Memorandum by Mr. Bainbridge C. Davis of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs to the Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs (Briggs)


The attached undated letter from Admiral Ramsey20 arrived yesterday. While I assume that we may consider this as a commitment by the Navy Department to deliver the five flyable PBY–5A’s and five non-flyable PBY–5A’s for spare parts, you will note that we will be putting ourselves in the position of requesting the Navy Department to take this action. RL feels that this would be undesirable.

In view of Bogotá’s telegrams 68 of January 20 and 72 of January 21, indicating that General Arnold has interpreted his conversation with Mr. Braden as authorization to inform the Colombian Government of the “types of 42 airplanes being allocated” and has indicated that “two PBY’s … would be immediately available”, I am not sure that the Navy Department’s proposal to make the Colombians pay a good stiff price (with which I am in agreement) for the two demilitarized PBY’s will meet with any appreciation on the part of Ambassador Santamaria. Perhaps if the Colombians were to be promptly informed of the approximate prices which must be paid for the “implied commitment” planes, they would be less enthusiastic in their demands for these also.21

If, in view of the foregoing, you still consider it wise for me to inform Ambassador Santamaria of the availability of the PBY’s covered by Admiral Ramsey’s letter, I suggest that I also make it clear to the Ambassador that these are the planes which were secured through the efforts of the State Department and Navy Department rather than those which are being passed out by General Arnold.

  1. Not printed.
  2. In a memorandum from John C. Dreier, Chief of the Division of American Republics Analysis and Liaison, to Mr. Davis, February 1, 1946, the cost of the Navy planes equipped for patrol work was given as $131,000 (821.248/1-2246).