611.3531/1555: Telegram

The Ambassador in Argentina (Armour) to the Acting Secretary of State12

305. Embassy’s telegram 284 of July 8, 6 p.m., and previous messages regarding the prospective visit of Hawkins and Luthringer to Argentina.

There is reason to believe that the political developments summarized in despatch 935 of July 12 and telegram 295 of July 13, 4 p.m.13 have given rise to so much uncertainty that the officers responsible for the suggestions forwarded in the Embassy’s telegram 229 of June 17, 11 a.m. are not at present in a position to pursue any definite course and it is thought quite possible that important changes in policy and possibly in the Cabinet may take place before the plans with respect to the above visit could be carried out. In expressing his agreement to the proposal of the departure of Hawkins and Luthringer suggested by the Department’s telegram 139 of July 6, 4 p.m., the Minister of Foreign Affairs said there would of course be no objection since the original proposal had been ours. The Minister’s mistaken impression in this regard was corrected immediately. Subsequently Dr. Prebisch, the General Manager of the Central Bank took occasion in writing to a member of the staff on another subject to disavow any responsibility for the proposal saying that he had not suggested that someone [Page 472]be sent but that he merely had expressed without hesitation preference for an official from the United States to come to Argentina rather than to have someone go up from here. He added that while he would consider such a visit useful he felt that he was not the proper official to make the suggestion for the Government.

I am satisfied that the Embassy’s telegram 229 of June 17, 11 a.m. correctly reported the statements made by the Central Bank officials at that time, and that the apparent desire now to avoid responsibility for having initiated this plan is due chiefly to the extreme uncertainty now existing in the domestic political field.

In view of the important changes in the situation it is suggested that the Department may wish to hold the plan in abeyance until the situation has clarified, and that the conversations contemplated be deferred until there is evidence once more of a genuine desire to have them and such a desire is clearly expressed in writing by competent officials here. As the Department is aware there have been persistent rumors of impending changes in the Cabinet. If there is a change in the Ministry of Finance it is possible that the new incumbent might prefer to send a representative to the United States, particularly if the choice falls upon either Pinedo or Hueyo,14 two names now prominently mentioned.

Armour
  1. The Secretary of State was at Habana for the Second Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics.
  2. Neither printed. Reference is to the political situation in Argentina caused by the resignation, due to ill health, of President Roberto M. Ortíz which occurred on July 4, 1940.
  3. Ernesto Hueyo, President of the Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires.