740.00111 A.R./1039: Telegram

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

133. The Foreign Minister telephoned me last night and called to my attention a telegram which had just been brought to his attention by the Associated Press bearing a New York dateline, to the effect that they had learned from reliable sources in Washington that the Argentine Government has been sounding out the State Department as to the possibility of modifying the American Republic’s neutral status to one of non-belligerence, implying that this would permit Argentina to assume a “Mussolinian” attitude as a non-belligerent ally on either side in war. The telegram stated that they were unable to publish the story in the United States as Washington sources were unwilling to give their support.

Dr. Cantilo stated that for background purposes he had admitted to the Associated Press correspondent that he had had informal talks with me as to what he felt was the need of the American Republics to revise their neutrality in order to make it more flexible and more active. After talking with President Ortiz, however, he had informed the Associated Press that neither he nor the President wished the telegram received from the United States to be published here and that if it were published, the President was prepared to deny it. The Associated Press has so informed its New York office which, however, is still pressing for some form of statement from him.

Dr. Cantilo states that the President is much disturbed and at a loss to understand from what source the information could have been secured. A report is being requested from the Argentine Embassy at Washington.

[Page 762]

It is fully understood at the Foreign Office here that today’s news from Europe renders it doubly important that the matter should be handled with the greatest care.

Full report by air mail despatch today.93

  1. Despatch No. 661, May 10, not printed.