The Ambassador in Paraguay (Beaulac) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 31—8:52 a.m.]
535. Deptel 335, October 25, 8 p.m.21 Embassy approves program to equip initial ground force units with understanding that new equipment will be given in exchange for serviceable equipment now in hands of Paraguay to the full extent available so that it will not effect a net increase in Paraguay’s stock of arms. It is suggested that Paraguayan arms be delivered shortly after receipt of arms to be furnished under program set forth in Deptel under reference assuming same procedure is followed in Bolivia.
Re War Dept program for aircraft, it is fundamental that Paraguay cannot afford to maintain even its present air force unless (1) it is subsidized by some other Govt or (2) it is permitted to engage in commercial operations as it is doing presently using American Lend-Lease equipment.
Re eight B–25’s the following points are pertinent:
- They were not requested by the Paraguayans.
- They are expensive to operate and beyond financial ability of Paraguayan Air Force to operate.
- They are not adaptable to commercial use.
- There are presently only two pilots capable of operating them. Additional pilots, bombardiers and navigators would have to be trained.
- Their efficient operation would be contingent on our setting up the depot requested in staff conversations. Paraguay cannot pay for the depot and probably could not afford to maintain it.
Based on foregoing Embassy does not approve furnishing B–25’s.
Re three AT–11’s it is understood that these are twin engine Beechcraft similar to two Paraguay already possesses and which are considered sufficient for training purposes. The AT–11’s would doubtless be used in airline operations.
C–47 likewise also would doubtless be used in airline operation (see Embassy’s 1098, September 12, 1945. See also War Dept bid report 2307.0202 (No. R 244–45 of September 21, 1945).
Embassy has no objection to furnishing of AT–11’s or of C–47 assuming that they are furnished free of charge or for nominal prices and that our Govt is content that these planes be used in airline operations within Paraguay and between Paraguay and neighboring countries with the added possibility that ownership of the airline will progressively be placed in private hands.[Page 1289]
The truth is, as already suggested, that there is no room for expansion of military aviation program in Paraguay or even for continuance of existing program which is being carried out with aid of an American Military Aviation Mission unless equipment now in hands of Paraguayan air arm including Lend-Lease equipment and such additional equipment as may be obtained is devoted to commercial aviation.
If our Govt feels obligated as sequel to staff conversations to supply some airplanes to Paraguay and if it has no objection to those airplanes being used for commercial purposes, Embassy suggests supplying six liaison type planes in addition to the AT–11’s and the C–47.
Military, Air, Naval Attachés and Chiefs of Air and Ground Missions concur.