716.5 MSP/5–2454:Telegram

The Ambassador in El Salvador ( McDermott ) to the Department of State


119. Pouched Guatemala City and Tegucigalpa. During conversation this morning President twice emphasized extreme urgency receipt certain arms and more particularly munitions even before final signature of military assistance agreements. Said he had been informed US planes were today landing at Tegucigalpa with certain arms for Honduran Government. He said in view recent developments, and particularly reports that certain arms from SS Alfhem 1 had been unloaded at Chiquimula, he was ordering partial but secret mobilization. Added there were reports truck movement Chiquimula region and that despite possible consequences, Honduran planes would today make reconnaissance that area.

Osorio said would have Chief General Staff2 make available to Army Attaché tomorrow minimum list most indispensable arms and munitions. At this point again emphasized urgency of need and said government would pay since it must have munitions although possibly its arms almost sufficient for emergency.

I do not know how they might be supplied but urge Department explore every possibility. I advance suggestion arms, munitions might be furnished Army Mission as training aids.

Please inform.3

  1. Reference is to the vessel which arrived at Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, on May 15, 1954, containing arms shipments of Czechoslovakian origin. For additional documentation on this subject, see pp. 1111 ff.
  2. Col. Alberto Escamilla.
  3. Telegram 121, to San Salvador, dated May 25, 1954, signed by Assistant Secretary Holland, stated that grant military assistance could be furnished expeditiously to El Salvador, provided that the Salvadoran Government approved the General Military Plan for the Defense of the American Continent, signed and ratified a military assistance agreement with the United States, and approved a related bilateral military plan prepared by the Department of Defense (716.5 MSP/5–2454).

    The General Military Plan was approved by the Inter-American Defense Board on Nov. 15, 1951, and by the United States on Mar. 20, 1952; for pertinent information, see the editorial note, Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. ii, p. 1028.