File No. 763.72/7097
The Department of State to the British, French, and Italian Embassies
The Department of State was informed in the month of August that the Government of Uruguay regarded as most unfortunate the attitude which had been assumed by certain of the diplomatic representatives of the Entente Allied powers at Montevideo, and felt that their efforts to induce the Uruguayan Government to rescind its decree of neutrality in favor of their respective countries, in order that their war vessels might make use of Uruguayan ports, were uncalled for at this time. The Government of the United States considered that the friendly attitude which Uruguay had shown to the cause of the United States and of the Entente Allies was of such a cordial nature and based upon such high principles that it hoped that nothing would occur which might force Uruguay to change her position.
The Government of the United States, therefore, instructed its Ambassadors in London and Paris to bring these facts to the attention of the respective Chanceries of Great Britain and France, with the suggestion that directions might be sent to the representatives [Page 337] of these powers in Montevideo in order that their efforts with the Uruguayan Government, along the above-mentioned lines, might be terminated or postponed until a later date.
The Government of the United States has received information to the effect that the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, in conversations with the American Minister, had intimated that an understanding might be reached with the Governments of Great Britain, France, and Italy in regard to the settlement of the differences between Uruguay and these nations in the form of arbitration treaties, the Minister for Foreign Affairs taking the position that Uruguay in the past had not received that treatment from European countries to which she considered herself entitled.
The American Minister received the impression that the Government of Uruguay desired to assume a more favorable attitude toward the Entente Allied Governments, but that it was first greatly desirous of receiving assurances as to its treatment at their hands.
It now appears that His Britannic Majesty’s Minister at Montevideo has stated to the Government of Uruguay that he would endeavor to secure the agreement of his Government to the desired arbitration treaty, and that the representative of the French Republic has informed the Government of Uruguay that his Government was agreeable to the Uruguayan proposal, but that the Government of His Majesty, the King of Italy, was averse to entering into such an agreement with the Republic of Uruguay.
Under date of October 2 the American Minister at Montevideo cabled the Department of State that he had been informed in a confidential manner that certain factions in the Government of Uruguay were determined, in view of the attitude which certain of the Entente Allied powers had assumed in refusing to treat Uruguay with the consideration to which she believed herself entitled, to force Uruguay to be present at a congress of American neutrals which the President of Argentina is reported to be about to call. It is also reported that should Uruguay be present at the congress, she will give the above-mentioned reason as an explanation for her remaining neutral.
It appears also that Uruguay proposes making the following statement: That all the neutral countries of America should declare that they will not break relations with Germany until they are assured by the Entente Allied powers that the latter will not press any claims of their nationals or companies composed of their nationals against American countries, except in those cases where; there is ajdenial of justice.
It is also understood that the Uruguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs is to be interpellated in the Uruguayan House of Representatives [Page 338] in regard to Uruguay’s present international position, ana that if satisfactory arrangements can be agreed upon with the above-mentioned powers, he will do all in his power to bring about a more favorable attitude on the part of his Government.
On October 3 the American Minister at Montevideo cabled the Department of State that he had been informed that the Argentine Minister in Montevideo had advised the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, in a confidential manner, that the Argentine Government wished to call at Buenos Aires a congress of the neutral countries of Central and South America, excluding the United States.1 It appears that the object of the congress will be to create pressure in favor of peace and in case this is not obtained, to decide an attitude abandoning neutrality.
In his cable the Minister further reported that he had received an intimation from Uruguayan officials to the effect that the tendency toward neutrality in Uruguay was being fomented by the attitude of certain of the Entente Allied powers in not wishing to come to an agreement with Uruguay on matters which she considered affected her sovereignty.
The foregoing information is communicated to the representatives of Great Britain, France, and Italy, in Washington, as of particular interest at this time, and the Government of the United States feels that on account of the importance of the friendly attitude of Uruguay it would be of great service to the cause of the United States and the other nations which are at present aligned against the Imperial German Government, should the contemplated action on the part of certain factions in Uruguay be avoided.
- Telegram not printed.↩