The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs ( Nash ) to the Secretary of State


Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to Department of State letter dated October 29, 1953,1 concerning the resumption of the military staff conversations of March 1951 between the United States and Venezuelan military representatives.

The United States military representatives will be prepared to resume conversations with the Venezuelan military representatives on 1 April 1954. This date has been selected to avoid conflict with the Department of Air Force sponsored good will tour of Latin America which ends in February, the contemplated visit by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Venezuela to the United States, and the Tenth Inter-American Conference planned to convene in Caracas about 1 March 1954.

The previous terms of reference provided for these conversations have been re-examined by the Department of Defense and it is considered that no changes should be made at this time.

The Department of Defense has no objection to the attendance at these meetings of a political officer from the United States Embassy at Caracas provided that he acts in an advisory capacity only. Holding the conversations in the Panama Canal Zone has minor advantages for the United States representatives if only the military aspects are considered. However, considering the diplomatic as well as the military aspects, it appears desirable to hold these talks in Caracas as originally planned.

Inclosed are pricing and availability estimates2 on the list of military equipment reported by the United States Embassy at Caracas to be desired by Venezuela, analytical summaries indicating status of requests for purchases received from the Venezuelan Government and other pertinent comments relative to the furnishing of this equipment. This information should be utilized only for planning purposes.

It should be noted that the estimates on pricing and availability do not constitute a formal commitment on the part of the United States Government. Lead time is computed on the basis of the time required after receipt of a firm order and completion of financing arrangements.

In the last paragraph of reference letter, it is proposed that all existing papers and correspondence on the subject of military staff conversations with Venezuela be downgraded to Confidential. In accordance [Page 1665] with security regulations, each document must be classified in accordance with its content. Accordingly, the Department of Defense is unable to concur in this proposal.

Sincerely yours,

For the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA)
A. C. Davis

Vice Admiral, USN
Director, Office of Foreign Military Affairs
  1. Ante, p. 1659.
  2. None printed.