810.20 Defense/3–2745

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in El Salvador ( Simmons )6

No. 33

Sir: Reference is made to your secret despatch No. 91 of March 27, 1945, regarding bilateral staff conversations.

With regard to your request for further information concerning the staff conversations, your attention is called to the Department’s secret circular instruction of March 16,7 with which was enclosed a copy of the Basic Instruction for Staff Conversations agreed to by the State, War, and Navy Departments. These instructions formed the basis for the agenda prepared by General Brett, to which reference is made in your despatch.

The question of holding bilateral staff conversations with other American republics has been under discussion for about one year. In view of the improved military situation and the virtual removal of any further threat of attack on the American continent it became obvious that our military and naval relations with the American republics should be formulated on the basis of long range policy rather than the immediate military situation in the present war (aside from those countries which are participating in military or naval operations8). For this purpose considerable information was needed regarding [Page 1064] the views of the other American republics. It was, therefore, agreed to hold bilateral military and naval conversations in order to obtain information from the other republics and solicit their views concerning general plans for standardizing their training and equipment along lines of the United States armed forces. The long range objective this Government has in mind is the establishment of a satisfactory working relationship with Salvadoran armed forces for the purpose of facilitating hemisphere defense as now provided for in the Act of Chapultepec.9

The Department desires to emphasize that the staff conversations which are being held with other American republics are purely preliminary and exploratory in character. They are confined to technical military and naval subjects. One of the fundamental purposes of the conversations is to allow the participating United States officers to ascertain the views of the representatives of the other American republics regarding the size and composition of the armed forces which they plan for the post-war period. No commitments will be made in the course of the conversations to supply any arms and equipment which may be desired by those countries, and the information obtained as a result of the conversations will be correlated and studied in Washington before any further equipment of consequence is made available. The State, War, and Navy Departments hope that information obtained will help guide the formulation of this Government’s policy regarding military relations with the other American republics in the post-war period.

It is a further objective of the staff conversations to secure agreement on the part of the armed forces of the other American republics to standardize their equipment on United States tables and to train their personnel according to United States standards.

El Salvador is included in the program of staff conversations in order that that country may be treated on a basis of equality with the larger American republics. In addition, as mentioned above, it is desirable for the United States to know the post-war military plans of El Salvador, to obtain its agreement on standardization, to influence Salvadoran military development through the medium of standardization and the Military Mission, and to integrate the Salvadoran armed forces into a multilateral system of hemisphere defense.

In these circumstances the Department does not believe that the agenda prepared by General Brett is detrimental to United States [Page 1065] interest. The agenda was prepared with the general considerations outlined above in mind and in light of the fact that staff conversations have been arranged or held with all the American republics except Argentina. All these republics, except Costa Rica, where a shortened agenda was submitted, have received, or will receive, printed agenda similar to that prepared for El Salvador. The Ambassador may, however, find it advisable to emphasize to the Salvador an representatives on all suitable occasions the preliminary and exploratory nature of the conversations as well as the fact that they will involve no commitments on the part of either participating Government. Emphasis should be placed upon the technical aspects of hemisphere defense as the objective, and it is of course important to avoid any indication of a desire to increase Salvadoran armed forces as such.

With these precautions the Department believes that the staff conversations with El Salvador may be conducted without adverse political effects and will result in the attainment of the objectives which are being sought. It will no doubt be desirable for you to clarify these matters with the Army and Navy representatives before the conversations open, as well as give them any special guidance you believe desirable concerning the political aspects of the situation in El Salvador.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
A. M. Warren

[There is additional documentation on measures of military cooperation between El Salvador and the United States in files 810.20 Defense and 816.20 Missions.]

  1. Copies of this instruction were enclosed, on the same date, in instruction No. 29 to Costa Rica, No. 909 to Guatemala, No. 1938 to Honduras, and No. 1548 to Nicaragua (none printed), to answer questions raised by these missions similar to those presented by Ambassador Simmons.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For documentation concerning the combat participation of Brazil and Mexico, see pp. 600 ff., and pp. 1109 ff., respectively.
  4. Agreement between the United States and other American Republics respecting reciprocal assistance and American solidarity, contained in the Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, signed at Mexico City, March 8, 1945. For documentation concerning this agreement and Conference, see pp. 1 ff. For text of agreement, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 1543, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1831.