811.20 Defense (M) Argentina/311a

The Department of State to the Argentine Embassy 33

Memorandum

There exists in the Argentine an embargo on the export of beryl ore. There is great need of beryl ore in the United States, and our Embassy in Buenos Aires has repeatedly pointed this out to the appropriate authorities. Six months ago the Argentine Government gave as its reason for the maintenance of the embargo its desire to assure sufficient beryl ore for the Saba Plant which manufactures beryl oxide. The Saba Plant is anxious to find a market for this oxide.

In May 1942 our Embassy in Buenos Aires was informed that the Metals Reserve Company was prepared to make a proposed contract with the Saba Plant effective contingent upon the granting by the Argentine Government of export licenses for export to the United States of the accumulated stocks of beryl ore and contingent upon an agreement to grant licenses at the rate of a minimum of 100 tons of ore monthly out of current production. The request was also made that since consumption of the Saba Plant will be only about 1,000 tons of ore per year, export licenses should be granted for any quantity in excess of this requirement of Saba, but no less than 1,200 tons annually.

Our Embassy reported in August that the matter had been submitted to the Inter-Ministerial Commission. In September our Embassy reported that no reply had been received and that the Foreign Office had been informed that on about September 15 freight space would be available for the shipment of the accumulated stocks of beryl ore estimated at 800 tons and that, therefore, an early reply would be appreciated. The Foreign Office stated that the question would be submitted to the Inter-Ministerial Commission shortly.

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Since it now appears that the requirements of the Saba Plant have been taken care of and that the Metals Reserve Company is prepared to put into effect the proposed contract with Saba contingent upon an agreement to assure export licenses for beryl ore as described above, it would be greatly appreciated if the Argentine Government would take action to permit the freight space available in the immediate future to be used for the export of beryl ore to the United States, and would agree to the future export of beryl ore in the amounts described above.

  1. Handed to the Argentine Chargé by the Acting Chief of the Division of Defense Materials (Finletter) on September 11, 1942.