740.00116 E.W./9–3044: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

8187. ReEmbs 8155, September 29, 8 p.m. We talked with Nevile Butler59 this morning regarding the Argentine memorandum on war criminals; it was to Butler that the Argentine Ambassador, Carcano, handed the memorandum on September 26.

Butler told us that Carcano said on delivering the memorandum that he had felt for some time the need of a “positive statement” by his Government on the question of denying asylum for war criminals and that he had so informed his Government requesting at the same time that he be permitted to draft such a statement. The statement that he was giving Butler, Carcano explained, had been prepared by him and approved by his Government. He wanted to deliver it at this particular time because during the past few days the general question of withholding asylum for war criminals had been raised in Parliament and he understood, moreover, some time next week there would be discussed in the Lords a question put to the Government by Vansittart60 asking the Government what steps it had taken to prevent war criminals escaping to Argentina.

When handed the memorandum by Carcano, Butler said to us, he immediately turned over in his mind ways of avoiding the impression being given when this step had become publicly known that a “wedge” had been driven by the Argentines between United States and the British. With this in mind, Butler said, he at once suggested to Carcano that other governments, as for example members of the Pan American Union, be informed of Carcano’s visit and of the contents of the memorandum or that the Argentine Government consider promptly making the text of the memorandum public. Butler added that he did not know whether Carcano actually passed these suggestions [Page 1435] on to his Government. In any event, as Butler pointed out, the text of the memorandum has now been made public by the Argentine Government.

  1. Head of North American Department, British Foreign Office.
  2. Robert Gilbert Vansittart, Baron Vansittart of Denham.