Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Duggan) to the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

Mr. Welles: With regard to Mr. Armour’s telegram no. 201, the following information is of some interest. Early in January, Captain Spears14 sent me the attached extracts from the Argentine Naval Plan15 which was submitted by the Argentine Delegation to the United States Delegation. The plan itself goes far beyond any indication heretofore received from the Argentine Government of its willingness to cooperate. The Argentine Delegation, however, has made it abundantly clear that the plan cannot be put into effect until we furnish them with the necessary matériel to make it effective. The matériel stipulated as necessary is far beyond any possibilities of delivery in the foreseeable future.

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Captain Spears advises that the Argentines have been given a drastically curtailed list of matériel that could be made available. I understand that practically nothing could be made available if, indeed, anything could be made immediately available. Upon presentation of this list the Argentine Commission put on an act to the effect that it was not being taken seriously. Later the Commission calmed down as its members began to realize that the demands for matériel on the United States were extremely heavy.

Several days ago Ambassador Espil told me that two members of the Commission were flying back to Buenos Aires to explain the results of the conversations thus far.

It would therefore seem desirable for the United States members negotiating with the Argentine Delegation to be appropriately advised of our policy with regard to the delivery to Argentina of military equipment.

Ambassador Espil also permitted me to read hastily a joint statement of policy. It concerned the cooperation which each country was to extend to the other in the event that both of them entered the war. The Ambassador had obtained his copy with great difficulty. He found himself in a very embarrassing position since he had been given the responsibility, in the Executive Decree authorizing the trip of the Argentine members to the United States, of handling any questions of international policy. The draft certainly has to do with many important questions of Argentina’s political relations with the United States. Nevertheless, the Argentine members of the Commission state that they only deal with military matters. I do not know what action if any the Argentine Ambassador has taken to inform his Government.

I endeavored, through Orme Wilson,16 to get a copy of this project. Captain Spears told Orme Wilson that the project was in a formative stage and would be presented to the United States and Argentine Governments for approval when ready. He was, therefore, unwilling to furnish a copy.

I suggest that this matter be the subject of a discussion by you at the next meeting of the Liaison Committee. I think it highly important that this Department have an opportunity to advise on this project while it is in a formative stage just as I think that the Argentine Ambassador should be advising his Commission on the international political aspects.

Laurence Duggan
  1. Capt. W. O. Spears of the War Plans Division, Navy Department.
  2. Not attached to file copy.
  3. Liaison Officer with the War and Navy Departments.