722.56/1–852: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Ecuador 1


A–191. Reference Embassy’s confidential despatch No. 514, January 8, 19522 regarding the possible purchase from Czechoslovakia by the Ecuadoran Government of Czechoslovak armaments for the Ecuadoran Army, and requesting the Department’s views in the premises.

Any views which the U.S. might have on this proposed transaction would be based on (1) the form of payment which would be used by Ecuador in concluding this transaction in East-West trade; (2) the effect this transaction would have on the long-range U.S. policy of standardization, and on the continued usefulness of the U.S. military mission in Ecuador; and (3) whether the equipment included in this transaction is actually of the type which might be furnished by the U.S. as grant aid under the Mutual Security Program for the preparation of [Page 969] units of the Ecuadoran armed forces to perform defense missions mutually agreed upon, or as reimbursable aid for the general purposes of Ecuadoran defense.

East–West Trade—While the US. Government would not be in a position at present to object to a transaction of this sort if it were based purely on currency payments, it must consider, both as a matter of law and as a matter of policy, the eligibility of foreign governments which engage in certain types of East–West trade to receive military, economic or financial aid from the United States. If, for instance, in partial payment for these armaments, Ecuador were to export to Czechoslovakia a strategic material included in List B issued under Title I of the Battle Act,3 the U.S. would, under the terms of this legislation, have to consider terminating military, economic or financial assistance to Ecuador. Or if, for example, Ecuador were to return to Czechoslovakia certain of the arms it received under the original transaction, as part of a trade-in in order to receive additional arms, or to ship to Czechoslovakia as payment any of the items included in List A, issued under Title I of the Battle Act, termination of military, economic or financial assistance to Ecuador would be mandatory.
Standardization—It has been determined by the Department of the Army that the arms which Ecuador now wishes to buy from Czechoslovakia are types which the U.S. is in a position to supply. Pricing and availability data on comparable U.S. arms were furnished the U.S. military negotiating team prior to their departure for Quito. It is still part of the long-range military policy of the United States to bring about, as far as may be possible, standardization of the arms and armament of the Western Hemisphere, in order to simplify logistic support in the event of global conflict. Following World War II, Ecuador received from the U.S., as a nucleus of U.S. equipment, a substantial amount of surplus U.S. arms as an “interim program”, and a U.S. military mission (as well as a naval and air force mission) was established in Ecuador to train the Ecuadoran Army in their use. Since then, the Department has no record that the Ecuadoran Government has ever submitted a request to purchase from the United States under section 408(e) of the Mutual Defense Assistance Act,4 any additional small arms, or maintenance equipment to service this type of equipment which the U.S. had previously furnished them. In view of this, any additional purchase by Ecuador of Czechoslovak arms would appear not only to complicate further their logistical support, but also to reduce the value of the U.S. military mission.
Mutual Security Program—The Department understands from the Department of Defense that few of the arms listed in Colonel Vaquero’s list are included in the equipment which might be furnished Ecuador as grant aid under the Mutual Security Program. If this question is raised by the Ecuadorans in the current bilateral discussions, it should be made clear that every reasonable effort will be made to supply Ecuador, on a reimbursable basis under section 408(e) of the MDAA, as amended, with her normal equipment requirements for internal security and national defense if she should submit such a request. Military equipment furnished under the Mutual Security Program, however, will be available only for the preparation of units of the Ecuadoran armed forces to perform hemisphere defense missions which are mutually agreed upon.
  1. Drafted by Duncan A. D. Mackay of the Office of Regional American Affairs; cleared with the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Mutual Security Affairs, the Offices of South American Affairs and Regional European Affairs, and the Departments of Defense and the Army.
  2. Not printed (722.56/1–852).
  3. Reference is to the Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act of 1951 (Public Law 213), approved Oct. 26, 1951, commonly called the Battle Act after Representative Laurie C. Battle (D.–Ala.): for text, see 65 Stat. 644.
  4. For text of the Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949 (Public Law 329), approved Oct. 6, 1949, see 63 Stat. 715.