Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

The Argentine Ambassador42 came in today to exchange views on the state of affairs generally.

He seemed to think that the British-American agreement regarding naval bases would be well received.43

In this connection he noted that one newspaper, the Washington Herald, had editorially wondered why we did not include a base in the Falkland Islands; and feared that that might lead to some repercussion in the Argentine press.

I said at once that we had recognized throughout the peculiar relationship of the Argentine Government to the Falkland Islands, and that to me it seemed preposterous that under existing circumstances we should endeavor to acquire a base there except after full discussion with Argentina. However, the question was purely hypothetical; the Falkland Islands, so far as I was aware, had not entered into the discussion at any time.

The Ambassador said he had not the slightest idea of that kind anyway, but merely asked the question in the event that some Argentine journalist should pick up the statement and try to make something of it.

At his request I gave him copies of the Hull–Lothian correspondence which had been released the day before.

The Argentine Ambassador observed that a new cabinet had at length been formed in Buenos Aires. I took the occasion to congratulate him on the successful outcome of his country from a political situation which at one time seemed difficult.

He said that Roca44 was very pro-British in his outlook; that he had a great reputation in the Argentine Congress; that his hobby was translating Shelley into Spanish; and that he was a great student and lover of English literature. He likewise said that the Secretary of the Navy45 was a convinced Argentine nationalist, and that he thought that his activities would be to reduce to some extent certain pro-German tendencies in the Navy.

A. A. Berle, Jr.
  1. Felipe A. Espil.
  2. See vol. iii, pp. 49 ff.
  3. Julio A. Roca, Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Rear Adm. Mario Fincati.