740.0011 European War 1939/17616: Telegram

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

1492. Reference Embassy’s telegram 1471, December 16, 8 p.m.15 Following Cabinet meeting last evening the Acting President issued following decree proclaiming state of siege throughout the country:

“Whereas the gravity of the international situation imposes upon the Executive Power the obligation to take all measures tending to strengthen the moral unity of the nation in order to be able to maintain fully and effectively the position adopted with regard to the war, it is necessary to this end to suppress all activity tending to increase the passions aroused by the war which in disturbing public order may endanger public tranquility by subversive appeals or undesirable means of expression. The international undertaking accepted by the Republic in the latest Pan American Conferences impose furthermore as a safeguard to neutrality and continental defense a series of measures which cannot be carried out with the necessary thoroughness within the limits of the constitutional guarantees created for normal times. The suspension of certain guarantees of this kind may be decided upon as a preventive measure as sanctioned by law and doctrine, [Page 63] since its very announcement may have the effect of preventing agitation which might lead to the disturbance of public order. On this occasion the Executive Power reaffirms its decision that the state of siege shall not exclude lawful activities relating to labor or the exercise of other rights carried out in conformity with the laws.

Wherefore in exercise of the authority conferred by Articles 23 and 86, Paragraph 19 of the National Constitution, the Vice President of the Argentine Nation, exercising the Executive Power by general ministerial resolution decrees:

  • Article 1. A state of siege is declared in all the territory of the Republic.
  • Article 2. Let account be given in due course to the honorable Congress.
  • Article 3. The necessary instructions for the execution of the present decree will be issued by the Minister of the Interior.
  • Article 4. Let this be communicated et cetera.”

The decree is signed by the Acting President and all the Ministers of the Government.

Following the issuance of the decree last evening the Chief of Police warned all newspapers that they should “abstain from commenting upon the measure taken by the Executive Power, as well as from all tendencious discussion of the international situation and the publication of anything that might disturb internal political tranquility”.

  1. Not printed.