Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

Participants: Argentine Ambassador, Sr. Don Felipe A. Espil;
Colombian Ambassador, Sr. Dr. Gabriel Turbay;
Brazilian Ambassador, Mr. Carlos Martins;
Mexican Ambassador, Sr. Dr. Don Francisco Castillo Nájera;
Chilean Chargé d’Affaires, Sr. Don Guillermo Gazitúa;
Under Secretary, Mr. Welles.

I saw this afternoon the Argentine, Colombian, Brazilian, and Mexican Ambassadors, and the Counselor of the Chilean Embassy in the absence of the Ambassador.

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I gave them copies of the draft resolution which this Government intends to offer at the next extraordinary meeting of the inter-American Economic and Financial Advisory Committee, and advised them that the full text was being communicated to all of the American Governments in order that this Government might receive the views and suggestions of the other Governments of this Hemisphere.

I impressed upon them all my belief that in the interest of continental solidarity it was most desirable that this very important problem be settled by unanimous agreement at the earliest possible moment and said that I trusted this could be achieved before the meeting on April 22. I said that if the matter dragged on in open discussions of a controversial character, Axis propagandists would of course avail themselves with glee of such an opportunity, and I felt sure the result would be highly detrimental to every one of the American countries. I said I believed that the draft offered for their consideration harmonized with the various conflicting viewpoints and I earnestly hoped it would receive the approval of their Governments.

All of the Ambassadors expressed their own personal approval of the draft, but the Argentine and Brazilian Ambassadors said they felt the real difficulty from the standpoint of their Governments was to find out whether the British Government would withdraw its present objection to the utilization by their countries of these ships.

I said that obviously it was the purpose of this Government to use the ships in its own ports in such a way as to promote the interests of inter-American trade and the interest of assistance to Great Britain, to which, of course, we were completely committed. I said that under these conditions it seemed to me probable that the British Government would adopt a reasonable and friendly attitude in the matter and that it seemed to me more than likely that the British Government would negotiate a satisfactory agreement on this point with each of the Governments concerned. I said that this Government, of course, would make every endeavor to have a satisfactory solution of this point reached.

S[umner] W[elles]