The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Forrestal)


My Dear Mr. Secretary: The Colombian Government has submitted to the Department of State the underlying list of military equipment,1 with the request that the equipment be supplied by this Government. In accordance with information received by the State Department from the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Colombian Government has been informed that, with the exception of fifty-two surplus military aircraft, none of the equipment is in excess of the requirements of the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force, and accordingly, that the only source of supply for the equipment is the commercial market in the United States.

The Department of State has been advised by the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force that the latter are prepared, in coordination with their own procurement, to use their good offices to facilitate the negotiation and execution of contracts between other American republics and United States commercial sources. The National Military Establishment is requested to consider the Colombian request for implementation in accordance with this policy, which was transmitted to United States diplomatic officers in the other American [Page 466] republics by the Department’s circular instruction of July 30, 1948, a copy of which is enclosed.2

The United States Embassy, at Bogotá, has indicated an urgent need of Colombia for sufficient arms for maintaining internal stability at a time when the Colombian Government is being threatened by subversive Communist elements. It is felt that an immediate effort should be made to assist the Colombian Government in the procurement of those amounts and types of military equipment required for this purpose, provided that the procurement of such equipment would not seriously interfere with procurement for the Greek, Turkish, Chinese, and other programs of a high priority.

For the purpose of further consideration, I will appreciate being informed what types and quantities of equipment set forth in the underlying list are believed by the National Military Establishment to be required by Colombia for the purpose of maintaining internal stability. I will also appreciate information as to the present feasibility of assisting the Colombian Government in securing the desired equipment from commercial sources, in coordination with the present National Military Establishment procurement program.

Sincerely yours,

Robert A. Lovett
  1. Not printed.
  2. Ante, p. 218.