Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Bolivarian Affairs (Keith)

Participants: Señor Dr. Don Gabriel Turbay, Ambassador of Colombia
Mr. Bonsal8
Mr. Keith

At the request of Mr. Bonsal, the Ambassador called at the Department at 3:30 at which time he was informed of the list of military items which had already received the approval of the War Department, He was informed that it was intended that these would go forward from the Canal Zone within the next week or two as soon as the ship was available for their transportation. Mention was made of the fact that already certain munitions had been delivered in Buenaventura on the fifteenth. The Ambassador emphasized how important it was to Colombia to receive the Lend-Lease equipment which had been requested, remarking that during the last two years practically no equipment had been supplied to Colombia. He added that he had personally given the whole subject a great deal of study and had endeavored to present the full story of their needs, by the presentation of the list attached to his recent memorandum, and by doing it in this way to have this list take the place of the numerous other requests which had been made in the last two years, and on which action had not thus far been taken. The Ambassador mentioned the interest which they had to obtain all the necessary equipment for one division. This included 4700–odd rifles and all the accompanying items of equipment for the individual soldiers in the regiment. He was told that it would be possible to give him more definite information regarding this part of the equipment after the War Department [Page 806] had been able to study the situation a little further. Ambassador Turbay was also told that with regard to the airplanes, the question of their supply was being considered by both the War and Navy Departments and that, as one knew, today the tremendous demand for aviation equipment in all theaters of the war made it particularly difficult to supply some types of planes.

Dr. Turbay said that it was of great importance to his Government to obtain some Lend-Lease, that he felt that the opposition might be well justified in any criticism it might make of the present government for the very small quantities of Lend-Lease material thus far received, and that the impression of many of the Colombians was that Peru had received a far greater amount of Lend-Lease equipment, particularly of airplanes.

Mr. Bonsal told the Ambassador that he would endeavor to obtain more information on the subject of the Lend-Lease equipment which had been requested as soon as possible.

Gerald Keith
  1. Philip W. Bonsal, Deputy Director, Office of American Republic Affairs.