722.5811/1–1554

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

secret

Subject:

  • Ecuadoran Request for Naval Assistance.

Reference is made to despatch No. 341 of January 4, 19542 from Embassy Quito stating that two top Ecuadoran naval officers are proceeding to the United States and later, if necessary, to Europe for the purpose of purchasing naval vessels for the Ecuadoran Navy. The despatch indicates that the Ecuadoran naval officers were to arrive in New Orleans about January 8 to inspect a 3,000 ton vessel which could serve for inshore and river patrol purposes. Thereafter they plan to proceed to Washington and then to Europe. Both have visas for the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The earnest desire of the Ecuadorans to procure certain naval vessels from the United States at less than replacement costs is, of course, well known to the Department of Defense. It appears obvious to this Department that if the Ecuadorans are not able to secure assurances while in Washington that they can procure the equipment on acceptable terms from the United States they will proceed to Europe and attempt to purchase equipment which presumably would be of non-standardized character. The reference despatch indicates that the Chief of the U.S. Naval Mission to Ecuador, Commander Toner, in view of this and other important considerations, has sent a message to the Department of Defense asking that the utmost consideration be given to Ecuador’s naval needs. This Department concurs in Commander Toner’s recommendation.

[Page 994]

With regard to Colonel James G. Anding’s memorandum of December 14, 1953,3 also pertaining to the Ecuadoran request, the Department of State believes it would be unwise to inform the Ecuadorans that a negative decision, at least for the present time, has been reached on their request for naval equipment, in view of the importance which the Ecuadorans attach to their request and the possibility that the Department of Defense may wish to include Ecuador (Estero Salado) in the United States plan for control of shipping in event of war. To do so might make it difficult or even impossible to secure Ecuadoran permission to include Estero Salado in the control plan if later desired by the Department of Defense.

In view of the fact that the control plan is currently being developed, we believe that the Department of State, the Department of Defense and the American Embassy in Quito should respond, when queried by the Ecuadorans with regard to their request, that consideration of the request is being given on a continuing basis and that no final conclusion has been reached. We do not think that this precaution would necessarily dissuade the Ecuadorans from proceeding to Europe to seek out equipment, but we do believe it is necessary if we are not to run the risk of foreclosing Ecuadoran cooperation which may be needed in connection with the control plan.

I would appreciate receiving your reaction to this proposal.

Frederick E. Nolting, Jr.
  1. Drafted by Alton W. Hemba of the Office of Regional American Affairs; cleared with the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Mutual Security Affairs and the Office of South American Affairs.
  2. Not printed (033.2211/1–454).
  3. Not found in Department of State files.