835.34/575a (Suppl): Telegram

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

415. My telegrams nos. 387, March 20, noon, and 399, March 21, 9 p.m. Espil has informed me that his telegraphic exchange with his Government took the following sequence.

Since the Argentine Delegation did not transmit to the Ministries of War and Marine the text of our counterproposal, he sent the text to the Foreign Office for its information. The Foreign Office then telegraphed him in the sense indicated in the penultimate paragraph of my telegram no. 387 (i.e., instructing him to discuss this question with the President). Espil telegraphed that in accordance with the regular procedure it was necessary for him to advise the President, through the Department, of the purpose of his visit. To this end he was drafting a memorandum. The Foreign Office next telegraphed that he should hold up any further action until the Argentine Government had an opportunity of going over the matter with Admiral Sueyro and General Lapez. Espil wired asking whether this meant that he should not even present the memorandum. Today Espil received a reply to the effect that while it was all right to present the memorandum the memorandum should not refer to our counterproposal regarding convoying since that had not been taken up officially by the Department with him. Espil was further advised by Dr. Ruiz Guiñazú that, after his return from the Chilean inauguration about April 6 to 8, he would consider the matter further but that in the [Page 391] meantime he was not to request an audience to receive [sic] the President.

In accordance with these instructions Espil presented a memorandum28 which is merely a recapitulation of the origin of the invitation to hold military and naval discussions in Washington, the preliminaries of the negotiations for a basic Lend-Lease agreement, and a statement of the steps already taken by the Government to place Argentina in a position to repel aggression. A copy of his memorandum will be sent to you by air mail.

I do not agree that the United States counterproposal was not officially taken up with Espil. Although I did not hand him a copy of the proposal, since he already had it through the courtesy of the Argentine Delegation, I did present the proposition to him with the request that he ascertain the views of his Government. In order, however, to make it impossible for Dr. Ruiz Guiñazú to say that our counterproposal was never formally presented to the Argentine Government, in acknowledging receipt of Espil’s memorandum which was sent under a covering note, I am transmitting formally to Espil a copy of our counterproposal.

  1. Supra.