810.20 Defense/368: Telegram

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

274. It would be a mistake, in my judgment, to interpret the recent Senate debate as a check to the Government’s policy of cooperation in continental defense.

That policy was not at issue during the debate. For the Nationalists it was merely a question of domestic politics, another brush before the inevitable battle that some day must take place over constitutional reform. It also became, to some extent, through inept handling by the Government, a debate on the unreal question of whether Uruguay should expend vast sums of money on the construction of naval bases. Opinion has been allowed to become needlessly concerned on this point.

The first motion voted by the Senate will be found on analysis to be without practical significance: no one in good faith ever believed, and the Nationalists so admitted in the debate, that the Government intended to make a treaty alienating territory or affecting sovereignty. The second motion related solely to a personal question between the Senate and Guani.

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The Nazis and Falangistas may seek to derive some temporary comfort from the superficial aspects of this debate. I believe, however, that the Government’s policy of cooperation with the United States and other American countries in every appropriate way in questions of continental defense has not been affected by the debate, and moreover that this policy continues to have widespread popular support.