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

No. 17,542

Sir: I have the honor to report the following miscellaneous developments:


Political developments during the past week principally revolved around the declaration regarding Argentina approved at the Mexico Conference.18 The Army groups controlling the Government met immediately following the termination of the Conference to discuss what Argentina’s next step would be. An observer in close touch with these groups reports that it was decided that a declaration of war against the Axis is unavoidable but that a strong disinclination to assume the responsibility for such a step developed among the officers. In discussing to whom the buck could be passed, the group contemplated a plebiscite, for which no constitutional machinery exists; the Congress, which does not exist; and a “Council of Notables” to be made up of outstanding men in civilian life. About the same time the Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs was telling an Associated Press reporter in confidence that probably the National Defense Council (see the Embassy’s despatch No. 15,104 of June 16, 1944, entitled “Creation of National Defense Council”19) would be called upon to decide the question. On March 14th the Embassy was informed by a [Page 371] usually reliable source that the previous night a project embodying a declaration of war had been drawn up and would be submitted to the Council the next day. Among the important Government meetings held on the 15th was one of the Defense Council but the Embassy so far has no information on what transpired during it.

Meanwhile the newspapers and official circles are making a good job of creating an optimistic atmosphere strongly reminiscent of that which prevailed for a while after Peluffo requested the Pan American Union to call a meeting of Foreign Ministers. As a result, the feeling is widespread that a routine declaration of war against the Axis and the signing of the United Nations Declaration20 and the Final Act of Mexico will automatically restore Argentina to a full place in the American family of Nations.

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  1. In Resolution LIX, the delegates expressed regret that Argentina had not found it possible to take steps which would permit its participation in the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, recognized that Argentina was an integral part of the Union of American Republics, and hoped that Argentina might adhere to the declarations of the Conference. For text of Resolution, see Pan American Union, Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, Mexico City, February–March, 1945 (Washington, 1945), p. 107.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Declaration signed January 1, 1942, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, p. 25.