Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of River Plate Affairs (Spaeth)

Colonel Meals32 came in to discuss the Uruguayan lend-lease program. He stated that from a military standpoint the War Department continues of the opinion that no additional lend-lease equipment is needed by Uruguay. He therefore states that the War Department would recommend additional equipment to the Munitions Assignment Board only upon receipt of a letter from Secretary Hull stating that for political reasons the Department of State considers that additional lend-lease equipment should be allocated to Uruguay.

Colonel Meals also stated that approximately two months ago Secretary Stimson had replied33 to a letter from Secretary Hull on the same subject,34 and pursuant to Secretary Hull’s request had stated that the War Department was recommending that additional matériel be allocated to Uruguay. Colonel Meals stated that at that time the Munitions Assignment Board did allocate additional matériel and that the list of approved matériel35 had been submitted to Mr. Orme Wilson.36

With regard to equipment which is now ready for shipment but for which there is presently no shipping space available, Colonel Meals stated that he had been informed by the Uruguayan Military Attaché, Farías, that there is no immediate urgency and that the equipment can therefore wait upon the arrival of the Uruguayan ship Colonia.

Colonel Meals also stated that since it is the opinion of the War Department that much of the equipment being sent to Uruguay will not be effectively used unless technical instruction is given to Uruguayan officials, the War Department feels that a military mission to Uruguay is highly desirable. He stated that the War Department is particularly anxious to have a military mission in Uruguay at this time because of the strategic importance of the River Plate area. He [Page 1602] also stated that on several occasions Colonel Congdon has taken this matter up with Ambassador Dawson but that the Ambassador has apparently not viewed the proposal with favor.

  1. Lt. Col. Robert W. Meals, American Theater Section, Operations Division, War Department.
  2. For substance of his reply, see telegram 254, May 10, 8 p.m., to Montevideo, p. 1599.
  3. Letter of April 14, p. 1597.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Liaison Officer in the Office of the Secretary of State.