800.20235/7–644: Telegram

The Chargé in Argentina ( Reed ) to the Secretary of State

1739. Following comments submitted on points enumerated your 1079, July 3, 7 p.m.45

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(5) (a) All data on arrests of Axis spies available to Embassy have been fully reported. Only the six spies in Napp case have been “brought before the courts”. Four of them were sentenced on June 21 (Embassy’s 1583 June 21),46 a year and a half after they were first denounced by the Embassy; (b) of the other persons whom Argentine authorities consider to be Axis spies, Embassy has official knowledge of those named in official communiqués only (see Embassy’s despatch 13955, February 21, telegram 585, February 29, 8 p.m. and despatch 14520, April 18).47 It is believed the Argentine memorandum referred to in telegram under reference affords opportunity to request of Argentine Government official lists of (a) person arrested for Axis espionage, (b) fugitives and(c) those still being held. This would provide something more substantial to go on in commenting on [Page 390] Argentine assertion that many such persons have [been] brought to book.

In the meanwhile, there is submitted herewith an approximate tabulation of espionage arrests, representing a considered evaluation of all information available through both official and confidential sources and prepared with assistance of Legal Attaché. It should be borne in mind that these lists include only such individuals as could properly be termed espionage agents or legitimate suspects. Diplomats and other Axis Embassy officials, Argentine nationalists and casual suspects rounded up for questioning have been omitted: (a) persons denounced by American and/or British Embassies: 60; persons so denounced, reported arrested: 24; persons so arrested, reported released: 9; still held: 15; (b) persons denounced by American and/or British Embassies, wanted by Argentine Government but still fugitive: 5; (c) persons not denounced by Embassies, reported arrested at instance of Argentine Government: 28; persons so arrested, reported released: 8; still held: 20; (d) totals: arrested for espionage: 52; released: 17; still held: 35; fugitives: 5. Among the 60 persons denounced are, of course, included the 25 individuals named in the Embassy’s memorandum to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of February 9 (see Embassy’s despatch No. 13866, February 12). The remainder were denounced on various opportunities by the British. In this connection, it will be recalled that at time of submitting above mentioned list this Embassy and British Embassy made it known to Argentine authorities that it would be perfectly acceptable for Argentina to take credit for arrests if it wished, and that American and British Governments did not intend to make their memoranda or information which they contained public.

Since cessation of official relations subsequent to first wave of arrests, Argentine Government has been proceeding largely on its own initiative, and it is evident that few new developments have occurred. Any information obtained by Embassy has been acquired with difficulty by confidential means, for which reason it is not possible to appraise effectiveness of Argentine Government’s action. Nevertheless, although German spy ring is by no means broken, as clearly shown by certain indications known to Department, the Legal and Military Attachés and British feel that German espionage in Argentina has suffered a decided setback.

Suspension of La Fronda fully reported by despatches 15113, June 16 and 15141, June 20.48

6. Argentine Government officials have on several occasions declared discrimination against or ill treatment of Jews not permitted, however Jews continue to feel uneasy in view of general orientation of [Page 391] present regime. Authorities appear to have done nothing to restrain anti-Semitic propaganda in Clariquada Cabildo and other periodicals. As far as can be ascertained those responsible for acts in Entre Rios have not been punished.

  1. Ante, p. 279.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Telegram 585 and despatch 14520 not printed.
  4. Neither printed.