, mutatis mutandis, to the Embassy in Mexico omitting the phrase in penultimate paragraph “the value of which …” to end of sentence.
  2. Not printed.
  3. 55 Stat. 53.
  4. 55 Stat. 31.