Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs (Flack)
In agreement with Ambassador Corrigan’s suggestion, I permitted Colonel Wagner21 to read NWC’s secret memorandum of January 21, 194622 dealing with the question of interim allocation of aircraft to Venezuela as recommended by Colonel Whitfield, head of our Military Air Mission. Colonel Wagner said that he felt that the more support the United States gave to the present government in Venezuela, the more chance there is of keeping outside elements from trying to stage a counter-revolution. He felt that a counter-revolution would lead to much bloodshed and would be detrimental to Venezuela. He felt it desirable that stability be maintained in the country as far as possible and accordingly said he was in agreement with Colonel Whitfield’s conclusions which contemplated the furnishing of six to [Page 1311] eight P–47’s and three C–47’s. Colonel Wagner admitted that the P–47’s carried machine guns and could transport a 500 pound bomb, but doubted that Venezuela could obtain bombs of this size. I asked his opinion about the B–25’s and he said that while Venezuela could not use these at the present time, they might want some at an undetermined future date.
In discussing the foregoing with Ambassador Corrigan, he stated that according to his information the P–47’s are among the most effective military aircraft since they mount eight machine guns and can transport a 500 pound bomb. He said that one such weapon could almost destroy the city of Caracas alone, in his opinion, and that for Venezuela to have six or eight of such aircraft would place control of the country in the hands of the pilots operating them. Therefore, he gave it as his considered opinion that no P–47’s should be delivered to Venezuela until that country has a constitutional government elected by the people. The present provisional government in Venzuela has not yet held elections and arrangements for holding them have not developed as rapidly as many hoped.23