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

Participants: Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Enrique Ruiz-Guiñazú; Argentine Ambassador, Señor Don Felipe A. Espil; the Under Secretary, Mr. Welles.

The Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs, accompanied by the Argentine Ambassador, called upon me this morning.

After the usual interchange of compliments—in this case somewhat prolonged—the Minister said that he had been greatly pleased with the publication of the announcement of the hearings for a trade agreement between our two countries.24

I said that in my judgment this was of historical importance since, as the Minister well knew, it was almost ninety years since a commercial treaty had been negotiated between the two countries, and I felt that in this sense it matched in importance the visit made to [Page 400] Washington by the Minister since it was the first visit paid to this country by an Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs. I said I hoped and believed that these two events of such great significance marked the commencement of a new and ever-increasingly close relationship between our two countries which I felt confident was in the best interest of our two peoples. I said I was equally sure that the Minister in his new office would be of the greatest service in furthering that desirable objective. To this the Minister heartily replied in the affirmative.

I touched briefly upon the Tierra del Fuego sanitary issue25 and I said that the matter was now being given the most careful consideration by the interested departments of this Government and that I trusted that a decision—which I hoped would be favorable—might be had before the Minister’s departure.

I also explained to the Minister and to the Ambassador the reasons for the exclusion of South American bids by the OPM26 from the bids requested for quantities of corned beef hash for national defense purposes. I said that Argentine meat was not excluded but that tinned Argentine beef would be purchased, and it was only because we desired to utilize our own potatoes in the manufacture of the corned beef hash to be made up that tinned corned beef hash was going to be purchased solely from United States bidders.

[The remainder of this memorandum is concerned with the boundary dispute between Ecuador and Peru (see pages 212 ff.) and with a conversation the Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs had some months earlier with Pope Pius XII.]

S[umner] W[elles]

[There is considerable correspondence in the files of the Department relating to further negotiations for a trade agreement with Argentina. These negotiations, however, for the most part dealt with details, principally as to the schedules of concessions.]

  1. The Secretary of State issued formal notice of intention to negotiate a trade agreement with Argentina on May 13, 1941; see Department of State Bulletin, May 17, 1941, p. 576.
  2. This issue concerned the embargo on meat entering the United States from Argentina because of animal disease in a particular area of the country; see unperfected sanitary convention between the United States and Argentina, signed May 24, 1935, Foreign Relations, 1935, Vol. iv, p. 296; see also ibid., 1940, Vol. v, pp. 508 ff.
  3. Office of Production Management.