833.00N/39: Telegram

The Minister in Uruguay ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State

84. For the Secretary and Under Secretary. Guani2 asked me to call on him this noon and told me the following:

Last night he received a telegram from his Minister at Berlin2a reporting that he had been called to the Foreign Office by Weizsaecker3 and informed of the receipt of advice from Montevideo that the Uruguayan Government was preparing the way to break off diplomatic relations with Germany. Guani had immediately instructed the Minister to inform the German Foreign Office that the report was wholly without foundation and that the policy of the Uruguayan Government was one of strict neutrality. Guani then told me that he had sent for the German Minister3a this morning, informed him of the report from the Uruguayan Minister at Berlin, and asked him pointblank if he had sent such advice to his Government. The German Minister replied in the negative, but went on to say that he had informed his Government concerning the searching of homes and business premises belonging to Germans in Uruguay and the rough methods employed by the police in connection with the present investigation into Nazi activities here.

Guani had replied that the searches were being made in conformity with the constitution and laws; that he knew nothing about rough methods of the police but would at once request the Minister of the Interior to see that the searches were conducted properly. He had [Page 1149] asked the German Minister if the latter knew that the police had just found 80 automatic rifles in the house of a Nazi sympathizer in the suburbs of Montevideo. The Minister replied that the owner was a Pole, not a German.

Guani told me that he thought it possible that the German Government, aware that the investigation might result in startling disclosures, was seeking a pretext to break off relations with Uruguay, and that the German Government might soon make a formal protest against these searches.

He said that he considered that the Uruguayan Government which possesses information indicating subversive activities in the country, is justified in exercising the legal right to search premises of people suspected of such activities; and in such case the Uruguayan Government would be justified in refusing to admit the right of a foreign government to protest against such searches. He said that he would appreciate greatly knowing your opinion as soon as possible regarding these points. He also intends to inquire of the Argentine Government and the Brazilian Government.

He added that his idea was that if the German Government should make a protest, he would reply refuting their arguments and declining to receive the protest; and if they then repeated the protest the Uruguayan Government would give the German Minister his passports.

  1. Alberto Guani, Uruguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Virgilio Sampognaro.
  3. Ernst, Baron von Weizsäcker, State Secretary of the German Foreign Ministry.
  4. Otto Langmann.