2. Telegram From the Embassy in Burma to the Department of State1

751. Re Deptel 597.2 Saw Kyaw Nyein 17th and outlined arms proposal for preliminary reaction. He was unable express any opinion on feasibility of plan without first consulting General Ne Win who now in Interior and presumably other top leaders but expects Ne Win return within few days and promised preliminary reactions within week.

In course conversation he expressed some personal views that indicate probable GUB reaction. Said that politically impossible for [Page 3] Burma accept arms from US if publicly known to involve gift. Therefore believe proposal will not be acceptable if publicity required either Burma or US. Aside from publicity Kyaw Nyein appeared personally sympathetic to proposal. Strongly recommend we be prepared abandon requirement publicity and handle grant aid aspect on strictly confidential basis.

Kyaw Nyein said GUB still in serious need military equipment in order strengthen armed services and prepare for enlargement thru National Service Program next year. Spoke very highly of American equipment.

Recommendations re informing British will be made when reactions received.

February 4 letter to Kyaw Nyein3 excellent and should be used.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790B.5–MSP/2–1855. Secret.
  2. Telegram 597 to Rangoon, February 11, instructed Acly to informally sound out Burmese Minister for Industries U Kyaw Nyein as to whether the Burmese Government was interested in a U.S. proposal to supply arms to Burma through a combination of Burmese purchases at regular prices and U.S. grant aid. (Ibid., 790B.5–MSP/2–955) The proposal had been developed following U Kyaw Nyein’s inquiry in July 1954 whether the United States could provide arms to Burma at a “very reasonable price”; see telegram 42 in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. XII, Part 2, p. 232.
  3. Reference is to a letter from Sebald to U Kyaw Nyein explaining the U.S. proposal; it was pouched to the Embassy in Rangoon on February 4, but there is no record that it was ever given to Kyaw Nyein. (Department of State,FE Files: Lot 56 D 679, N)
  4. Telegram not signed.