611.3531/1610: Telegram

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

629. The Agricultural Attaché conferred on December 21 with Schiopetto, Director, Bureau Commerce and Industry, Argentine [Page 501] Ministry of Agriculture. With reference to the proposals transmitted to the Foreign Office on September 20 the latter stated that while Argentina wished to collaborate with the United States, Argentina, nevertheless, had a corn marketing “quota” in the English market and that the agreement might mean merely a sharing of this quota with the United States. It was explained that a sharing of the entire English market was involved but not an Argentine quota or outlet in that market. During the conversation it became evident that England is free to buy where it wishes and the Use of the term quota implying an assured outlet is not justified. Schiopetto observed also that lard and pork were meat products and could hardly be construed as corn in computing relative positions and percentages of the United States and Argentina as corn exporters.

There follows a discussion of the workability of the proposed agreement since shipping considerations and allocation by the British shipping control of freight space seems to be the determining factor as to the amount and source of corn imports. In the absence of shipping parity f. o. b. prices in New York and Buenos Aires would probably have to be substituted for a c. i. f. Liverpool price.

As evidenced by the delay in replying to Embassy’s notes and by the conversation with Schiopetto the Argentine Government seems indifferent to the agreement but apparently does not wish to appear non-cooperative. Schiopetto has apparently given our proposal very little serious thought and promised to think it over in order to discuss the matter at a later date.

La Nación today has a despatch from London quoting the President of Manbre and Garton, sugar refiners, as stating that there is a supply of 5,000,000 tons of corn in South America which Great Britain needs but the import of which is rendered difficult by the scarcity of shipping space, and he complains that in recent months space has been filled by products less essential to Great Britain than corn.