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

No. 13638

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatches Nos. 12448, October 19, 1943, 12530, October 26, 1943, 10263, May 24, 1943, 12686, November 6, 1943, 13090, December 7, 1943, and 13257, December 17, 1943,21 I have the honor to report that the present Argentine Government is increasingly assisting local Nazi firms through cloaking operations on their behalf. When it is impossible for Proclaimed List firms to obtain material due to the sanctions imposed by the Allied Authorities, the Argentine Government purchases the material in its own name and orders the material delivered to the Listed entities.

Another documented case which the Embassy has discovered involves the firm of Francisco Aurelio, which firm has signed a standard undertaking22 with this Embassy. Aurelio submitted documents proving that he was being obliged by the Argentine Ministry of War to deliver merchandise to Siemens Bauunion, Wayss y Freytag and “Geope”23 (all PL).24

Aurelio informed the Embassy that on September 30, 1943, he received an invitation from the Dirección General de Ingenieros, a dependency of the Ministry of War, to participate in a public licitation for the provision of certain metal products. On October 4th, Aurelio presented his quotation for the material desired by the Ministry of War and on October 15th was awarded the contract. As a result of this contract, Aurelio manufactured the product and when the material was ready for delivery, notified the Ministry of War who indicated the firms to which the material was to be delivered. Among these firms were included Siemens Bauunion, Wayss y Freytag and “Geope” (all PL). In view of the standard undertaking which Aurelio has with the Embassy, he visited the Ministry of War and protested that he could not deal with Proclaimed List entities. However, he was informed that he was to obey orders given him by his Government. In view of the threat of sanctions on the part of the Government, Mr. Aurelio was forced to deliver.

Mr. Aurelio submitted documentation to the Embassy which revealed that whereas orders for material to be delivered to non-listed entities did not bear the seal of the Argentine Army, orders for the [Page 237] Proclaimed List firms were counter-signed with the seal of the Argentine Army as shown in the accompanying photostats.25 Photostat #9 is added to inform the Department of the conditions which the Ministry of War places, on the suppliers of material for Proclaimed List entities regarding price and other matters which aid the Listed entities. Photostat #10 is added to show that a non-listed firm, Nicolas Caputo, did not have the counter-sign of the Argentine Army.

As a further indication of the Argentine Government’s aid to Axis firms, I have the honor to report that the firm of Juan Minetti e Hijos, a local cement manufacturer, refused to sell to the Proclaimed List firm Wayss y Freytag. Wayss y Freytag reported the matter to the Argentine Ministry of War for which the Axis firm was constructing. The Argentine Ministry of War asked the firm Juan Minetti e Hijos why they refused to operate [cooperate?] with Wayss y Freytag. When Minetti reported that he did not wish to expose himself to the sanctions of the Allied Authorities by so doing, the Ministry of War stated that if that were the case, it would purchase the material and at the present time is purchasing material from Juan Minetti e Hijos and having it delivered to Wayss y Freytag.

The Department will recall that on January 17, 1944, the Argentine Government expropriated all supplies of copper in Argentina. A photostat of the secret decree is attached.25 As the Department is aware, the Proclaimed List firm S. E. M. A.26 has found it difficult to obtain raw materials to carry on its production for the Argentine Government and it is believed that the expropriated supplies will, to a large extent, be handed over to this firm.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Merwin L. Bohan

Counselor for Economic Affairs
  1. None printed.
  2. An agreement by a person or firm removed from the Proclaimed List to engage in no business with Axis or Axis-tainted firms, to dismiss employees, to provide details of business, and to submit books of account to auditors whenever the American Embassy requested.
  3. Presumably Compañia General de Obras Públicas, S.A.
  4. Proclaimed List.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Sociedad Electro Metalúrgico Argentina.