Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Bainbridge C. Davis of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs
|Participants:||Alfredo Machado Hernández—Venezuelan Appointed Ambassador|
|Dean Acheson—Acting Secretary|
|Bainbridge C. Davis—NWC|
Dr. Machado stated that discussions had been initiated nearly a year ago between representatives of the Venezuelan Government and United States Government for the purpose of establishing a United States [Page 1318] Military Mission in Venezuela. On March 8, 1946 the Venezuelan Embassy had transmitted a note to the State Department34 suggesting certain changes in the contract as proposed by the United States Government. Dr. Machado understood that these changes had met with the approval of the War Department and that all that remained was for the State Department to express its approval and to conclude the agreement with the Venezuelan Government.
The Ambassador emphasized the importance to Venezuela of obtaining sufficient armaments to permit the successful functioning of the proposed military mission. He stated that discussion of armaments for Venezuela had also been undertaken nearly a year ago but that they had resulted in the offer of equipment for only one battalion, whereas Venezuela needed equipment for an entire division. The training function of the proposed mission was so closely connected with the acquisition of these armaments that the Ambassador felt they must receive parallel consideration. Dr. Machado handed the Acting Secretary a memorandum (undated)34 which set forth the qualifications of the officers who should compose the mission and the necessity for sufficient equipment for the success of the mission.
Mr. Acheson stated that we would discuss this matter with the War Department and he asked Mr. Davis whether there was any information which could be given to the Venezuelan Ambassador at this time. Mr. Davis replied that, when the Venezuelan request for a military mission was presented to the State Department some months ago, arrangements were made for the War Department to send a mission of three officers headed by a general to Venezuela to study the technical requirements for a military mission. These officers made their recommendations to the War Department and a draft contract was thereupon submitted by the State Department to the Venezuelan Embassy which replied on March 835 suggesting certain changes. Mr. Davis had not been informed that the War Department had expressed its approval of these changes, but this information would have been submitted to another division. It would appear that the agreement could now be promptly concluded.
With respect to the question of armaments, Mr. Davis stated that it was his understanding that the ground equipment which was recently offered to Venezuela constituted all that was available in surplus at this time. The Ambassador replied that according to information given to his Military Attaché by officers of the War Department that Department was able to supply all of the equipment which Venezuela [Page 1319] desired. Therefore he hoped that the State Department would facilitate the shipment of this material to Venezuela and he emphasized again the close relationship between this request and the request for the military mission.
Mr. Acheson stated that we would be glad to give the Ambassador’s statements careful consideration and asked Mr. Davis to look into the matter.