835.00/2328: Telegram

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

337. In press conference yesterday afternoon Chief of Presidential Secretariat45 made number of declarations supplementing those of President Ramírez mentioned in my telegram No. 249 [January] 28.46 Following are principal points.

Decision to break relations with Axis was taken because of proof obtained of German and Japanese espionage activities despite fact convictions of members of Government favored neutrality policy followed by Castillo government. In breaking relations Argentina acted on its own account in defense of its national sovereignty without pressure of any kind.
Evidence shows existence of two German spy rings, one operating under Embassy and other under individual named Harnisch47 believed direct agent of Hitler. Evidence of Japanese espionage activities will be made public next week and data on German activities later.
Argentine Government considers espionage activities were carried out on orders of German and Japanese Governments and therefore German and Japanese residents will not be molested so long as they act properly.
Situation of German and Japanese language newspapers is under consideration but they will probably be permitted to continue publication provided they show respect for Argentine sovereignty in their declarations.
Some elements of the country are critical of Government’s decision to break relations but others who have been most strongly opposed to break have recognized its action as defense of sovereignty. Attitude of interventor in Tucuman province, Dr. Baldrich,48 is praiseworthy example. In contrast some of his collaborators in Tucuman have resigned with insulting statements toward Government. [Page 249] Their cases will be judged by the courts. A total of seven nationalists have been arrested.
There is complete solidarity in the Government and there will be no resignations in the Cabinet.
Foreign Minister has communicated with Uruguayan Ambassador49 regarding repeated attacks in Uruguay on Argentine Government and high ranking Argentine army and navy officers. It is hoped that this campaign which might provoke troublesome reactions and worsen relations between the two countries may be checked.
Speaker expressed gratification at cordial reception given Ambassador Escobar by Secretary Hull. He indicated that choice of successor to General Rawson as Ambassador at Rio was being carefully considered.
Speaker asserted that extraordinary interest and high prices in Government securities noted on exchange was evidence of people’s confidence in the Government.
Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare will shortly issue series of decrees to establish principle of equity awaited by working people of the country. Speaker eulogized work of Colonel Perón at head of Labor Secretariat. He concluded with warning that fight against communism must be intensified.

Repeated to Montevideo.

  1. Col. Enrique P. González.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Hans Rodolfo Harnisch, secret agent of the German Military Intelligence.
  4. Presumably Alberto Baldrich, later Minister of Justice and Public Instruction.
  5. Eugenio Martínez Thedy.