740.0011 European War, 1939/10113: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Argentina (Armour)3

From time to time the suggestion has been advanced that the American republics might address a collective statement to the Spanish [Page 47] Government urging upon that Government the desirability of its taking no steps calculated to extend the scope of the present European war. The principal objective of these proposals has been to endeavor to have Spain refrain from actively assisting the Axis powers. For a number of reasons it has never appeared to this Government that such a collective statement would serve a useful purpose.

In view of the favorable attitude of other American Republics toward the foregoing suggestion in the past, however, and having regard to present circumstances, you are requested in your discretion to invite the attention of the Argentine Foreign Minister to the possibility that his Government might wish to consider an individual approach, upon its own initiative, to the Spanish Government at this time. We do not feel that such action would have any beneficial effect if taken by us, or upon the initiative of this Government, but it is believed that if taken individually by other American republics upon their own initiative it might be helpful.

It is believed that the approach might take the form of an informal representation to the Government of Spain to the general effect that Argentina, conscious of its racial and cultural bonds with Spain, desires to take this opportunity of emphasizing its own adherence to the principles of peace and mutual respect for sovereignty between nations and its hope that Spain in the present circumstances will do nothing to depart from them. The proposed message might well be concluded with a concrete expression of hope that the Spanish Government will continue to avoid involvement in the present war and to maintain its sovereignty and independence.

A similar telegram is being sent to our missions in Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, and Chile. Ambassador Caffery is also being asked to explain this situation to the Brazilian Foreign Minister with a view to enlisting his cooperation.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, on the same date to Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. A similar telegram was also sent as No. 68, on the same date, to the Chargé in Ecuador with the following additional paragraph:

    “In discussing this question with Dr. Tobar, please emphasize the Department’s awareness of Dr. Tobar’s very great interest in this matter as well as of the constructive thought which he has devoted to it.”

    Julio Tobar Donoso was Ecuadoran Minister for Foreign Affairs.