800.8830/1602a: Telegram

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

303. The Department realizes from your many recent telegrams that the Uruguayan Government is greatly preoccupied by the increasing difficulties in shipping. The Government and exporters and importers have made abundantly clear to you that they believe Uruguay is not receiving as favorable treatment as other countries, particularly Argentina, in space allocated on vessels in trade between the United States and Uruguay.

The Department and the War Shipping Administration have reviewed this situation and in recent telegrams have brought about readjustments which go a substantial distance toward relieving the complaints which have been brought to your attention.

It is clear, however, that for some time to come there will be an extreme shortage of shipping. It therefore becomes extremely urgent that the four Uruguayan ships7 be placed immediately into efficient operation. The operation of these ships would make possible the carriage of greater quantities of Uruguayan exports and imports.

There appear to be two aspects of the problem of placing the Uruguayan vessels into service. One of these is fears of submarine danger. The United States is now supplying petroleum to Uruguay and most of Brazil by sending tankers around the west coast of [Page 704] South America and through the Straits of Magellan. It would be possible in terms of the national interest of Uruguay, if not in strictly commercial shipping terms, to send Uruguayan vessels via the west coast to California or Gulf ports. This less efficient utilization of ships would still be vastly more helpful than their continued immobilization in Uruguayan ports.

The other question is that of efficiency of operation. The Department is advised that Mr. A. V. Moore of Moore-McCormack has presented to the Uruguayan Government, through the Uruguayan Ambassador8 and his Naval Attaché,9 a proposal for chartering these ships. Mr. Moore states that the Uruguayan Embassy here has endorsed the proposal and sent it to Montevideo.

Although the Department recalls the objections previously raised by the Uruguayan Government to the operation of these ships by Moore-McCormack, it desires you to have a friendly but frank talk with the Foreign Minister10 and, if it seems desirable, with the President11 to discuss the matter. In this conversation you should point out that there is and will be an insufficiency of tonnage, that the efficient operation of these ships would make it possible for Uruguay to increase its exports and to improve its imports, and that it would have a very encouraging and heartening effect on our shipping authorities here who feel that Uruguay is not doing as much as it could or should to help itself as long as these ships remain idle or are not utilized to the maximum efficiency. You may recall that this Government has not heretofore urged that these ships be operated in any particular way but has merely stood on the broad policy that they should be put into service. The shipping situation has become so critical, however, that the Department believes the Uruguayan Government in its own interest must immediately come to some conclusion as to the way in which these ships would be operated. The Department believes the proposal presented by Moore-McCormack through the Ambassador here a fair one, recognizing the Uruguayan desire for a merchant marine operated under its own flag. Opportunity would be afforded for training officers and seamen. You should however emphasize that our interest is in seeing the ships placed into effective service promptly.

Please report in detail by telegram the results of your interview.

  1. Ships of Axis Powers requisitioned by Uruguay.
  2. Juan Carlos Blanco.
  3. Comdr. Mario Collazo Pittaluga.
  4. Alberto Guani.
  5. Alfredo Baldomir.