835.34/409: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Argentina (Jay)


41. Referring to your telegram No. 63 of September 11, 9 a.m., and particularly to the statements concerning American bids which were made to you by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, I now understand that the Government of Argentina is on the point of awarding contracts for the construction of two destroyers, three submarines, and two cruisers amounting in all to about 12½ million dollars, and that a new program for 95 million dollars is also contemplated. I am informed that heretofore most of this work has been done for Argentina by the Bethlehem Steel and Shipbuilding Company and in an entirely satisfactory manner. I am further informed that it is not the intention of the Government of Argentina to give any opportunity to that company or to other American shipbuilders to bid, but that business is being carried on with Italy, England, and France exclusively. Because of the attitude which I have always taken in not raising objection to and, as a matter of fact, in encouraging American bankers to lend money to Argentina, and because of the relations which exist between the two Governments, I feel very strongly that [Page 426] Argentina should grant American shipbuilders an equal opportunity to bid on and receive these contracts. Kindly present this subject informally, but in no uncertain terms, to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and any other authorities you deem best.