The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Herrick )

No. 2322

Sir: The Department has been informed by Mr. C. S. McNeir, Washington representative of the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut, that his principals have virtually succeeded in obtaining a contract for the construction of three submarines for the Argentine Government. There was strong competition for this business from firms in certain other countries and it is understood that considerable influence was used in their behalf, but the Department was able, through the Embassy at Buenos Aires, to obtain due consideration for the bid of the American company.

It now appears that by the terms of the contract the submarines are to be built in France under American patents, and that the matter has reached the point where it is necessary for the Electric Boat Company to come to an agreement with the Argentine Government [Page 433] as to the French yard which is to carry out the construction. The first yard selected by the Electric Boat Company has been rejected on account of alleged lack of experience in the construction of submarines, and it is confidentially stated by Mr. McNeir that the French Government is making recommendations to the Argentine Government as to the yard to be employed.

In this situation the Electric Boat Company has instructed its Paris representative, Captain Paul Koster, that it may ultimately be necessary to enlist the support of the French Government with regard to some yard which is considered satisfactory to the company, and has advised him to consult you when that time comes. Should he do so, you are authorized to render him such assistance as may be consistently possible through informal representations to the appropriate French authorities.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Francis White