795B. 5/5–1651: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Peru

secret

382. Although Dept anxious encourage in every appropriate way offers troops Korea, we are concerned re apparent Peru attitude tying Korea offer inflexibly to US mil asst in mtg Peru local needs (urtels 573, May 8; 579, May 9).1 Our view is that Korean operation is mutual UN responsibility. Contributions shld not be regarded as being made to US, and as basis for quid pro arrangements, though cannot be denied employment Peru battalion in Korea wld strengthen bonds between our peoples and create favorable US public opinion. In discussing these matters Peru officials, therefore, you shld emphasize separation of two problems, and explain situation orally fol lines:

Re possible Korea offer, US believes Peru offer of battalion wld be widely recognized as highly significant demonstration that govt’s awareness of UN responsibilities and determination contribute to collective security against communist aggression. Offer wld be given most sympathetic consideration through normal Unified Command channels. US wld do utmost make up deficiencies in training and equipment, which cannot be met by Peru Govt, on basis negot reimbursement outlined Gen’l Morla in Apr 18 conversations here.

Re Peru requests for mil equipment, these must be considered in relation to overall problem of strengthening defenses of free world, and availabilities within gen framework. At present requirements countries more immediately threatened by commie aggression have higher priority. Furthermore decisions on fulfilment LatAmer requests from stocks which may become available will be based increasingly upon clear evidence that govt’s agreement that forces strengthened will be prepared and used if and when necessary in performance [Page 1594]of roles or missions essential to collective defense of Continent. Peru requests are being considered with all these factors in mind, but it is doubtful that immed answer can be given.

FYI Peru requests appear far in excess of that country’s needs and econ capacity to buy and maintain even if materiel were available, which it is not. As illustration cost to Peru under existing legis equipment one infantry div including reasonable supply ammunition wld be neighborhood $93,000,000. Consideration will be given however possibility mtg reasonable amounts if availability situation shld improve, but only on basis outlined above, and after higher priority demands have been met. Suggest that Peru re-analyze requirements and state them in items of equipment rather than in T.O. and E. units. Recommend Peru consult with US Army mission in this matter.

Acheson
  1. Neither printed; both are filed under decimal number 795.00.