835.24/4–1048: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Belgium


606. Reur 810 Apr 221 and Deptel 530 Apr 9 Army has now informed us that it sees no compelling military reason why the approximately 600 tanks in question should not be exported to Argentina but wants it made clear to Belgs that tanks might be of use to Western Union and that accordingly Belg Govt should fully consider this possibility before approving these and any further exports. Dept agrees with this position.

You may therefore inform Belgs that US Govt does not propose to object to contemplated shipments to Argentina as such but will assume that this and all future shipments will be made only after full consideration of possible requirements of Western Union so that decision to export certain quantity of tanks will be in effect decision by Belg Govt that those tanks are not and will not be needed by Western Union. If Dept should find that WestEur countries outside Union have requirements for tanks like these, it would expect inform Belg Govt of such requirement and would then expect Belgs to give these requirements full consideration before authorizing further exports tanks to any destination. Please determine whether Belgs agree to this. In this connection Dept has noted statement urtel 730 Apr 101 that Belg Army would accept World War II material in good condition if new or secret material not available.

Foregoing decision to withdraw objection is contingent upon Belg agreement to refer for US approval all proposed shipments tanks and to keep us informed of all shipments actually made. This is objective which Brit were asked to accomplish on our behalf so you should arrange with them how matter can best be settled with Belgs.

Recent example Depts concern with export destinations is case of sale of 55,000 tons US surplus ammunition to Belgs by OFLC Paris. Belgs were obligated to demilitarize this ammunition but have recently requested authority to use a portion of it in original form. FLC Paris has been instructed to agree, provided clause is inserted in contract prohibiting re-export without US approval. You may wish to mention this matter to FonOff for its info. Sent Brussels, repeated to London and Buenos Aires.2

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. A note on the London Embassy copy of this telegram reads: “Substance communicated to J. Russell Western Dept F.O. F[rances] E. W[illis].”