File No. 703.72/7097

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Uruguay ( Jeffery )


Your October 2, 7 p.m.,2 and October 3, 8 p.m.3 Very careful consideration has been given by the Government of the United States to statement of Uruguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs and to the contents of his confidential memorandum.3

This Government, although quite understanding the position of the Government of Uruguay as expressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in relation to his desire to see Uruguay treated by all nations in strict accord with the applied principles of international [Page 339] law, could not but experience a feeling of great surprise, if not embarrassment, in learning that at this particular moment one of the most advanced and important of the American nations should raise such a conditional issue; as it had, upholding the Pan-American ideal, expressed its adherence to the principles enunciated by the United States in the present war against the German Government, which principles are also shared by the Entente Allied powers.

Although imbued with these feelings this Government, in a desire to aid in the just settlement of any differences of opinion between Uruguay and other nations, did not hesitate to bring the substance of the statements contained in the above-mentioned cablegrams to the attention of the representatives of Great Britain, France, and Italy, stating that the matter was presented to them merely for their information. It was added that the United States desired to make no comment thereupon, in view of the fact that such an advanced and highly placed member of the family of nations as Uruguay could only act with that justice and nobility of purpose which has always characterized it, and for which reasons the United States has always been rightly proud of its friendship.

Department’s October 1, 5 p.m. Under date October 4 Department has received a confidential cablegram from Ambassador at Rome,1 stating that he had discussed the matter with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy, who stated that he could not sustain the position should he agree to exclude from arbitration whatever Uruguay might consider withdrawn therefrom by her laws and decisions. After considerable discussion he said he was willing to negotiate the arbitration treaty; first, on either original terms proposed by Italy and agreed to by representatives of Uruguayan Government, terms identical with those in Italian treaty with Argentine and other South American Republics, or, secondly, on terms contained in United States arbitration treaty with Uruguay. This last, the Ambassador states, he seemed to believe would be accepted by Uruguay, if this solution suggested by United States. The Ambassador understood Minister for Foreign Affairs desired that case of ship Maria Madre was to be settled separately, although Ambassador believes position on this might have been changed.

Department wishes you to exercise your judgment in making use of information contained in this cablegram. Before taking any action you should ascertain whether Italian Minister has made further representations or has presented views of his Government, as outlined in Ambassador Page’s telegram to Department. Should any further information be received through Italian Ambassador in Washington, you will be informed immediately.

  1. Ante, p. 334.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.