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


Subject: Peruvian Government Request for Cruiser

Participants: Señor don German Aramburú, Minister Counselor of the Peruvian Embassy
AR—Mr. Mackay

Mr. Aramburú called this afternoon to inquire whether we had received any information from the Department of Defense regarding any change in the status of the Peruvian Government’s request for a heavy or light cruiser. He stated that he understood that the Navy was disposed to make “certain arrangements” in order to make such a cruiser available for transfer to the Peruvian Government, but were awaiting the favorable recommendation of the State Department. Mr. Aramburú inquired specifically whether there was any possibility that such a recommendation might be forthcoming.

I informed Mr. Aramburú that we had in the last few days received word from the Department of Defense that there was at present no change in the status of availability of a heavy or light cruiser for the Peruvian Government, and that we were prepared to make this reply in further response to the Peruvian note of November 14, 1951.1 As for any recommendation, I informed Mr. Aramburú that none had been asked or appeared to be called for, in view of the absence of anything concrete at this time on which to make a recommendation. Mr. Aramburú stated that if this was to be the nature of the Department’s reply, [Page 1610] he would like to consult first with Ambassador Berckemeyer, in order to see whether he would prefer not to receive a reply to the note at this time. Mr. Aramburú stated that he would call back later on the result of his conversation with the Ambassador.

Mr. Aramburú then inquired whether, in the forthcoming bilateral military discussions on the military grant aid program it would be appropriate for Peru to raise the question of their desire to obtain a cruiser and the possibility that part of the amount intended for Pent under the Mutual Security Act could be applied for this purpose. I informed Mr. Aramburú that while the Peruvian negotiators mighty of course, raise any subject they wished, it was my understanding that the limited amounts of equipment which would be furnished under this program would be to enable a recipient country to undertake an agreed task in hemisphere defense; and that any additional equipment which might be needed for other defense requirements or its own internal security would continue to be furnished that country on a reimbursable basis. Mr. Aramburú stated that he understood this distinction, but found it difficult to make in the case of large naval units, such as a cruiser, which conceivably could be used both in the general defense of the hemisphere as well as in the defense of the coastal areas of Peru.

  1. Not printed.