811.34533/51: Telegram

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

518. Agitation over Laguna del Sauce Air Base reported in my 4328 of May 1227 and later despatches culminated yesterday in violent Senate session for details of which please see Embassy’s press telegram 517 of today.27

Government had issued on June 2 an excellent factual statement correctly setting forth nature of our participation. Text forwarded with dispatch 4416 June 3.28

Herreristas obviously intend to exploit situation for all out attack on Government’s foreign policy which they depict as subordinated to United States, disrupting River Plate base balance and threatening country’s peace and independence. In addition to United States participation in construction activities, they are playing up alleged [Page 1600] Uruguay-Brazilian military alliance of which they see evidences in article 2 of Guani’s Decree of August 25, 1942 following Brazilian Declaration of War on Axis, and also in allegation that Laguna del Sauce will have good highway connections with Brazil.

Serrato tells me that he and Campos will probably answer interpellation in Senate on June 7 or 8.29 Although he believes Herreristas actuated primarily by domestic political motives, he considers it not impossible that they have been egged on by Argentines. He believes Argentines have been alarmed for some time over air base and Airport construction activities in Uruguay and he has heard that certain Argentine Generals have even suggested “destroying the bases”. He does not believe suggestion received serious consideration and he expressed opinion that Argentina would not attack Uruguay and thus start a general war.

Repeated to Buenos Aires.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed; for the position of the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Senate debate, see his Memoria Correspondiente al periodo Marzo 1944–1945 (Montevideo, 1945), pp. 46–49.
  4. The Ambassador reported in telegram 542, June 9, 1944, 6 p.m., that the interpellation in the Senate resulted in a 17 to 11 vote of support for the Minister’s policy (811. 34533/61).