811.3310/1605½: Telegram

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

90. For the Secretary and Under Secretary. Ambassador Armour,4a who is now here, and I are in accord in submitting the following suggestion for your consideration:

That if the situation in the Far East permits, a large United States naval force, 40 or 50 vessels, should make a visit as soon as possible to the east coast of South America. During this visit the fleet would be reviewed by the Presidents of the countries in question. At the conclusion of the visits a squadron composed of, say, a battleship, an aircraft carrier, cruisers, destroyers and submarines, would be stationed for an indefinite period in these waters.

Our thought in making this proposal is the following: (a) The Governments of these countries desire to oppose Nazism, but in some instances are inclining towards defeatism in view of German successes in Europe and of lack of confidence in the ability of the United States to give them effective assistance in case of aggression either from overseas or from subversive elements with Nazi support within their own countries. This lack of confidence has perhaps in part been due to the feeling that recent proposals for armament increases in the United States indicate that the United States will not for some time be in a position to lend effective aid; (b) a naval visit of the character described would strengthen the position of those who desire to combat Nazism, as well as restore the confidence of those who are now wavering; (c) the stationing of a squadron more or less permanently in these waters would be an added assurance that we were prepared to give effective and immediate assistance if required.

We of course do not know what the views of the Governments of these countries would be to the foregoing proposal. It would seem, “however, to be in their obvious interest to agree.

  1. Norman Armour, American Ambassador in Argentina.