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573. Telegram 741 From the Embassy in Paraguay to the Department of State, April 27, 1971, 2125Z.1 2

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TELEGRAM
Department of State
ASUNCION 741

0 272125Z APR 71
FM AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6484

ASUNCION 741

DEPT PLS PASS BRASILIA, BUENOS AIRES, CARACAS, LIMA, RIO DE JANEIRO, SANTIAGO FOR INFO

SUBJ: CHILEAN AIR FORCE REQUEST FOR F–5 AIRCRAFT

REF : STATE 70947

1. IN VIEW PARAGUAYAN UNEASINESS OVER PRESENT TRENDS IN CHILE AND SMALL MAGNITUDE OF RECENT MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO PARAGUAY WHICH CONSIDERS ITSELF SPECIAL FRIEND AND FIRM SUPPORTER OF US, REACTION HERE TO FURNISHING AIRCRAFT TO CHILE WOULD BE HIGHLY CRITICAL. WE MIGHT MINIMIZE REACTION IN GOP IF I PERMITTED EXPLAIN ALONG LINES SUGGESTED REFTEL TO FOREIGN MINISTER AND PRESIDENT BEFORE PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT IS MADE. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT WHEN CARRIED BY THE PRESS SERVICES STORY WOULD BE PROMINENTLY HEADLINED AND BE THE TALK OF THE TOWN.

2. SHOULD IT BE DECIDED TO ACCEDE TO THE CHILEAN REQUEST, WE MUST EXPECT GOP TO RAISE AGAIN DESIRE FOR SMALL NUMBER OF T–37 JET TRAINERS (ASUNCION 283 NOTAL) OR OTHER JETS. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES IT OF COURSE WOULD BE MOST HELPFUL IF I COULD BE AUTHORIZED SAY US NOW ABLE TO SUPPLY A FEW JETS TO PARAGUAY UNDER FMS CREDIT ASSISTANCE OR MAP. NEXT BEST ALTERNATIVE WOULD BE AUTHORIZATION STATE WE ARE PREPARED GRANT SPECIFIC AND SIGNIFICANT MILITARY MATERIEL PACKAGE IN NEAR FUTURE. FOREIGN MINISTER SAPENA PASTOR JUST TODAY TOLD ME THAT DURING MEETING WITH SECRETARY ROGERS IN SAN JOSE HE TOOK OCCASION TO ASK THAT THE US SUPPLY MILITARY MATERIEL BADLY NEEDED BY THE PARAGUAYAN ARMED FORCES IN VIEW OF TREND OF EVENTS IN NEIGHBORING BOLIVIA AS WELL AS IN NOT SO FAR AWAY CHILE. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT IN MAKING THIS PLEA HE REFLECTED THE VIEWS OF HIS CHIEF.

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3. WE SHOULD EXPECT THAT FAILURE US MAKE SIGNIFICANT MOVE IN DIRECTION SUPPLYING PARAGUAY MILITARY HARDWARE AT TIME WE ACCEDE TO PRESENT CHILEAN REQUEST COULD CAUSE PARAGUAY TO LOSE CONFIDENCE IN US. THE REACTION OF PARAGUAY’S TWO BIG NEIGHBORS, OF COURSE, WILL HAVE IMPACT HERE.

GP–3.
YLITALO
BT
NOTE: NOT PASSED BY OC/T.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 792, Country Files, Latin America, Paraguay, Vol 1. Secret; Nodis; Immediate. Copies sent for information to Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago. A stamped notation on the telegram indicates that it was received in the White House Situation Room at 10:29 p.m. on April 27.
  2. The Embassy conveyed Paraguay’s request for additional military assistance. Citing the threat posed by political instability in Bolivian and the leftist Chilean governments, the Embassy concluded that if the U.S. Government failed to provide increased assistance, the Paraguayans could “lose confidence” in the United States.