810.20 Defense/5–2340: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Argentina (Armour)29

76. Personal for the Chief of Mission. Please call as soon as possible upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs and inform him that in view of the critical turn which has taken place in the European war,30 the Government of the United States has reached the conclusion that it would be in the interest of all of the American Republics from the standpoint of continental security and of continental self-defense if [Page 17] secret conversations could be undertaken between the military and naval authorities of the respective republics with a view to coordination of effort in the event that any act of aggression is actually undertaken against any portion of the Western Hemisphere. You should be sure to make it very clear that in the suggestion above made, there is no implication of any military alliance, of any military or naval commitments or any indication that the United States itself believes that its own participation in any hostilities is imminent. You should emphasize the fact that the suggestion is nothing more than the indication that this Government believes that the world situation has become increasingly dangerous and that it would, therefore, seem to be the part of wisdom on the part of the American Republics to determine what part each one would play in the event that they were obliged to repel aggression against the peace of the New World and thus avoid confusion and duplication of effort in the event that an emergency arises.

If the Government to which you are accredited shares the opinions above expressed, this Government believes that the most expeditious procedure would be for appropriate officers of the United States to travel in civilian clothes and by commercial plane and without publicity of any kind or description to Argentina and there hold, under your auspices, private conversations with officers designated for that purpose by the Government of Argentina.

In conclusion please emphasize the need for complete secrecy with regard to this communication.

Please telegraph the reply which may be made to your inquiry.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, on the same date to Brazil as No. 131, to Chile as No. 84, to Colombia as No. 84, to Ecuador as No. 46, to Peru as No. 47, to Uruguay as No. 39, and to Venezuela as No. 50. Similar telegrams to the Minister in Haiti, as No. 77 and to Minister in the Dominican Republic as No. 61, both dated May 29, 3 p.m., differed only in that the call was to be made upon the respective Presidents rather than on the Ministers for Foreign Affairs. Similar telegrams sent on June 3, 3 p.m. to Costa Rica as No. 40, to El Salvador as No. 19, to Guatemala as No. 38, to Honduras as No. 18, and to Nicaragua as No. 39, contained in addition the substance of telegram No. 85, June 3, 3 p.m., to the Ambassador in Argentina, infra.
  2. For correspondence on the invasion of France by Germany and the collapse of French resistance, see vol. i, pp. 217 ff.