810.20 Defense/8–1941: Telegram

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

854. Embassy’s telegram No. 849, August 18, 7 p.m.8 Minister for Foreign Affairs told me last night that after further consultation with the Ministers of War and Marine it has now [been?] decided to send [Page 326] a commission to the United States with authority to hold staff talks as well as to present the Government’s requirements for defense along the lines of our Government’s proposal submitted in my memorandum to him. The Minister appreciates our Government’s position that in making our proposal we had no intention of linking the two subjects or making one contingent upon the other but he feels that from the staff conversations which could take place first would logically emerge in clearer form Argentina’s requirements for defense material. It was his understanding that the staff talks would be kept within the general framework of the continental defense plans as envisaged in the Panama and Habana Conferences.10

It is my understanding that the commission will shortly be formed and be prepared to leave within the near future. The Minister hopes that the commission’s stay in the United States would not have to be prolonged, intimating that it would be difficult for certain of the officers, presumably of high rank, to be absent too long from their work here. In this connection the Department may want to consider discussing arrangements for a special plane to be placed at their disposal in the event that they fly up as I understand is now planned.

In view of the position taken by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in his earlier talks with me that staff conversations involved political questions which would require the intervention of the Argentine Ambassador in Washington, it may be that the Department will wish to suggest that Espil attend the staff conversations if he wishes to do so. In that event, presumably some representative of the State Department could also be present.

I was very much encouraged by the Minister’s general attitude and feel that the decision is to be interpreted as further evidence of the new change in spirit on the part of the Government in the direction of closer cooperation, which is daily becoming more apparent in all circles here.

  1. Not printed.
  2. See Report of the Delegated the United States of America to the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics Held at Panamá, September 23–October 3, 1989 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1940), and Second Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, Habana, July 21–80, 1940, Report of the Secretary of State (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1941). For correspondence concerning these Conferences, see Foreign Relations, 1939, vol. v, pp. 15 ff., and ibid., 1940, vol. v, pp. 180 ff., respectively.