67. Despatch From the Ambassador in Honduras (Willauer) to the Department of State 2

No. 287

SUBJECT

  • Airplanes and Parts Honduran Government Desires to Acquire Through Purchase3

On November 24 Chief of State Lozano personally requested the Ambassador to forward officially to the United States Government the statement that Honduras is now prepared to enter into a firm contract for purchase of the following equipment for the Air Force of Honduras:

15 F6F–5 Airplanes $105,000
Spare parts for five years 390,000
10 F4U–5 Airplanes 167,000
Spare parts and complete equipment 640,000
10 T–6–G Airplanes 27,0004

[Page 156]

Lozano stated that an immediate cash payment in full would strain the budget considerably and has asked if any installment terms are available or for other suggestions as to alternative payment plans. However, it appears that financial considerations are of secondary importance and full cash payment can probably be arranged for the speedy completion of this transaction.

Lozano is most anxious to proceed as expeditiously as possible with the purchase of these aircraft and the Embassy strongly endorses the need for speed.

The present aircraft (P–63s and P–38s) are a menace from the safety point of view due to long years of service and extreme difficulty in obtaining replacement parts. It will be recalled that the Chief of the Air Force was killed in an accident May 18 of this year on take-off in a P–38 and recently one of the newly graduated pilots was killed. Additionally, it is felt that the Air Force continues to be apolitical and a great source of stability in the country. If the Air Force appears to be well equipped the chances for peace in the forthcoming elections now likely to be held in April will be notably increased.

Whiting Willauer
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 715.5622/12–255. Confidential.
  2. In a memorandum of August 30, Frederick E. Nolting, Jr. forwarded to the Department of Defense a Honduran request for purchase of military aircraft. This memorandum, sent to the Office of Military Assistance, International Security Affairs, reported that the Department of State approved of meeting the request. The memorandum also recommended that the Department of Defense transmit to the Embassy in Tegucigalpa information on price and availability of various aircraft, adding, however, that formal negotiations for the sale of equipment must be conducted in Washington. (Ibid., 715.5622/6–1655) The substance of this memorandum was transmitted to the Embassy in telegram 35 to Tegucigalpa, August 26. (Ibid., 715.5622/8–1955)
  3. A handwritten notation on the source text at this point reads: “See telegram 105 of 1/13/56 to Tegucigalpa.” In the referenced telegram, the Department informed the Embassy that the planes designated for sale to Honduras required rehabilitation. It further reported that the only purpose of a proposed trip by Colonel Hector Caraccioli to the United States would be to sign a sales contract, deposit the purchase price for the equipment, and arrange with private commercial firms for the necessary repairs to the aircraft. (Ibid., 715.5622/1–556)