740.00111 A.R./1107: Telegram

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

149. Referring to the Embassy’s telegrams numbers 138, May 12, 9 p.m., and 142, May 14, 7 p.m.2 President Ortiz issued the following statement to the press on May 18:

“The President of the Nation confirms the statement contained in his message to Congress at the opening of the present parliamentary term, which defined Argentina’s international position in relation to European events. He declares that the meaning attributed to a communiqué issued by the Argentine Foreign Ministry coinciding with the views expressed in the message is groundless and tendentious. The Government has not taken any step which, directly or indirectly, may place the Republic in an equivocal position. It has merely adopted a prudent and necessary attitude to safeguard our integrity and sovereignty, and without any object save the defense of the nation’s present and future interests. The Government therefore maintains the strictest impartiality and asks the Foreign Minister to keep calm, and be prepared against any and every perturbing action which may assist the objectives sought by the nations at war. In consequence, and seeking to protect the country’s international prestige, the authorities will severely repress all actions which may compromise the attitude adopted.”

The foregoing statement of policy, which marks a withdrawal from the position outlined in the communiqué of the Minister for Foreign Affairs referred to, was apparently deemed necessary because of criticism from politically potent domestic quarters, which took the form of accusations that the Government was needlessly exposing the country to the danger of war in advocating other than a policy of strict neutrality.

  1. Latter not printed.