824.20111/1–2245: Telegram

The Ambassador in Bolivia (Thurston) to the Secretary of State

91. Following a dinner given in General Brett’s2 honor by President Villarroel Friday night the President invited me to accompany him, General Brett, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs3 to another room for a conversation. When we had done so the President said that he had been very interested in statements made by the General before dinner regarding military topics which will come up at the impending conference in Mexico City4 and would like to know more about the subject.

General Brett stated in reply that it was his understanding that there would be a military aspect to the discussions in Mexico City and that it had been rather definitely intimated to him that he would be designated to attend the Conference as a member of the American Delegation. He went on to say that it is felt, especially by himself, that in the application of the lend-lease policy to the supply of military equipment to the American Republics a haphazard procedure has been followed with the result that a disequilibrium between certain countries has resulted. That is to say, some countries have received for one reason or another, an abundance of military equipment, while others have received much less putting the latter at a possible disadvantage should any of the former entertain aggressive or threatening designs. He stated that one of the objectives of the staff conferences which he has just initiated at Santiago5 is the correction of this disequilibrium. He pointed out, however, that the corrective processes would be so applied [Page 561] as not to constitute anything in the nature of an arms race but were the removal of an undesirable inequality.

  1. Lt. Gen. George H. Brett, Commanding General, Caribbean Defense Command.
  2. Gustavo Chacón.
  3. For documentation on this Conference, see pp. 1 ff.
  4. For documentation on these conversations, see pp. 733 ff.