715.5 MSP/10–3054

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Hensel) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Murphy)

top secret

Dear Mr. Murphy : Reference is made to your letter dated 10 August 1954,1 recommending additional grant military assistance of two (2) C–47 aircraft to Honduras.

I have not discussed this subject with Mr. Wilson but I have received the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which follow:

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the specific request of the Secretary of State and the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Special Operations) developed Western Hemisphere Defense missions for Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua for political and not military reasons. The basic purpose at the time was to indicate to Guatemala that non-Communist governments could receive grant aid and thus support the anti-Communist elements in Guatemala. Since then Guatemala has changed her form of government.

“The United States does not have C–47 aircraft surplus to requirements. To provide these aircraft to Honduras would require their purchase in the open market or a reduction in our inventory. Costs for the two aircraft plus spare parts for one year are estimated to be between $200,000 and $300,000. With limited funds available, this expenditure would require a considerable revision in the programs of other Latin American countries.

“Increased aid to Honduras could set a precedent upon which Nicaragua might base requests for additional assistance. That country is developing an infantry battalion with grant military assistance and can also claim the necessity for increased mobility. Similar requests could be expected from other Latin American countries for political purposes and such requests could cause embarrassment to the United States should a precedent be established in Honduras.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that specific tasks which Honduras could perform effectively would be of negligible military value to Western Hemisphere defense and do not justify further expenditures.

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“In view of the above considerations and from a military point of view, the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not recommend providing Honduras with two C–47 aircraft.”

I fully support the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and do not recommend providing two (2) C–47 aircraft to Honduras, however, if you desire I am willing to discuss this subject further.

Sincerely yours,

H. Struve Hensel
  1. Ante, p. 1311.