Memorandum by the Senior Economic Analyst in Argentina (Wallin)5
Mr. Fiore was today interviewed by the undersigned officer. He spoke on the following subjects:
- He stated that the program of the Committee for the intervention of Axis firms had advanced more rapidly before rather than after Argentina’s declaration of war against the Axis.6 He asserted that the higher authorities in the Government apparently have been more concerned with the declaration of war, the signing of the Act of Chapultepec,7 and obtaining recognition, than in taking active immediate [Page 455] steps against Axis firms and individuals. The program has also been slowed up by the appointment as president of the Administrative Council8 of Colonel Olano, who appears to be spending a lot of time learning about the work of the Council and in meeting with the Argentine lawyers, who maintain that it is illegal to intervene and control these Axis firms. He stated that some of these lawyers even had the gall to threaten action against the Argentine Government, on the basis that Argentina’s treaty of 1857 with Prussia9 specifically stated that, in case of war between the two countries, the properties and other assets of the individuals of these countries would be protected. Fiore also stated that the work of the Administrative Council had been delayed somewhat by the moving of the administration to a new location, which incidentally happens to be the German Club in Buenos Aires.
- Fiore stated that he is receiving more cooperation than heretofore from the Argentine Central Bank, although the latter is not operating as rapidly and as effectively as it should. He reiterated that his Council is still pushing for the control of the German banks, which are now under the supervision of the Argentine Central Bank. He is resolute in his intention to gain control of the Axis banks and insurance companies.
- When informed by the interviewing officer that the enemy firm, Wayss & Freytag, which already has been intervened by his committee, has just negotiated new contracts for construction work with the Public Works Department of the Argentine Government, Mr. Fiore stated that he was greatly surprised and shocked to hear this and that he would take immediate steps to present this grave irregularity to the highest authorities in the Argentine Government.
- Fiore stated that IMPA10 was nationalized by the Argentine Government in accordance with the Act of Chapultepec, which stated that all armament industry should be in the hands of the respective American governments.
- The interviewing officer was confidentially advised by Mr. Fiore that he has drawn up a resolution to be presented next Wednesday to the Administrative Council requesting the immediate establishment of an executive board to be empowered with authority independent of other government agencies to deal with Axis firms and individuals. He plans to recommend that besides himself three other individuals, namely Luís Podesta Costa, Dr. Moyano, and his Committee’s lawyer, Dr. Adrogué, be appointed to this board. He stated that he would [Page 456] still retain the chairmanship of the Administrative Council for the control of Axis firms, but that he desires the creation of this executive board in order to have more power to act effectively and speedily. This resolution will be presented to the Argentine Government on Wednesday afternoon, April 18th.
- Fiore openly expressed his discouragement at the way that his Committee has operated during the past 2 weeks. He stated that he has not received full cooperation from superior authorities in the Argentine Government and that he plans to see them very shortly to remind them of the commitments which they had agreed to fulfill in signing the Act of Chapultepec. He stated that there exists a certain reluctance for speedy action in compliance with the commitments undertaken by the Argentine Government. He reiterated that from the beginning he had been afraid that this would happen once Argentina was recognized by the other American republics.
- He also stated that the decrees regarding the control of Axis firms have only been partially implemented, and that meanwhile he would recommend that the United States Government take no steps towards withdrawing the Proclaimed List in Argentina or slacking up in the control of the firms which appear on this list.
Mr. Fiore concluded by stating that he had received authority from the Argentine Government to deal officially with the Embassy, and he hopes that these conversations may continue as in the past on an informal level.
- Addressed to the Chargé in Argentina (Reed) and the First Secretary of Embassy (Berger). Transmitted to the Department in despatch 17,768, April 17, from Buenos Aires; received April 25.↩
- For documentation on interest of the United States in Argentina’s entry into the war, see pp. 366 ff.↩
- The name applied to the agreement of the American Republics contained in Resolution VIII of the Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, held at Mexico City. February 21–March 8, 1945.↩
- Administrative Council for the Intervention of Axis Firms.↩
- Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation, September 19, 1857; for text, see British and Foreign State Papers vol. xlvii, p. 1277.↩
- Industria Metalúrgica y Plástica Argentina.↩