710.H Agenda/33

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Argentine Ambassador3 called to see me this morning.

The Ambassador gave me to read a telegram which he had just received from his Foreign Office conveying a message from Dr. Cantilo,4 the new Argentine Foreign Minister, who is still in Rome. Dr. Cantilo has raised the question whether in view of the difficult situation Argentina found herself in at the Buenos Aires Conference because of the activities of Dr. Saavedra Lamas,5 because of the disturbed world situation and because of the fact that certain American nations were going to bring up at the Lima Conference such highly controversial subjects as the proposed Inter-American Court, it would not be preferable to have the Lima Conference postponed for at least one or two years. He requested that the views of this Government be obtained with regard to his suggestion.

Before I had an opportunity of replying the Ambassador said that of course he knew that the Conference could not be postponed not only because of the fact that the great majority of the American nations wanted the Conference held next December but also because the Government of Peru was particularly anxious to have it held for domestic as well as for inter-American reasons. I said to the Ambassador that my own view and that of this Government coincided with that which he had himself expressed. I did not see that there was any valid ground for postponement and that it seemed to me a very healthy thing to have the Conference held when the world situation was disturbed. I felt that the closer the contacts and relations between the several American governments might be at the present time the better for the whole hemisphere.

The Ambassador asked if this Government intended to propose any far-reaching or fundamental projects at the Conference. I said that up to the present time no such intentions had been determined upon by this Government and that while, of course, I could make no commitment in view of the long time still to elapse before the Conference assembled, it would seem to me probable that the matters in which this Government was particularly interested and which it would desire to take up at the Conference were predominantly questions of a technical and scientific character rather than of a political nature.

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S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Felipe A. Espil.
  2. José María Cantilo.
  3. Carlos Saavedra Lamas, ex-Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs; ex-President of the Chaco Peace Conference; see pp. 89 ff.