The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Argentina ( Weddell )
35. Your 66, March 18, 6 p.m. Strictly for your personal information, the Brazilian Government some time ago suggested to this Government that it would be interested in purchasing ten cruisers of the Omaha class over a period of 10 years, such cruisers to be sold by this Government at the rate of one or two each year as they might become available by replacement of newly constructed vessels.
In principle this Government would welcome any arrangement, such as that proposed, with one of the other American republics which would tend to encourage unification of naval standards between the United States Navy and the other navies of this continent. Any such arrangement, however, would only be entered into with the understanding that similar opportunities would be afforded to all of the other American republics should they desire to avail themselves of them. In the present instance, however, it would seem impossible to comply with the request made by the Brazilian Government, both because of the fact that the Navy Department does not believe that cruisers of the category indicated could be relinquished for some years to come, as well as because of the fact that the naval agreement [Page 300] now pending in London will contain a stipulation46 similar to the existing restriction whereby the disposal of naval vessels by the signatory powers in the manner suggested would be prohibited. While this restriction is a contingent prohibition, nevertheless, no steps could be taken by this Government in the manner suggested by the Brazilian Government, even if the cruisers could be relinquished, until after the first of next year.
In view of the circulation of these rumors in Argentine naval circles reported by you, you are authorized to state confidentially and informally that at the present time this Government is not considering the disposal of any naval vessels to any other Government.