The Ambassador in Argentina (Braden) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 1—6:50 a.m.]
1388. Perón’s astonishing outburst reported in mytel 1387, June 30, 11 p.m. confirms he is dangerous, … Accordingly, and in light of threats they have already rec’d. I have informed Cortesi and other correspondents of pertinent parts of today’s conversation telling them I was reporting fully to Dept. and requesting instructions. One of them suggested correspondents move to Montevideo but others wished to continue here. I said I could if they wished give them refuge in Embassy and pending receipt of contrary instructions from Dept. if they so desired would transmit their dispatches, advising separately by code for what paper intended then through omission of by-line they would be protected.
I consider continuance of such freedom of press for our correspondents as has resulted from my talk with Lomuto fundamental issue and their courageous reporting has been of utmost utility in weakening position of Perón … dictatorship. However, so long as Perón dominates Army it is difficult to see what Argentine public (majority of which I am convinced hate this regime) can do.
At least in part Perón’s statements today may be attributed to fact that for first time he realizes from the advances we have made in pressing in on freedom of press, release of political prisoners, and control of Nazis that this process if continued will force compliance all along the line of Chapultepec Act and place him in untenable position leading to his downfall. On my arrival he began by feigning willingness to meet obligations, now he is attempting impress us with strength of his position and threatened use it against us; next, he may try to convert threats into actions.[Page 512]
Self-evidently, retirement again of Ambassadors11 would make us look silly and would be ineffectual but we can not accept Perón’s statements without strong protest. Therefore I recommend that Dept. read riot act to Argentine Ambassador12 and I be instructed specifically and in detail to make similar protest here.
While I wish to give further thought to some public statement this is so delicate and dangerous that we should not act until absolutely sure of our ground.