740.00115 European War 1939/8429a: Telegram

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

172. Reference Department’s no. 154, January 26, 5 p.m.39 Now that Argentina has broken diplomatic relations with the Axis, the Department desires that you follow closely the action of the Argentine Government along the following lines, offering such informal suggestions and assistance as, in your judgment, may be appropriate.

Regarding exchange of officials and members of their families with European Axis powers as well as Japan you may state that the United States Government, within the possibilities of pending negotiations, is willing to consider how it may facilitate such exchange by issuance of safe conducts and by any other necessary and proper measures. As you know, the practice followed in many cases has been to assemble the departing officials in a suitable hotel at some distance from the capital pending final arrangements for their departure. After negotiations are completed and the release of the Argentine officials in Europe is assured the transportation of the German officials from Argentina might perhaps be arranged on a neutral vessel bound for a European port. The United States Government would be willing to cooperate to the best of its ability in issuance of safe conducts to non-official nationals in the event the Argentine Government is, within the limitations of Resolution XX of the Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense at Montevideo,40 able to make satisfactory arrangements with the German Government for their exchange. [Page 245] The Argentine Government should however be warned that this Government would be unwilling to grant safe conduct for repatriation of those German nationals whose repatriation in its opinion, or that of the United States or British Embassies, might be prejudicial to the cause of the United Nations. Such persons should be effectively restrained within this hemisphere. All outstanding authorizations for issuance by the Embassy of safe conducts to German nationals are hereby canceled.
The United States Government would be pleased to extend to the Argentine Government any facilities for exchange of officials and non-officials which may come into existence under the pending United States-Japanese negotiations for a further exchange of nationals with Japan.41 The Embassy may bring to the attention of the Argentine Government the present situation in this regard as set forth in Radio Bulletin No. 10, January 12, 1944. The observations in the antepenultimate sentence of paragraph (1) of this telegram may have to be applied to prospective Japanese repatriates depending upon the course of negotiations.
The Department wishes to be kept currently informed of steps taken to transfer the protection of the interests of the Axis powers to a neutral power or powers.
Report promptly and in detail with your recommendations any plans being considered by the Argentine Government for exchange arrangements and the considerations involved therein. The Department particularly hopes that the Argentine Government will make no hard and fast commitments in this regard until the details of any proposed arrangements are reported to the Department and considered by it in the light of hemispheric security and pending negotiations with Germany42 and Japan.
The Embassy should closely watch Argentine implementation of Resolution XX of the Montevideo Committee. That resolution, while recognizing the free exchange of diplomatic personnel, recommends that the internment of non-official personnel is greatly preferable to their repatriation, which should be strictly limited and, moreover, permitted only on an exchange basis. These principles are generally followed with Germany; where necessary for humanitarian reasons more latitude is permissible as to Japan.
Finally it is considered extremely important that Axis diplomatic and consular officials, agents, employees, members of their families, and their servants of enemy nationality, should be strictly confined, with due regard of course to accepted international practice in such matters, and to the treatment accorded Argentine officials by Japan [Page 246] and Germany. They should be denied all means of communication, whether by telegraph, radio, telephone, post, or personally, except with the representative of the Protecting Power and the Argentine authorities, and in the interests of hemispheric security these restrictions should be strictly enforced by an adequate guard at the place or places of detention.
The Department is alive to the delicacy of these matters. The foregoing sets forth the general practice followed so far in this war. The Department has full confidence in your ability to achieve maximum possible observation of these practices by the Argentine Government and leaves completely to your discretion the manner of achieving that end.
  1. Not printed.
  2. This resolution deals with the detection and expulsion of dangerous Axis nationals from the American Republics. For text, see Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense, Annual Report, July 1943 (Montevideo, 1943), p. 73. For correspondence on the United States participation in this Committee, see ante, pp. 1 ff.
  3. For correspondence regarding these negotiations, see vol. v, pp. 1081 ff.
  4. For correspondence regarding negotiations with Germany, see vol. iii, pp. 785 ff.