710.Consultation (4)/10–145

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

Participants: The Acting Chargé d’Affaires of Brazil, Mr. A. Boulitreau Fragoso
Mr. Spruille Braden
The Acting Secretary, Mr. Acheson

The Chargé called at my request. I said to him that the matter about which we wished to talk with him was most urgent. I regretted that we had to impose so serious a matter upon him in the Ambassador’s absence. Since Mr. Braden’s return on Friday night we had been in constant consultation regarding the very serious problem with which we were faced growing out of the present situation in Argentina. This problem was that we were faced with the fact that unless something were done we should begin on October 20 by negotiating a treaty of mutual assistance with the American Republics, including Argentina, at the very moment when the Argentine Government appeared to have repudiated all the promises which it made by accepting the resolutions at Mexico City and by joining the San Francisco Conference and when it was, contrary to all those promises, engaged in eliminating every vestige of political and civil rights of its citizens and leaving virtually unchecked the development of Nazi influence in Argentina. We felt that the negotiation of the treaty as provided in the Act of Chapultepec was one of the most solemn and far-reaching treaties in the history of our own country or of any of the American Republics. For the first time we were entering into agreements for mutual assistance of the most solemn character. It was essential that the conference for this purpose and the treaty issuing from the conference should be successful. It seemed to us impossible, from our own point of view, while the Argentine situation remained unsolved to negotiate such a treaty and even if we attempted to do so there were grave doubts whether the resulting agreement would be acceptable to our own Congress or to our own people. We believed that the same considerations must cause profound apprehension in the other American Republics. Even more than this it appeared to us that to negotiate such a treaty at the present time with the present Argentine Government would have the opposite effect of that intended. In other words instead of a [Page 161] document which would guarantee security and well-being to the Argentine people among all others it would greatly depress them because it would indicate our willingness to enter into binding commitments with the government which was oppressing them at the very moment of its most oppressive conduct.

I therefore suggested that the Chargé communicate with his Government and ascertain its views as to a postponement of the conference. I said that this might be done in a number of ways. We might issue a public statement saying that we had raised with the Brazilian Government the difficulty of proceeding with the conference at the present time outlining those difficulties as forcefully as possible and have suggested that the Brazilian Government might wish to postpone it and to take the lead in consultations among the American Bepublics as to the next appropriate step, or the Brazilian Government might wish to issue such a statement itself supported by one from us.

I said that we were most anxious to go forward with discussion of the treaty. We had had the benefit of the most excellent draft prepared by the Brazilian Government.17 We were nearly ready to submit to that Government our suggestions. We thought it highly desirable that this exchange of views should continue regardless of the postponement of the conference, relying upon the good offices of the Brazilian Government, and that it might be possible in a short time to develop a treaty which could be signed at Rio and known as the treaty of that name, either by the American Republics without Argentina, giving an opportunity for its adherence when the present situation should be cleared up, or, should that situation be speedily resolved, signed at Rio by all of the American Republics including an Argentine Government in which reliance could be placed and which represented the people of that country. I asked Ambassador Braden to Outline the, present situation in Argentina to the Chargé, which he did fully pointing out strongly the harmful effect of proceeding with the conference so long as the present Argentine Government was included. We told the Chargé that we thought time was most important and that it was desirable that some statement should be made about this matter by tomorrow. I said that I would inform Ambassador Berle of our conversation. The Chargé said that he would immediately inform Ambassador Martins and the Brazilian Foreign Minister and would let us hear from him a little later today or tomorrow.

Dean Acheson
  1. Transmitted to the Department in despatch 2071, July 16, 1945, from Rio de Janeiro; neither printed.