The Acting Secretary of Defense ( Foster ) to the Secretary of State
Dear Mr. Secretary: I am forwarding to you for your information a copy of my letter to the President dated 5 December 1951 regarding the Title IV Mutual Security Program. In this letter I have recommended that the President make a finding to the effect that United States defense plans establish a need for the participation in missions important to the defense of the Western Hemisphere of certain designated Latin American countries. I further recommended that because of this requirement, the President find that military assistance may be furnished these countries in accordance with the provisions of Section 401 of the Mutual Security Act of 1951. This letter was coordinated with your Department.
You will note that the list of countries and the forces each is to be requested to make available reflects the recommendation regarding Ecuador made by you in your letter to me dated 9 November 1951.1[Page 1033]
Furthermore in addition to the tabulated countries and their force contributions, I have recommended to the President that Venezuela be included tentatively in the list of countries eligible to receive military grant aid. This action again reflects another of the recommendations contained in your letter referred to above. In the case of this latter country, I consider that every effort should be made to secure the full participation of Venezuela in the Mutual Security Program by means of reimbursable aid; however, if in the course of future conversations or negotiations it appears from a political point of view that Venezuela’s omission from the list of countries to receive military grant aid may threaten the defense and continued flow of Venezuela’s strategic materials, this consideration would be overriding. In such an event, the eligibility of Venezuela to receive grant aid will have been established in the finding by the President.
With further reference to your letter of 9 November 1951, I agree that Brazil should be granted a high priority if any reallocation of funds which may be required as a result of failure of one or more of the other governments to qualify for inclusion in this year’s program. However, the amount of military grant aid to be given to Brazil should be in consonance with Brazil’s willingness to accept hemisphere defense tasks, and also her ability to absorb efficiently and utilize effectively such materiel assistance. Further any reallocation of funds among the Latin American countries must be effected so as to insure the balanced progress of the total program.
On notification of the President’s action with reference to the recommended findings, I understand that you are prepared to issue the necessary instructions to the diplomatic missions in the countries to be approached with a view to ascertaining whether the governments of these countries are willing to enter upon negotiations for the conclusions of the required agreements.
- Ante, p. 1027.↩
- W. Averell Harriman assumed the office of Director for Mutual Security on October 31, 1951.↩
- For documentation pertaining to the effort of the Department of State to have the Department of Defense upgrade the priority assigned to the Dominican Republic vis-a-vis the military grant aid program for Latin America, see pp. 1367 ff.↩