The Acting Secretary of State to the Charge in Venezuela (Dawson)


382. Under interim arms program for ground forces Venezuela has been offered full equipment (subject to availability under surplus property program) for one battalion infantry and other items mentioned Deptel 131, Mar 14. Navy Dept has now requested Dept’s approval transfer Venezuela complete equipment including arms for about 1 battalion Venezuelan Marine Corps. Equipment includes large amount quartermaster supplies and pistols, rifles, machine guns, flame throwers, grenade launchers, and some ammunition therefor.

Navy states equipment necessary to fulfillment duty of Lt. Col. Hawkins, USMC, member of US Naval Mission, assigned to train Venezuelan Marine Corps. Dept has no record of any formal commitment for this project requiring transfer of arms or other equipment. No request for this equipment has been received by Dept from Venezuelan Govt.

Since approval this project would in effect substantially increase strength of Venezuelan forces equipped under interim program, and open door for additional requests from other countries at this time, Dept inclined not approve Navy proposal at this time, although problem of supporting naval mission recognized.

Please cable your views particularly re urgency of permitting transfer in immediate future as opposed to deferring for future consideration.40 Would, in your opinion, work of Naval Mission in training Marine Corps be aided temporarily by transfer equipment other than armaments at this time?

For your info Navy has contemplated shipping all equipment on consignment to US Naval Mission, but Dept believes any transfer [Page 1322] should be arranged by contract of sale through FLC here before shipment.

  1. In telegram 463, September 25, 1946, 5 p.m., the Charge” expressed a preference for the Navy method of transfer and suggested delayed action (831.24/9–2546).