710.Consultation (2)/457

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

No. 955

Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s telegram no. 294 of July 13, 1 p.m. and its despatch no. 951 of July 16,62 as well as previous despatches, reporting German propaganda in Argentina hostile to the [Page 805] United States, I have the honor to enclose a translation of the first page of the daily news bulletin of the German Embassy here for July 10 last, which criticizes the Monroe Doctrine. As the Embassy has noted in previous communications, these bulletins appear under German Embassy letter-heads and purport to be “official news received by cable from Berlin”.

Respectfully yours,

Norman Armour

Press Release by the German Embassy in Argentina, July 10, 1940

The Monroe Doctrine

In connection with the military preparations of British warships against the French island Martinique63 in Central America [sic] and with the publication of the reply of the Government of the Reich to the note of the United States regarding the interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine,64 statements were made in Washington65 and Hyde Park which could not be understood even by those who are well acquainted with American opinions. It is now being pointed out that the occupation of French colonies in America by British forces does not necessarily imply a change of sovereignty. A difference is also being made now between the real transfer of territorial property and political intervention. It is finally declared that all the American nations should gather information relative to British measures against Martinique since the United States does not wish to assume responsibility regarding those possessions. For the first time there arises in Washington in this respect the idea of allocating American possessions of European powers in the form of mandates.

On top of this, the statements made by competent American sources also refer to the possibility of a new territorial order in Asia. Roosevelt’s secretary said that this matter in the sense of an Asiatic Monroe Doctrine should be discussed exclusively by Asiatic countries. It is not easy to form an accurate idea of the present trend of the American policy based on this number of new and disconcerting versions. Is this supposed to be a new generous distribution of the world, for which Washington accepts as a “fait accompli” the defeat of the British Empire and the future status of France? Do the governments of Australia, The Netherland Indies and French Indo-China react against that attitude? Has approval from London been obtained or is this an independent act of American policy? Or do the speakers [Page 806] consider themselves as interpreters of the President’s personal opinion? Is it a non-transparent electoral maneuver? As long as these questions remain unanswered, the countries directly affected by the statements referred to will continue to feel confused and in doubt. At present all that can be said with certainty is that the reply of the Government of the Reich has created a great impression in the United States, and it shows that in addressing its note to Berlin the American Government did not consider the possibility that territorial changes in the Western Hemisphere might turn into serious problems, particularly between France and England.

Finally, the indecision with which Washington observes the British greediness, allowing the Martinique problem to approach a state which every day can assume the nature of the butchery which took place in Oran,66 has caused uneasiness in Latin American countries. Evidently at the latter’s initiative the problem of the transfer of possessions assumes in Washington the importance of a question of Pan American significance. The future development of this question awakens all the more interest, inasmuch as the spirit of a doctrine lies in the unalterability of principles once they are adopted.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. See Vol. ii, pp. 505 ff.
  3. See telegram No. 1652, June 17, 11 a.m., to the Chargé in Germany, and reply No. 2293, July 2, 5 p.m., Vol. ii, pp. 494 and 495, respectively.
  4. See statement by the Secretary of State released July 5, Department of State Bulletin, July 6, 1940, p. 3.
  5. For correspondence regarding the attack by a British fleet upon French warships at Mers-el-Kebir near Oran, Algeria, July 3, 1940, see Vol. ii, pp. 469474.