670. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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  • Military Equipment for Venezuela Status Report

Since our Thirty-Day Progress Report to you of June 30, in response to your memorandum of June 5 to the Secretaries of State and Defense, the following actions have been taken regarding the acquisition of modern military equipment by Venezuela.

The joint Venezuelan-United States Logistics Requirements Committee formed in Caracas to examine Venezuela’s needs for modernization of its forces is expected to complete its initial review of requirements by September 1. Following this review, DOD specialists plan to go to Caracas to examine the possibilities for providing equipment requirements on the refined list.

However, our ability to provide most of the equipment in terms suitable and appropriate for Venezuela is dependent on availability of FMS credits and guarantees. We had identified for planning purposes $6–7 million per year for FMS credit and $5 million for FMS cash purchases.

Prospects for early passage of legislation are, as you know, doubtful, and future prospects are not very encouraging. The consequences for Venezuela, and other Latin American countries for that matter, are likely to turn them toward European suppliers where credit is available. The Venezuelan Minister [Page 2] of Defense has just returned from a visit to France but has told Ambassador McClintock he prefers United States equipment in the interests of hemisphere defense.

The Department of Defense is considering ways other than FMS credit and guarantees for partially making needed equipment available, e.g., decommissioning a fleet oiler which may be acquired by Venezuela.

We have also initiated discussions at the Export-Import Bank, at the request of Venezuelan Ambassador Sosa, about financing a Hercules, the civilian version of the C–130 H, for use in the CODESUR effort—the development of southern Venezuela. In the absence of FMS legislation this may need to be expanded to four aircraft.

In summary, discussions with Venezuela have proceeded apace. It is our legislative picture which puts a crimp on our progress and forces us to seek other and less satisfactory alternatives for meeting our political/military objectives.

The Department of Defense concurs in this status report.

Theodore L. Eliot, Jr.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential; Limdis. Robert L. Brown signed for Eliot. The Thirty-Day Progress Report, dated June 30, is Document 669.
  2. Eliot informed Kissinger that U.S. and Venezuelan officials had begun consultations on how the Nixon administration could meet Venezuela’s military needs. Eliot concluded by stating that the U.S. Congress was holding up foreign military sales to Venezuela.