Memorandum by the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Mutual Security Affairs ( Martin ) to the Director of the Office of Military Assistance, Department of Defense ( Olmsted )1



  • Request by the Government of Ecuador for Two Destroyer Escorts.

Reference is made to your memorandum dated March 18, 1952,2 stating that while there is no change in the availability for sale of destroyer escorts desired by the Ecuadoran Government (Ecuador Case No. 1), the Department of Defense is prepared to offer for sale to the Government of Ecuador an operational frigate from among those recently returned by the Soviet Government and now employed in patrol duty in Korean waters, on the condition that the Ecuadoran Government would agree to maintain and operate such a frigate in Korean waters as long as the United Nations military operations continue in that theater.

This Department was requested to transmit the foregoing offer to the Government of Ecuador, provided that the Department of State approved the proposed transaction from a political and economic viewpoint.

The Department, after consulting with Ambassador Paul C. Daniels on this proposal, recommends that, in view of the political implications contained in the principal condition attached to it, the offer in its present form should not be made to the Ecuadoran Government. The Department of State believes that the Government of Ecuador would be more likely to regard this offer as an effort on the part of the United States to force a decision by Ecuador on assistance to the United Nations in Korea, rather than as a response to its request for the assistance of this government in the procurement of an addition to its naval forces, and that an effort to impose such a condition would complicate our relations with the Government of Ecuador. While it is recognized that identical offers were accepted by the Governments of Colombia and Thailand, each of these governments had already decided to commit a naval unit in Korea, and requested the additional frigate in order to permit its naval forces to continue in that theater of operations.

If at some future date, it should become possible for the Department of Defense to offer a frigate, or some other suitable patrol type vessel, [Page 972] to Ecuador for use in hemisphere defense, without requiring, as part of the transfer, a political decision on the part of Ecuador involving the commitment of armed forces outside the hemisphere, the Department of State would be prepared to recommend that such an offer be made.

Edwin M. Martin
  1. Drafted by Mr. Mackay, with the assistance of Mr. Jamison; cleared with the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Mutual Security Affairs, the Office of South American Affairs, and the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs.
  2. No copy of the referenced memorandum was found in Department of State files.