The Ambassador in Uruguay (Dawson) to the Secretary of State

No. 1183

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatches No. 479 of January 12 and No. 760 of March 23, 1942,1 concerning the question of the possible resumption of diplomatic relations between Uruguay and Soviet Russia. In the first despatch, I referred to newspaper reports to the effect that the Uruguayan Government was studying the possibility of resuming relations with Russia and I quoted Dr. Guani2 as stating that personally he thought the question should be given consideration in due course and that he had so informed the President. In my despatch No. 760 of March 23, I reported a conversation in which Dr. Guani told me that he had been urged to take steps looking to the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Russia and that he was in favor of such action but needed a suitable opportunity or pretext.

Labor organizations have for some time been strongly in favor of the resumption of relations with Russia and there is a growing demand for action in this direction on their part and on the part of Leftist groups. The movement is gathering momentum and on June 18 one of the leading opposition candidates for the Presidency, Dr. Eduardo Blanco Acevedo, came out in La Razón with a statement advocating resumption, expressing his admiration and sympathy for Russia, and asserting that he had been opposed to the breaking off of relations. La Razón has subsequently published interviews with several prominent citizens who take a similar stand.

As reported in my despatch No. 1181 of June 23,3 there was held last evening in the Ateneo of Montevideo a meeting to observe the anniversary of Germany’s aggression against Russia. The gathering was organized under the auspices of the “Comité Ruso pro-Patria”, made up principally of White Russians. In response to an invitation [Page 263]from the Committee, the British Minister4 and I had agreed to attend and to make brief remarks, it being understood that no attempt would be made by the organizers or the speakers to raise the question of the resumption of relations, since this might put us in an embarrassing position with the Uruguayan Government. At the time it was not anticipated that Dr. Guani would attend the gathering. He decided to attend at the last moment and obviously his presence gave the meeting quite a different aspect in so far as any embarrassment to the British Minister and me was concerned.

Dr. Guani received an ovation and as he took his place on the platform the crowd called vociferously for the resumption of relations. Subsequently, yielding to the demands of the audience, he made a very brief speech in which he referred appropriately to Russia’s magnificent resistance and stressed Uruguay’s consistent condemnation of aggression. Speaking very deliberately, he then remarked that he knew that the audience wished to hear from him on the subject of the resumption of relations. He stated that, while it is true that diplomatic relations are severed, his presence proved that there is no severance but rather a close union of ideals between Uruguay and the Russian people, as well as all other Democratic peoples. In order to bring out the full dramatic effect of his words, I find it necessary to give the Spanish text, which was substantially as follows:

“Si bien es cierto que hay ruptura de relaciones diplomáticas con Rusia, mi presencia aquí esta noche prueba que no hay ruptura”—

at these words, the audience interpreting them as meaning the resumption of relations, rose to its feet and applauded for several minutes. Dr. Guani then continued—

“mi presencia aquí esta noche prueba que no hay ruptura sino unión de ideales con el pueblo ruso y todos los pueblos democráticos.”

This morning I had occasion to see Dr. Guani and we naturally discussed last evening’s meeting. He said that, while he appreciates Russia’s role in the war and has every sympathy with the country in its present stand, he still has some misgivings on the score of communism and some apprehension as to Russia’s role after the war. He said, however, that the movement in favor of resumption is gaining in strength and that the question is of considerable political importance. Dr. Blanco Acevedo’s advocacy of resumption he attributes to vote-catching motives. Dr. Guani obviously considers resumption a distinct possibility, not to say a probability, and he remarked that, when the time came for action along these lines, Uruguay might request the good offices of the United States or of Great Britain as an intermediary. He intimated that Great Britain [Page 264]might perhaps be rather more indicated. From his remarks I did not gather that he has any personal preference for Great Britain but rather that he may feel that if the United States were to act as intermediary the impression might arise that Uruguay’s action in resuming relations was being taken at our suggestion. (Reference is made in this connection to my telegram No. 527 of June 23, 7 p.m.5)

Respectfully yours,

William Dawson
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Alberto Guani, Uruguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Ralph Clarmont S. Stevenson.
  5. Not printed; in this telegram the Ambassador asked for instructions to cover a request from Uruguay to act as intermediary (733.61/57).