The Under Secretary of State ( Acheson ) to the Acting Secretary of War ( Royall )


My Dear Mr. Royall: I refer to my letter of December 19, 1945,2 to the Secretary of War3 concerning the interim allocation of ground and air force equipment which the War Department has proposed for other American republics. As stated in the letter, the Department has considered further with representatives of the War Department the matter of making tactical aircraft available to other American republics at this time.

In the second paragraph of my previous letter I outlined the political reasons which make the Department of State extremely reluctant to approve the allocation of tactical aircraft to other American republics. The Department feels particularly strongly on the question of allocating bombing planes because of their great potential destructiveness if put to improper use.

I should like to emphasize again that the question at issue relates to the long range political objectives of the United States in Latin America. Were bombing planes, provided by this Government, to be used destructively in international disputes, or in the course of internal political disturbances, I am confident the U.S. would lose much of the support and friendship of those people of Latin America who are devoted to the cause of peace and of stable democratic government. In the long run we must in large measure rely upon the support of those groups if our position of leadership among the American republics is to be maintained and strengthened.

The Department recognizes that special conditions prevail with regard to Brazil and Mexico whereby the United States has become [Page 87] committed to provide such planes to those governments if they desire them. The Department therefore approves the allocation of all the aircraft recommended in the interim air force program for Brazil and Mexico, as submitted by the War Department.

For the other countries included in the War Department’s interim allocation, the Department approves the revised allocations agreed to by General Walsh,4 of P–47’s and all other planes proposed except for AT–11’s and B–25’s subject to the provisions that no planes be sent at the present time to Argentina, Nicaragua or Paraguay, and that no tactical aircraft, AT–6’s or AT–11’s be sent for the present to Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Haiti or Honduras.

With respect to B–25’s and AT–11’s, for the remaining countries, the Department believes that for the political reasons referred to above the transfer of such planes would be undesirable to the interests of the United States. Should you feel that the purposes which the War Department has in mind involve considerations of such high importance that they should override the political considerations to which I refer, the Department will be glad to consider the matter further with representatives of the War Department.

I am sending a copy of this letter to the Secretary of the Navy.5

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ix, p. 261.
  2. Robert P. Patterson.
  3. Maj. Gen. Robert L. Walsh, War Department.
  4. James Forrestal.