810.20 Defense/3–2745

The Ambassador in El Salvador (Simmons) to the Secretary of State

No. 91

Sir: …

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I would be grateful if the Department would give me more definite instructions as to the proposed bilateral staff conversations. I have of course studied carefully the Department’s instruction of January 16, 1945,1 entitled “Proposed Bilateral Staff Conversations”, together with its enclosure concerning the procedure in the conduct of such conversations.

In this connection, I would call to the Department’s particular attention my despatch no. 2407 of February 7, 1945,2 entitled “Military Mission in El Salvador”, in which there were set forth a number of particular considerations in regard to the military situation in El Salvador, which may also be applicable to the situation of certain other countries. I refer also to confidential despatch no. 194, of March 24, 1945, from the American Embassy in San José,3 discussing this question. I believe that a number of the observations made by Ambassador Johnson in this despatch are pertinent and would also apply to the situation in this country. It is my feeling that we should give very serious thought before we encourage the military authorities in this country in the belief that we wish to build up their military establishment to a point beyond what many people here may consider to be the normal minimum requirements. I believe that we should always consider the possibility that any military material and equipment which we may later ship to this country, on the basis of plans formulated in the forthcoming conversations might be used for political purposes and as a means of maintaining a given government in power, rather than for the basic purpose in which we are interested, [Page 1063] that is, the strengthening of our hemispheric defense by means of the improvement in equipment and training of the various local military establishments in these countries.

Particularly with these considerations in mind I have thus far refrained from showing to the Minister of National Defense4 the agenda prepared by the Headquarters of the Caribbean Defense Command and enclosed by General Brett in his letter of March 3.5 If the Department wishes that these documents be discussed in advance with selected military officials of El Salvador, I shall be glad to carry out these wishes, but I believe that it would be helpful in any case to have from the Department a more definite indication of its general policy in regard to the aims and purposes of the staff conversations which are to occur.

Respectfully yours,

John F. Simmons
  1. See instruction dated January 10 and footnote 1, p. 600.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Gen. Mauro Espinola Castro.
  5. Not printed. Lt. Gen. George H. Brett was Commanding General, Caribbean Defense Command.