835.00/2297: Telegram

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

236. I saw Gilbert and took up with him one by one the points raised in Department’s telegram 149, January 25, midnight. For purposes of clarity, I had summarized for him in writing various points although I did not leave written document with him.

His replies were as follows:

1.
As he had already assured me his Government is determined to proceed vigorously against any individuals or groups who show signs of being engaged in subversive activities against neighboring or other Governments. He had called in Paraguayan Ambassador34 this morning to assure himself there was no evidence or suspicion that recent attempt in Paraguay had any support or encouragement from here and had been relieved to learn there was no such evidence. (The Paraguayan Ambassador confirmed this to me later. He says Gilbert had apparently heard some story that United States had told British we suspected Argentine interference.) I assured him it was the first time he [we?] had heard it. He says Gilbert told him his Government could count on full support here even to extent of sending Paraguayan or other plotters to German concentration camp they were planning to establish in South.
2.
Government intends to publish full report on result of investigations into Hellmuth spy-ring case. He hopes this will be ready by end of week which was reason he had originally suggested Saturday January 29 for date of rupture. Report will be very detailed.
3.
Both German and Japanese Embassies and staffs are under close surveillance and he feels sure measures taken will prevent any such activities but he will issue instructions to redouble vigilance.
4 and 5
he feels are covered by thorough investigation they are making of all espionage activities. In any event they intend to take steps necessary to extirpate all such channels and will watch particularly all pro-Axis Argentines in addition to those involved in spy-ring now under investigation.…
6.
He called in Torriani35 and had him read me decree which will [Page 243] probably be issued tonight or tomorrow prohibiting all financial and economic transactions with Germany and Japan and Axis-occupied territory specific mention being made of Washington resolution: (It is significant that in this and other cases studious avoidance is made of any reference to Rio Resolutions).
7.
Orders have, he said, been issued severing all telecommunications with Germany and Japan.36 Exception was made of messages from German and Japanese Embassies to their Governments dealing with rupture of relations. Even these had to be submitted to Ibarra García37 for censorship. Ibarra in Gilbert’s presence told me he passed only 2 out of 15. (Transradio, however, states up to present matter is still being discussed with posts and telegraphs and messages going forward).

I then spoke to Gilbert regarding German and pro-Nazi Press expressing surprise these papers were continuing publication and in case of Pampero its attacks. He said they had all received severe warning that they would be closed at once if any further offenses. I said I thought Government’s action closing Crítica for 3 days, the only capital paper closed since rupture, might well cause unfortunate impression abroad particularly since German Press was still going full blast.

Gilbert seemed full of confidence and determination. It remains to be seen whether he can or will do all he claims he intends to do but after his success of yesterday I have more confidence. Certainly it would appear that Gilbert and Ramírez have for the time being the upper hand.

Armour
  1. Francisco Pecci.
  2. Carlos L. Torriani, Chief of the Division of Economic and Consular Affairs of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  3. For correspondence on the interest of the United States in communication facilities between Argentina and the Axis, see pp. 391 ff.
  4. Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs.