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Memorandum for Assistant Chief of Staff, War Plans Division (Attention Colonel Ridgway)
December 27, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to the request of the President of Venezuela and the detail of Colonel Ridgway to that job:
It is very important that as quickly as possible we make further arrangements for the defense of Curacao and Aruba. It may be that Venezuela would permit us to station a few planes at Maracaibo or some other field in Venezuela that would permit an immediate improvement of the situation for the security of the two islands mentioned. We are trying to get the authority to put planes into Aruba; but it seems to me that if we can get some planes on the Venezuelan side we will be in a safer position.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. The president of Venezuela notified the State Department on December 26 that he wished to “recommence” the mutual security discussions that had been held in Caracas in August and September 1940. The negotiations were conducted between January 6 and 14 and a military cooperation agreement was signed on January 14, 1942. (These documents are in NA/RG 165 [WPD, 4361].) This provided for relatively free overflight and landing privileges for U.S. aircraft, but no military aircraft or uniformed personnel were stationed in Venezuela. In mid-January 1942, the Netherlands government gave permission for the stationing of six A-20 light bombers on Aruba and Curacao. On February 11, twenty-three hundred U.S. ground troops arrived in the islands and the British garrisons of fourteen hundred departed on the 14th. (Conn and Fairchild, Framework of Hemisphere Defense, pp. 263-64; Stetson Conn, Rose C. Engelman, and Byron Fairchild, Guarding the United States and Its Outposts, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1964], p. 415.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 40.