Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Albert H. Gerberich of the Office of South American Affairs


Subject: Military Aid Program for Colombia

Participants: Mr. Bernbaum,1 ARA: OSA
Dr. Jorge Mejia Palacio, Minister Counselor, Colombian Emb.
Mr. Gerberich, ARA: OSA

Mr. Bernbaum informed Dr. Mejia that the United States has decided to allot thirty-eight million dollars under the military aid program for grant-aid to Latin America.2 He explained that only certain of the republics would share in this, and those would be allotted funds in the order of their importance to hemisphere defense. One of these countries will be Colombia.

Our Embassy will take up shortly with the Colombian Government the desirability of making a certain amount available for military grant-aid, and if the Colombian Government expresses an interest in [Page 1313] receiving a share, a negotiation team will leave Washington to implement our offer through talks at Bogotá. The present conversation had as its objective a wish to keep the Colombian Embassy in Washington fully informed of these developments.

Dr. Mejia said he assumed that the talks in Bogota were directly connected with the aide mémoire 3 which the Colombian Embassy received last week from the Department. Mr. Bernbaum explained that that was another subject, and had to do with economic, financial and military assistance conditioned upon non-export of contraband materials to the Soviet Union and its satellites, but that the two matters are related, and that our team would doubtless discuss both while it is in Bogotà.

Mr. Bernbaum told Dr. Mejia that we will continue to keep the Embassy fully informed of any developments, especially the progress of any negotiations that may develop.

  1. Maurice M. Bernbaum, Officer in Charge, North and West Coast Affairs, Office of South American Affairs.
  2. For documentation on the military grant aid program for Latin America, see pp. 985 ff.
  3. Not printed.