103.9164/326: Telegram

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

2402. Information in Department’s 1767, November 19, midnight86 from War Shipping Administration to Gibson87 was delivered upon arrival to Flota Mercante, as Gibson is still in Montevideo. Flota Mercante officials discussed matter with Embassy officers on November 26, and stated that while they would do everything possible to abide by agreement with War Shipping Administration, the loading instructions for December placed the Flota in an awkward position. [Page 428] First, it does not offer “full and down” cargo as mentioned in the agreement. Second, they feel a disproportionately high tonnage has been assigned to zinc concentrates. Since this latter cargo is supplied by one producer only, and since the large tonnage for quebracho is also supplied by a small group, there is relatively little tonnage left to distribute among the country’s major exporting groups.

Therefore the Flota Mercante, including the representative of Ministry of Agriculture, has submitted a counterproposal covering 39,250 tons to be transported to New Orleans in December, and the first days of January. This is divided as follows: salted hides 11,500; zinc concentrates 4,200; wool 9,600; quebracho extract 7,000; canned meats 2,600; casein 1,000; linseed 1,000; tallow 1,000; miscellaneous 1,350. (Agriculture insisted on including linseed and tallow.)

The Embassy agrees that the Flota is placed in a difficult position by not carrying cargo which is more evenly distributed among export groups and which would more effectively benefit country’s over-all economy. In view of current protests of present Flota administration from certain official and unofficial circles, and probability that any new Flota administration would be less disposed to cooperate with us, it is believed that we should do anything within reason to help them. Therefore information is requested at earliest opportunity as to whether December loading instructions might be revised more along the lines of Flota’s counterproposal above.88

  1. Not printed; this telegram gave instructions on the commodities to be loaded in certain specified ships (103.9164/288b).
  2. Ray A. Gibson, Agent of the War Shipping Administration.
  3. In telegram No. 1884, December 3, midnight, the Ambassador was instructed to convey the desire of the War Shipping Administration to cooperate with Flota and to accept, if necessary, certain specified minimum quantities of various commodities for shipping (103.9164/326).