Memorandum by Mr. Duncan A. D. Mackay of the Office of Regional American Affairs



Subject: Résumé of Conference held at Suggestion of General Morla to Discuss Peruvian Requests for U.S. Military Equipment.

1. The conference was held at the Department of State at 10:30 a. m.

2. Present: General Morla, Chief of Staff, Peruvian Army
Colonel Somerville,1 Chief, Latin American Branch, G–3, Department of the Army, U.S.A.
Lt. Colonel Jones,2 G–3, Department of the Army, U.S.A.
Mr. McGinnis, Peruvian Desk Officer, Department of State
Mr. Smith,3 International Security Affairs, Department of State
Mr. Mackay, Regional American Affairs, Department of State.

3. General Morla referred to a comprehensive list of equipment, submitted by the Peruvian Embassy on April 16,4 representing Peru’s long range requirements for military equipment. It contained, among other items, a complete table of equipment for four infantry divisions. A second list, comprising approximately one-fourth of the items extracted from the comprehensive (“global”) list was marked “urgent” requirements. General Morla requested consideration of the “urgent” [Page 1592] list, which also contains a number of items which Peru has already requested in previous actions, and asked whether it could be provided Peru and what period of time would be required. General Morla described at some length the desire of Peruvian authorities to furnish troops to the United Nations in Korea and the inability to do so because of the current psychological mood of Peruvian public opinion. He stated that if the U.S. could furnish the equipment for one infantry division, for example, Peru would then be able to furnish one regimental combat team, and that even the initiation of the flow of equipment to Peru would have a beneficial effect upon Peruvian public opinion. He stated that Peru could not afford to reduce her Army at this time by offering a substantial unit to the United Nations for Korea.

4. U.S. representatives assured General Morla that his position was thoroughly understood and that, while no answer could be given without detailed study of the new requests, they would receive the most careful and sympathetic consideration. He was informed that pricing and availability data on the pending requests would be forthcoming at an early date. He was informed that in determining the availability of military equipment for various purposes, there had to be established certain priorities, in which combat equipment for Korea and the strengthening of the NATO forces in Europe had high priorities. It was explained that under existing U.S. laws, military equipment which was available for other areas could be transferred only on the basis of payment in dollars. It was explained that different fiscal and priority terms applied with respect to equipment of forces for action in Korea. In cases where offers of military units for the United Nations in Korea are accepted by the Unified Command, it is legally possible for the U.S. Government to make up deficiencies in the military unit offered to Korea, to assist in training the troops, to transport the contingents to Korea and to maintain them in the field, provided it is agreed that there will be reimbursement to the U.S. The terms and conditions of this reimbursement of units for the United Nations in Korea, it was explained, can be negotiated later with the U.S. if the offering country is unable to pay the U.S. in full at the start. It was explained, however, that equipment for units for Korea was not shipped to the country making the offer, but was instead provided to the Theater Commander after arrival of the unit.

5. General Morla repeated several times that the possibility of a Peruvian offer for the United Nations in Korea would be greatly enhanced by the prior arrival of U.S. equipment for the Peruvian Armed Forces, and that it would be helpful in stimulating such an offer if such equipment could be delivered before the offer were made. The U.S. representatives stated that the Peruvian position was clear and understandable, but that those U.S. persons desiring to support the [Page 1593] Peruvian equipment requests would be in much better position to do so if a Peruvian offer for Korea were not delayed and made contingent upon the arrival of appreciable amounts of U.S. equipment. The U.S. representatives pointed out the risks being accepted by the U.S. in shipping a large portion of its continental forces to assist the United Nations in Korea. It was suggested that Peru, relying upon the Rio Treaty, might accept a temporary diminution in its internal forces for the sake of providing a unit to assist the United Nations in Korea.

6. General Morla requested that he be provided informally with a resume of the points which he raised and the replies which were given to him during this conversation.

  1. Col. Duncan S. Somerville.
  2. Lt. Col. Argyle P. Jones.
  3. Paul Smith.
  4. The Peruvian Government’s list of equipment was submitted to the Department of State under cover of a note from the Peruvian Embassy dated April 13, 1951, not printed (723.5-MAP/4–1351).