710. Consultation (3)A/165: Telegram

The Ambassador in Uruguay (Dawson) to the Secretary of State

954. From Spaeth for the Under Secretary. After 4 hours of debate the committee approved the following resolution:

A. The Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense was charged by Resolution XVII, as approved unanimously by the Third Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics at Rio de Janeiro, with the study and coordination of the measures to be taken by the said republics to combat the subversive activities of states members of the Tripartite Pact and of states subservient to them.

B. The member appointed by the United States of America has submitted for consideration to the Committee a copy of a memorandum [Page 104]entitled “German Espionage Agents in Chile”, dated June 30, 1942, [which] indicates the existence in the said country of very serious threats to the security of the continent and which demonstrates that the dangers which it reveals are directed not only against one of the republics but against all of the other republics of the continent.

C. In view of the gravity of the charges made in the memorandum, which specifically mentions acts undertaken by agents of the Axis against the security of the hemisphere, it is of vital interest to give publicity to the information set forth in the said document, as well as any other facts of the same character, in view of the great value in the collective defense of America.

The Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense;

Resolves: To authorize the President of the Committee to release for general publication through the press and any other means of communication the memorandum dated June 30, 1942 entitled “German Espionage Agents in Chile” prepared by the Government of the United States of America.

The memorandum was released to the press at 6 p.m. this evening under the title “Memorandum Prepared for Ambassador Bowers, German Espionage Agents in Chile” and under the date June 30, 1942.

The title of the referendum and the presentation to the Committee followed the suggestion by Dr. Guani that the document be presented to the Committee as a copy of a memorandum sent by the American Government simultaneously to the American Ambassador in Chile and the American member of the Commission (refer to Embassy’s cable No. 949 of November 2, 1 p.m.). This method of presentation proved to be extremely important because of the position taken by the members from Argentina and Chile that the memorandum is a diplomatic document which relates exclusively to a matter in discussion between Chile and the United States and should, therefore, not be released by the Commission. The majority took the position that the Commission had no knowledge of any pending negotiations or discussions between the two Governments concerned in which the memorandum was involved, and that the issue for the Commission was whether or not publication of the memorandum by an inter-American body would serve the general interest of the continent.

The Chilean member voted against the proposal and made a statement for the record to the effect that in view of the fact that the memorandum related to a matter being discussed by the Governments of Chile and the United States, he did not consider it desirable or expedient for the Commission to publish the same without first consulting the two Governments. The Argentine member abstained from voting on substantially the same grounds.

Too much emphasis cannot be placed on the assistance and leadership afforded by Dr. Guani in securing the approval by the Commission, [Page 105]notwithstanding that at one point the Chilean member attempted to embarrass Guani in his position as Foreign Minister by stating that the Chilean Foreign Office could not but look with disfavor upon the publication of the document. The support given to Guani by members from Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela was characterized principally by their support of his position that content of memorandum was a matter of vital concern to defense of all American Republics and that by publishing the document the Commission was not involving itself in a diplomatic situation between two Republics. The majority also shared view of Brazilian member that in consulting Commission regarding publication of memorandum the Government of United States was in a sense curtailing its freedom of action and its sovereign right in order to secure advice of an inter-American body regarding a problem which it felt involved a basic collective interest of the continent, and that Commission could not but respond favorably to this recognition by the most powerful nation on the continent of the validity and efficacy of cooperative method.

The Venezuelan member voted with majority but did not participate in debate because of fact Parra Pérez38 arrives in Santiago tomorrow morning.

Sent to Department, repeated to Santiago. [Spaeth.]

Dawson
  1. Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs.