835.00/1667: Telegram

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

1636. For the Under Secretary. There are certain elements in the local political situation which I feel should be brought to your attention. In first place there appears to be a serious cleavage in the army both as regards internal and external policy. In the last weeks the elements opposed to a break have been very active. There are well authenticated reports these elements are attempting to have those officers who are working for an immediate break in relations, particularly [Page 441] the group of colonels, transferred to posts in the interior. I understand also that they are trying to induce General Rawson to accept the Ambassadorship to Brazil as he is pressing the Government to break at once, even threatening if this is not done to head an opposition movement. (From your telegrams I judge you consider Rawson in the other camp based presumably upon his unfortunate Cabinet appointments. Astonishing as it may seem, it appears that Rawson … really did not know of Rosa’s or Martínez’37 sentiments or fact that Rosa is on our Proclaimed List. In any case, Rawson is openly pro-Ally and is telling anyone who will listen to him, including the press, that his first act as President had he stayed in would have been to break relations, which was the main reason for his heading the movement.)

Among the reactionary elements opposing the break and who have also egged on the Government units so-called anti-Communist crusade is the church. The bombing of Rome is now being used by them to full advantage, through the Axis subsidized press, as well as the Catholic El Pueblo. One strange report, believe it or not, given me by the Chilean Ambassador and confirmed by Agusti,38 is that this Government justifies its anti-Communist campaign on the ground that United States and British Armies after victory will be used as bulwark against communism in Europe and that Argentina by suppressing communism here is doing its bit for the cause.

In any event, while 2 weeks ago the break was generally expected to come shortly, open doubt is now being expressed in many high quarters. My Chilean colleague has I understand informed his Government he does not think they will break although he has made it clear to this Government, he assures me, that the Chilean Government wishes it. In view of Caranha’s [Aranha’s]39 assurances to Caffery,40 I have suggested to the Brazilian Ambassador41 that he do what he can with Storni and Ramírez and he is seeing Storni today and proposes to ask for an interview with Ramírez. I have told him that he can express the personal opinion that if the break does not take place, in view of the assurances given me, I am planning to request my Government to order me to the Department. Not that I flatter myself this will create any consternation, but it might help to bring the situation to a head.

Repeated to Rio de Janeiro.

  1. José María Rosa and Gen. Domingo Martínez were the Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs, respectively, in the short-lived Rawson regime.
  2. José W. Agusti, Director of Noticias Gráficas.
  3. Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. American Ambassador in Brazil.
  5. José de Paula Rodrigues Alves.