MID files, lot 56 D 569, “Military”
Memorandum by William B. Connett, Jr. of the Office of Middle American Affairs to Henry A. Hoyt of That Office
- Cuban Requests for Military Equipment
Four T–33 Jet Trainers. Application to purchase these aircraft was made under the MDAP program by the Cuban Government on April 5. It was approved immediately by the Department of State and forwarded to Defense which in turn transmitted it to the Air Force. Some [Page 915] difficulty developed over payment because the Cubans wanted to purchase the aircraft on credit. It was finally agreed that a letter of credit woud be acceptable, and, on the understanding that such a letter would be issued, two of the planes were sent to Cuba on June 6 in care of our Air Mission there. The letter of credit has not yet been issued and the Cubans have indicated no plans for paying for the aircraft. As a result they have remained in the possession of the Mission which is using them for training flights. The other two have been ready for shipment since June 15 but the Air Force is unwilling to release them until it receives at least an explanation regarding payment from the Cuban Government.
Recently the Air Force informed the Chief of the Air Mission in Cuba that unless the Cubans made some arrangements for payment for the four aircraft they would all be delivered to Peru which has been promised delivery of four T–33’s next January. This threat was made, half in seriousness, with the hope that it would jog the Cuban Government into action. The Chief of the Air Mission in Cuba, on learning of the Air Force’s intention in this regard, asked for a little more time, pointing out the difficulties of getting anything done during the pre-electoral period and during the absence of Ambassador Gardner. He added that he would make immediate efforts to persuade the Cubans to get off the dime.
Arms and Ammunition:
- One thousand carbines. These were requested by the Cuban Government in a note dated July 28, 19531 which was forwarded, approved, by the Department to Defense. We have no evidence that the equipment was delivered although our records are incomplete.
- One thousand hand grenades. Application for this item was made on March 12, 19542 from the Cuban Government. It was referred to Defense with the Department’s approval on March 24, 1954 and was forwarded by Defense to the Army on April 6, 1954. We have no evidence that the delivery was actually made.
- Twenty thousand carbine cartridges. This application was made by note from the Cuban Government dated July 1, 1954.3 It was sent to Defense, approved, by the State Department on July 15, 1954. We do not know whether the order was filled.
- Fifty MA–1–A–1 Thompson submachine guns. This item was requested by the Cuban Government in a note dated September 30, 1954.4 It has been forwarded to the Defense Department with our approval.
Under the Military Assistance Program
Our Military Assistance Agreement with Cuba provides for both a Navy and an Air Force role. The Navy unit specified is five patrol craft, already a part of the Cuban Navy at the time the agreement was signed. The units specified for the Air Force are one light bomber squadron and one transport squadron. The Cubans already had most of the planes for these two squadrons; the Air Force earmarked five additional ones to be made available as grant aid. Two of these were delivered last June; the other three have yet to be delivered.
During the last couple of months the Cubans have asked for additional military grant aid under this program, consisting of:
- Air Force: Equipment of an airborne battalion to be used in connection with the transport squadron specified under the agreement.
- Complete repair at a U.S. base of two PBY–5A planes of the Naval Air Force.
- Acquisition and installation of Sonar and ASW (anti-submarine warfare) equipment in the patrol-escort vessels Caribe and Siboney.
- Acquisition of three mine sweepers, wooden hull, 136 feet in length, for training.
The above requests for additional military grant aid assistance have been transmitted to the Department of Defense where they are under consideration.