485. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Peru 1

212297. Ref: Embtel 5814.2 For Ambassador.

You should seek immediate interview with President Belaunde regarding program loan and Peruvian plans purchase Mirage aircraft.
You should inform President you will receive instructions within a few days which will authorize you to discuss Peruvian Air [Page 1013] Force requirements for F–5 aircraft. These instructions will define as specifically as possible at this time how we would propose to carry out our commitment to assist Latin Air Forces in obtaining suitable replacement jet fighter aircraft beginning in 1970. It should be made clear that financing would be on commercial basis outside MAP.
At the same time you should make clear that you cannot make specific commitment that this means delivery of F–5 aircraft to Peru could begin in 1969. This would depend on overall performance of Peruvian economy as set out in program loan negotiation paper.
We could not agree to be party to transaction which diverted substantial Peruvian resources from economic to military purposes when the latter purposes are of low priority.
You should also make clear that your instructions on the program loan specifically provide that diversion by Peru of substantial resources to low priority military requirements (read jet fighters from France) would preclude the negotiation of program loan.
We cannot of course tell Peru how to utilize its resources. We assume Peru is committed goals of Alliance as we are and that it wants to give highest priority to economic and social development. If Peru decides otherwise then U.S. must make its decision consistent with Charter of Punta del Este and Declaration of Presidents. We would regret our inability to help Peru in such circumstances but we would be left with no other alternative.3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5, PERU. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Sayre, cleared by Vance, and approved by the Secretary.
  2. Telegram 5814 from Lima, June 14, reported that Peru was considering the purchase of Mirage fighter aircraft from France. (Ibid.) In a June 15 memorandum to the Secretary, Oliver explained that “a contract between Peru and France on the Mirage seems imminent.” He recommended that Rusk raise with McNamara a proposal to begin delivery of supersonic fighters to “the major South American countries” in 1969. In an attached note Rusk wrote that he would “like to speak to Covey Oliver on this.” (Ibid., ARA Files, 1967–1969: Lot 72 D 33, Military Assistance Program) According to the Secretary’s Appointment Book Rusk met Oliver and Sayre on June 17 at 5:28 p.m. (Johnson Library) No substantive record of the meeting has been found.
  3. In a meeting with Jones on June 20 Belaúnde maintained that Peru needed supersonic fighters due to the “unsettled condition” of the world. Jones explained that the United States was reviewing its policy on supersonic aircraft in Latin America, but warned: “If GOP decided use its resources buy plane like Mirage, USG would feel it inappropriate use its resources for program loan.” After arguing that the “two things should not be tied together,” Belaúnde blamed the Department for its “uncompromising attitude toward Peruvian armed forces and suggested we adopt more understanding position of Pentagon.” Jones reported: “I restrained myself.” (Telegram 5881 from Lima, June 20; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, AID(US) 9 PERU)