811.20 Defense (M) Argentina/195: Telegram

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

815. The question of scrap iron has again been discussed with the Director of the Argentine Military Factory of the Ministry of War,17 as requested in Department’s 509, April 13, 5 p.m. While Colonel Savio was very sympathetic regarding United States’ needs for scrap, he reiterated his previous position to the effect that most complete data they have been able to obtain indicates that not more than 400,000 tons of scrap can be said to be in any way readily available in Argentina and that no quantity of this has been collected in any one place. He stated that the most liberal estimate, including much that is practically inaccessible or unobtainable for other reasons, would not increase the total beyond 700,000 tons. He feels that Argentina must increase its own iron and steel production as a matter of defense and [Page 313]that therefore, it must conserve what scrap is available for that purpose. He further stated that scrap is now being sold at speculative prices, as high as 52 pesos, approximately $12.30 per metric ton, placed Buenos Aires, and that any prospect of export would so increase the speculative price as to make it practically prohibitive. He indicated no interest in a matter of exchange of scrap for finished steel.…

While this discussion was entirely informal, it is the Embassy’s belief that Colonel Savio’s position represents the official viewpoint and that it would be useless to present the matter formally through the Foreign Office unless the Department feels otherwise.

Armour
  1. Col. Manuel N. Savio.