810.20 Defense/1177: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Colombia (Braden)

234. From Duggan. Your telegram no. 304, July 30, 1 p.m. The points you raise are being discussed with the War and Navy Departments. The Department’s views on your four points are:

1st. It is not possible to supply free funds under the Lend-Lease agreement.

Under conditions of very real necessity, resort might be made to the President’s emergency defense funds. Under this procedure the War and Navy Departments would have to demonstrate controlling reasons of a defense character for such an allocation. Although obviously those two Departments will have to determine for themselves whether in this case such reasons exist, in frankness the Department is compelled to state that on the basis of data presently available it would not be disposed to attempt to persuade the War and Navy Departments to make such a request of the President. If, however, you believe it desirable to look into this possibility you should instruct your Military and Naval Attachés to make complete reports in the premises to their own Departments, furnishing copies of these reports directly to this Department together with your recommendations.

In order not to raise the hopes of the Colombian Government for any free funds, you are instructed not to make any mention of this possibility to the Colombian Government.

2nd. Since Colombia has not as yet submitted its lists, neither this Department nor the War and Navy Departments are able to do anything until the schedule has been presented.

3rd. The declarations have no political flavor. They are simply statements in the preamble to the draft agreement which refer to the Declaration of Lima and state that the two countries together with all other American republics are united in the defense of the Americas, are determined to secure for themselves and for each other the enjoyment of their own fortunes and their own talents, that the defense of each of the American republics is vital to the defense of all and for that reason the United States proposes to provide the defense articles later [Page 21] listed. These statements are even less specific than declarations already arrived at in inter-American conferences and meetings of Foreign Ministers. The Department is sure you will have no difficulty in convincing the Minister of War the agreement is not at all political.

4th. The Department is endeavoring to ascertain from the War Department its attitude on plane deliveries.

The Department sees no reason why Colonel Strong (subject to instructions from his Department) and the Chief of Staff should not go ahead in Bogotá with a survey of Colombia’s needs. It is, however, impossible for conversations regarding the details of material which will be furnished to take place other than in Washington. Consequently, the survey should be limited to determining what Colombia needs and not to committing this Government on what will be delivered. It would then probably be necessary that appropriate Colombian officers again come to Washington to work out the details. If the War Department approves, this Department feels that either the Military Attaché or a ranking member of the Military Mission should thereafter accompany them to Washington.

Please impress on the appropriate Colombian authorities that this Government wishes to assist them in negotiating a Lend-Lease agreement, if such is desired, but cannot move until Colombia has acted. [Duggan.]