835.796/152: Telegram

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

788. Department’s 491. With regard to additional Condor service as mentioned in Embassy’s telegram No. 756, July 23, 5 p.m., Condor [Page 339] informed Intava that such service was intended as extension of new Lati service to Buenos Aires. Intava understands that this second Condor service to Santiago will be suspended if Lati is forced to suspend service to Buenos Aires which appears likely if gasoline can be withheld locally.

With regard to probable reconnaissance flights by Condor between Brazil and Argentina as mentioned in Embassy’s telegram No. 763, July 24, 6 p.m.,37 the Condor plane from Brazil on July 27 was 2 hours late in arriving in Buenos Aires where it was met by German Ambassador under suspicious circumstances. It seems possible that plane was endeavoring to observe British auxiliary cruiser Puocantara which arrived in Buenos Aires yesterday. It is suggested that one way of restricting these reconnaissance flights would be through British protests to the Argentine and Brazilian Governments which in turn could assign observers and impose penalties on Condor for unexplained delays.

As mentioned in Embassy’s telegram No. 778, July 30, 6 p.m., the situation concerning aviation, large proportion in Argentina is fairly well under control considering that Condor is not given more than 1 month’s supply and Lati is now being refused altogether. With regard to complete stoppage of local Intava sales to Condor, Intava says that Standard Oil of Brazil has a contract expiring March 1942 to supply Condor in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, and that any attempt to cut off Condor entirely might have complications in Brazil. At the same time Intava admit that the key to the whole problem is in Brazil which is more dependent on imports for its petroleum supplies.

Y.P.F. in Argentina apparently can spare No. 87 octane gasoline to any commercial airline. However it is questionable whether Argentina would look with favor upon Intava’s refusal to sell any gasoline to Condor in this country, and in such event Y.P.F. might endeavor to supply Condor with 73 or 80 octane grades. I understand that there is still some mystery as to the existence of the alleged chemical tablets used by the Germans to improve octane rating of lower grade gasoline.

Intava estimates that Lati has sufficient gasoline in Brazil to operate for 2 to 3 months.

Repeated to Rio de Janeiro.

  1. Not printed.