258. Letter From the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Mutual Security Affairs (Nolting) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Hensel)1

Dear Mr. Hensel : I refer to your letter of December 27, 1954,2 which states that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended that the United States comply with a Cuban request to commit the following three additional Cuban military units for hemisphere defense by an amendment to the secret Bilateral Military Plan with Cuba;3 one infantry battalion; one fighter bomber squadron; and one naval reconnaissance squadron.

In your letter of January 3, 1955 (file No. I–9060),2 you outline the stringent situation with respect to the availability of MDA funds for Fiscal Year 1955, and the difficulties which will be faced in meeting Fiscal Year 1955 world-wide program objectives. From a foreign policy point of view, the Department considers it essential [Page 790] that, within available funds, we meet our Fiscal Year 1955 objectives before undertaking new program commitments. We feel that the proposed amendment to the Bilateral Military Plan would be regarded by Cuba as a U.S. commitment to provide support to the additional units during the present fiscal year. Unless the Department of Defense believes that, for overriding military reasons, the secret Bilateral Military Plan with Cuba should be amended and the necessary funds diverted from other programs, the Department does not consider it necessary or desirable to amend the plan at this time.

I note that in your letter of December 27, 1954 you indicated that the funds presently reserved for El Salvador would be used to support the Cuban infantry battalion. In my letter of January 24, 1955,4 I indicated that the Department of State was reviewing the need for continuing the reservation for El Salvador. I wish to advise you that we now feel that this reservation is no longer necessary. As you know, consideration is being given to a military assistance program for Guatemala and it is our view that for foreign policy reasons it is essential that we be prepared to furnish such assistance to Guatemala. In this connection, it is our feeling that the funds previously reserved for El Salvador should be used to finance the Guatemalan program and thereby avoid diversion of funds from other Latin American programs or programs in other parts of the world.

Sincerely yours,

Frederick E. Nolting, Jr. 5
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.5/2–455. Secret. Drafted by Spencer, and by George S. Newman, Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Mutual Security Affairs.
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. Reference is to the Bilateral Military Assistance Agreement between the United States and Cuba signed on March 7, 1952, and entered into force on the same date. For text, see 3 UST (pt. 2) 2901.
  4. Not found in Department of State files.
  5. Not found in Department of State files.
  6. Printed from a copy which bears this typed signature.