74. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Middle American Affairs (Neal) to the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom)1
- Honduras: Letter of Ambassador Willauer to the Under Secretary
Reference is made to a personal-secret letter dated November 30, 1956 to the Under Secretary from Ambassador Willauer which was delivered to his office by Mr. Kimmel2 and referred to MID for reply.[Page 168]
In this letter Ambassador Willauer requests consideration for special assistance to Honduras in its present economic crisis. He also notes an alleged tendency to “push the problems of Honduras into the background” and he refers to several matters in which he feels that the Department has not given adequate consideration to Honduras.
1. Publicity for Honduran Aid to Connecticut in 1955:
Ambassador Willauer infers that little was done to give publicity to the generous gesture of Chief of State Lozano in sending $25,000 for aid to the distressed area of Connecticut after the 1955 floods. In this instance press and newsreel coverage was arranged when Ambassador Izaguirre presented the check to Mr. Bunker3 at Red Cross Headquarters.
2. Lack of Reply Regarding Honduran Offer to Take 100 Hungarian Refugees:
The Honduran telegram to the President on November 12 reached this office late on Friday, November 16. A reply was coordinated with other sections of the Department on that date. Between November 19 and November 21 the suggested telegram from President Eisenhower was hand-carried for high-level clearance in six bureaus and was forwarded by ARA to the Secretariat on November 22. It was returned to ARA by the Secretariat on November 26 with the request that it be re-phrased as a message from the Acting Secretary. This was done on the same date and it was returned to the Secretariat. The Secretariat actually sent the telegram on November 28.4 In addition to the hand-carrying for clearances, the Staff Assistant made various endeavors to obtain faster action through the Secretariat.
3. Purchase of Planes for Honduras:
There was some delay in the purchase of planes for Honduras last spring. This delay was caused by the failure of the Honduran Government to meet the legal and technical requirements of the Department of Defense, despite advice on the procedures on the sale of the planes. The sale was completed promptly after these requirements were met and the Embassy was informed at all times of the progress of this transaction. This office has attempted to exercise considerable prudence with regard to arms purchases by Central American governments. This policy has paid off since we are now in a position to return $319,000 Honduras spent on a munitions purchase [Page 169] which was at first approved by the Embassy. As you know, the Government of Honduras can make much better use of this sum at the present time.
4. Honduran Vote in the United Nations:
The Ambassador’s letter states that the Honduran vote in the United Nations which has followed the United States “until now” is very important and implies that this may may not be the case in the future. This office has gone through unusual efforts to see to it that the Honduran representative to the U.N. Ambassador Tiburcio Carias, Jr., has been assured of our gratitude and our esteem, especially following the unnecessary holding up of notification of the agreement for Carias by Ambassador Willauer for a period of approximately one week.
It is felt in general that whether or not this is the intention, this letter conveys an unwarranted and regrettable impression concerning the efficiency of this office and of this Bureau. It is hoped that any possible resulting misunderstandings can be corrected for the record. As you know, this office has attempted to keep ARA and the higher echelons of the Department fully informed on all developments in Honduras. It is felt that any investigation of these seeming complaints would in general justify the action taken in this Bureau with respect to Honduras.
It is suggested that these points be documented in detail for the record and possibly for a reply to Ambassador Willauer. This office is prepared to do this in any amount of detail required.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.15/12–656. Secret. Drafted by Park F. Wollam of the Office of Middle American Affairs. Transmitted to Rubottom under cover of a handwritten note from Neal, December 7, which reads: “Dick—Park W. is a bit hurt because of some of Whitie’s statements in his letter to Hoover. It is too bad Whitie feels he has to cast reflections on others while he is trying to polish his own apple. His statements are so unfounded they don’t worry me but we should set the record straight by a letter from you or Mr. Hoover. Jack.” A handwritten notation on Neal’s note reads: “Park, Try drafting a letter—see me first. R.R.R.”↩
- Roy I. Kimmel, First Secretary and Consul of the Embassy in Honduras.↩
- Ellsworth Bunker, President, American National Red Cross.↩
- Not further identified.↩