811.20 Defense M/2777: Telegram
The Chargé in Argentina (Tuck) to the Secretary of State
[Received 8:05 p.m.]
770. Reference Department’s telegram No. 378, June 23, 11 p.m.88 In the course of a conversation on July 22 between the Commercial Attaché of this Embassy89 and Cutts90 of the British Embassy it developed that the British have not yet acquainted the Argentine Government with their buying program.
I therefore called on the Brazilian [British] Ambassador91 yesterday to ascertain why his Embassy had not done so and to express my surprise that we had not been kept informed. I reminded him of our conversation early in July at which Hughes, Cutts, and Jerram (the British Commercial Attaché) were also present, at which it had been agreed that both Embassies should undertake not joint but concurrent discussions with the competent Argentine officials, who would also be informed that each Embassy had full knowledge of the other’s purchase program and was working in complete mutual agreement.
Sir Esmond Ovey said that following that meeting it had been decided, and he had so recommended to his Government, that it would be inadvisable to put forward a British buying program as such to the Argentine Government based on Britain’s minimum requirements, especially since the Argentine Government was well aware that the British would under any circumstances be obliged to spend between 30,000,000 to 40,000,000 pounds annually for their minimum requirements in Argentina. He therefore could not see what particular advantage could be derived from offering to this Government a definite buying program unless such a program was to be based on a “generous [Page 372] scale” and was to be offered in conjunction with ours, for the purpose of making a complete purchase of all Argentine surplus products. Sir Esmond did not explain that his Embassy had failed to keep us informed of this proposed course of action.
I informed the British Ambassador that it had been brought to our attention recently that the Argentine Government had been reported as viewing the United States purchase program, as presented, with a certain degree of indifference and regarded it as being incomplete since it contained no mention of meat or wheat.
While I presume that the Department may have been advised by the British Embassy in Washington of these developments I feel that the failure of the British here to present a buying program concurrently with ours has probably resulted in delaying action by the Argentine Government and threatens seriously to jeopardize the chances of success of our efforts.