731.58/2–1854: Telegram

The Ambassador in Venezuela ( Warren ) to the Department of State


181. I saw President today on courtesy call after receiving disquieting reports French tanks already purchased in reaction alleged grievances mission operations, unsatisfactory procurement procedures and receipt inferior United States material. He confirmed purchase French tanks and unhappiness over some aspects mission operations which he implied will be discussed with us by Chief of Staff. Also stated planning purchase squadron US fighter jets. President seemed embarrassed over his weak explanation that French tank purchase due delay in US decision 60-day credit terms and to general unhappiness over cumbersome US procurement procedures. Mentioned slow deliveries recently purchased 105mm. artillery for which cash already paid as case in point. He stated Venezuela desirous purchasing fighter jets and other equipment in United States but would turn to other sources if not satisfied with procurement facilities and prices.

I made it clear that my efforts to date based on desire assist rather than desire sell equipment. I pointed out that previous procurement difficulties took place during war being waged by the United States on behalf Venezuela and other Latin-American countries as well as US, and that US sales to Venezuela then represented true sharing with a friend scarce equipment needed for the prosecution of the war. I stated would continue to help but wondered how effective I could be on jets after fruitlessness action here and in Washington to expedite M–41 tanks.

Comment: I believe air was cleared by talk and am working clarify various outstanding problems regarding missions, equipment and school spaces. Feel purchase French tanks due as much to graft as peevishness.