710.Consultation (3) A/138

The American Representative (Spaeth) to the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Pursuant to your suggestion, immediately upon my arrival I arranged to see Guani relative to the problems presented by Argentina’s membership on the Committee. My interview was arranged for Saturday, and I went to see Guani at his apartment where he has been kept for ten days by illness. I had not been with him more than ten minutes when the President19b was announced. After he and Guani had had about a quarter of an hour alone, I had the good fortune to spend well over an hour with the two of them.

I was greatly impressed by Baldomir. He has a direct and simple manner, gets down to the essentials of a problem very quickly, and seems to know the detailed facts of the important questions facing his country. He has a realistic appreciation of the tremendous fight that lies ahead for the United Nations, and is nevertheless not pessimistic about the ultimate outcome. With regard to the most discussed question of the day (both here and in Argentina)—that of a second front—he stated that he did not see how the Allies could possibly be ready to undertake the job until 1943. He is, of course, much concerned about the economic situation of this country, and stated that there were now twenty thousand unemployed, principally in the Montevideo area, and that unemployment will certainly continue to increase. He recognized that we are doing our best to keep Uruguay supplied with essential materials.

After a general discussion of economic and military questions, the President gave me an opportunity to speak to the point about which I had come to see Guani by asking me about the work of the Committee and the attitude of our government toward its future. I told him that it is our opinion that the Committee can make a substantial contribution to the political defense of the Hemisphere, but that it will be handicapped considerably so long as Argentina is represented [Page 88]and pursues its present foreign policy. I stated that this was your view and that you had asked me to discuss the question with Guani. I added that there seemed to be two alternatives, the one less drastic than the other; the appointment by Argentina of a member sympathetic to the cause of the United Nations, or, more drastically, a reorganization of the Committee by the Governing Board of the Union to eliminate Argentina. Without any hesitation, the President stated that the more drastic step seemed necessary, and expressed the opinion that, because of the nature of the subject matter, the membership of the Committee should be limited to republics which have broken relations with the Axis. When I indicated that it is our hope that Chile will soon swing over, the President stated that he held the same opinion, but he maintained that effective Committee work in the control of subversive Axis elements requires a break in relations by the countries which nominate members to the Committee. Guani stated his complete agreement with the President’s position, and authorized me to advise you accordingly. As you will recall, Pimentel Brandào of Brazil has on several occasions expressed substantially the same opinion.

It appears that during my absence, Chile has continued to take approximately the same position as Argentina. During the course of the next week I plan to have a frank talk with Fernandez y Fernandez, who has just returned from Santiago, to ascertain whether we can expect a more sympathetic attitude from Chile.

It is my own unqualified opinion that the position taken by President Baldomir is the correct one. The political defense program of nineteen republics is being undermined by two governments which refuse to recognize the danger; and in these times we would be mad, and derelict in our defense responsibilities, were we to permit the situation to continue. The fact is that while Argentina and Chile have accepted that part of Resolution XVII of Rio which creates the Committee, they have repudiated, time and again in the Committee’s deliberations, practically all of the substantive provisions of the same Resolution. It is both practically and legally sound to maintain that a republic which has not accepted the substantive recommendations of Resolution XVII should not be privileged to nominate a member of the Committee which is charged with the development of joint programs for the enforcement of the very same recommendations.

I appreciate, of course, that action to eliminate Argentina from the Committee would be instituted only after a full survey of the entire Argentine picture; it would necessarily be integrated with other action similarly designed to challenge the ambiguous position of that government. I shall advise you immediately of any further indication [Page 89]of Guam’s attitude, and will explore the question, quite informally and in a general manner, with the members from Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil.

[Here follows paragraph concerning a personnel matter.]

Sincerely yours,

Carl B. Spaeth
  1. Alfredo Baldomir, President of Uruguay.