558. Memorandum of a Conversation, Montevideo, December 10, 19571


  • Ambassador Jefferson Patterson
  • Mr. James Espy
  • President Arturo Lezama

Reference is made to Embassy D–556 of December 9, 1957,2 in which on page 2, mention is made of a prospective appointment with President Lezama of the National Council of Government.

During this talk I expressed disappointment that the long-pending US-Uruguayan Treaty of Commerce, Friendship and Economic Development should have failed of action in this year’s Legislature.3

President Lezama stated that he shared my sentiments.

Immediately thereafter President Lezama stated that he was engaged in a plan to make available for the use of the U.S. Air Force Mission to Uruguay the requisite 120,000 pesos. The President stated that this was, indeed, a small sum, in which observation I concurred adding that the officers and men of the Mission certainly spent more than 120,000 pesos in the course of a year for their own personal expenditures and those of their families.

The President stated that the currently anomalous position of the Air Mission must be regularized and that, indeed, he had been constantly on the telephone urging, in particular, Senators of various political sub-divisions to approve the measure. The President added that while he had received assurances that the Air Force Agreement would be approved in the course of the current month, he was engaged in an endeavor, by indirection, to obtain the funds in question from another source.

On my inquiring if the sole difficulty remaining in the way of the Air Force extension was a pecuniary one, the President replied affirmatively and emphatically, stating in response to another question that the presence of the Mission in Uruguay was highly desirable and desired.

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Comment: I am of the opinion, accordingly, that President Lezama, the Minister of Defense,4 and the Inspector-General of the Uruguayan Air Force5 are all partisans of continuation of the Air Force Agreement. Discovery of a source of funds for its extension should shortly be discovered and it will then be implemented, probably as outlined in Embassy Despatch No. 556, above mentioned.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 733.58/12–1157. Secret. Drafted by Patterson. This memorandum and Documents 559561 were sent to the Department of State in despatch 567 from Montevideo, December 11.
  2. Despatch 556 from Montevideo discussed possible methods for reallocation of funds to allow for continuance of the U.S. Air Force Mission. (Department of State, Central Files, 733.58/12–957)
  3. Reference is to technical problems concerning the Supplementary Protocol to the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Economic Development between the Oriental Republic of Uruguay and the United States of America signed at Montevideo on November 23, 1949. Documentation relating to the negotiations is Ibid., 611.334/5–655.
  4. Raúl Gaudin.
  5. Brigadier Danilo Trelles.
  6. The problem was resolved on January 23, 1958, when the Government of Uruguay issued a decree providing for payment of its share for the maintenance of the U.S. Air Force Mission. (Department of State, Central Files, 733.58/2–658)