The Secretary of War (Stimson) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Clayton)
Dear Mr. Secretary: I have your letter of January 15, 1945,22 concerning the interest of the Chilean Government in the construction of a network of airfields in Chile.
The letter indicates a misunderstanding as to the intent of the decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to which you refer. That decision merely indicates the areas in which the United States has a requirement for military air bases and in which the United States should have certain military rights. The area so indicated excludes Chile. The decision makes no reference to the desirability of developing the aviation market of the United States in Latin American countries which the War Department has always considered advisable in order to increase the potential air power of the United States and to prevent the infiltration of foreign aviation interests. The War Department has recently submitted to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee a proposed overall policy with respect to Latin America, which includes, among other objectives, the desire of the War Department to strengthen hemispheric defense through the development of commercial air facilities throughout Latin America.
As indicated in my letter of November 6, 1944,22 the War Department has always been willing to assist in the furtherance of this latter policy through the medium of its Aviation Missions in the Latin American countries. In this particular case the War Department is prepared to go forward with the Military Air Attaché’s program by having the required technicians assigned on temporary duty in Chile, but is not prepared at this time to undertake any commitments with respect to the furnishing of Lend-Lease or of any funds other than the actual cost of required personnel. The degree of assistance that should be rendered in this latter regard will have to abide the result of further survey and discussion.
The War Department is at present preparing recommendations to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee as to the extent of War Department participation in the implementation of the United States aviation policy with respect to Latin America.