Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Philippine and Southeast Asian Affairs (Lacy)

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  • Contraband Arms Traffic in Southeast Asia.


  • Mr. Tomlinson, Counselor, British Embassy
  • Mr. Lacy—PSA

I asked Mr. Tomlinson to come in today concerning the attached British Aide-Mémoire No. 11923/6/52G.1 I told Mr. Tomlinson that I wished to speak to him personally about this matter and to solicit [Page 86] his personal advice. I told him that I was eager to avoid making a negative reply to the last British Aide-Mémoire on this subject but that my colleagues and I were unsatisfied on the following points:

That we considered we were still not in receipt of evidence, which we invited in our Aide-Mémoire of December 20, 1951 that the countries in Southeast Asia were accumulating stock piles of arms beyond their requirements for internal security;
That we were uneasy about imposing upon ourselves the obligation to delay the dispatch of arms under our MDAP programs by one month; and
That I was not sure that His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government would wish to make full revelation of their arms assistance programs to all the other members of NATO. I furthermore pointed out that if any of the Southeast Asian countries were to learn, as I was sure they ultimately would, that American MDAP Programs were submitted to NATO for approval the reaction in those countries would be violently adverse. Mr. Tomlinson agreed to this proposition.

Mr. Tomlinson volunteered to write a personal letter to Mr. Scott2 in the Foreign Office advising Mr. Scott of our reservations.

  1. Dated Apr. 21, p. 78.
  2. Robert Heatlie Scott, Assistant Under Secretary of State, whose duties included supervision of the Southeast Asia Department.