The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense ( Marshall )

top secret

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to Mr. Lovett’s letter of July 13, 1951 to Secretary Acheson transmitting a copy of an “agreement document” resulting from Joint Planning Talks held at Quarry Heights from March 19 to 23, 1951 between the Commander-in-Chief, Caribbean and the Chief of Staff of the Venezuelan armed forces.1

The Department of State believes that this document, subject to certain modifications, will provide a useful basis for further conversations between representatives of the Venezuelan and United States armed forces and that it will mark a significant step in the development of the program of inter-American military collaboration set forth in NSC 56/2. The following comments are offered in accordance with the desire of the Department of State to cooperate fully in accomplishing those purposes.

Although the modifications to sub-paragraph 2 c (1) suggested in your letter are desirable, for complete accuracy this paragraph should read as follows:

“In the event that either Venezuela or the United States, or any other party to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, is subjected to an armed attack or other form of aggression the provisions of the Treaty will apply.”

It is noted that the “agreement document” states a Venezuelan requirement for three squadrons of jet interceptors, and related equipment (page 8),2 with two alternative methods for possible procurement, and that one of these alternatives contemplates U.S. assistance to Venezuela in procurement from British sources (“Note” page 9;3 also “Note” page 20, annex C4). Apart from the question of procurement from NATO sources, which involves procedures not yet worked out, as well as the domestic political implications involved, this would appear to mark a reversal of previous policy regarding standardization on U.S. type equipment by Latin American countries.
This Department agrees that the clarification you suggest with respect to the meaning of “a requirement for the following equipment and assistance” (sub-paragraph 2 g) is important in order that the Venezuelan Government shall not gain the impression that we are agreeing to supply this equipment regardless of requirements in the United States and other areas. Recent developments in Iran do, however, emphasize the importance of Venezuelan oil, and make desirable a re-examination of the priorities given Venezuela in the allocation of military equipment. The assignment by the Department of Defense of priorities which would permit Venezuela to obtain such military [Page 1648] equipment more quickly than has heretofore been possible would meet with the approval of this Department.

This Department appreciates the close cooperation accorded by the Department of Defense in regard to the talks held at Quarry Heights, and will follow further developments with interest.

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:
H. Freeman Matthews

Deputy Under Secretary
  1. Ante, p. 1627.
  2. Reference is to subparagraph 2 g(3) (d), p. 1631.
  3. Reference is to the Note following subparagraph 2 g(3) (g), ibid.
  4. Annex C to Mr. Lovett’s letter of July 13 is not printed.