The Ambassador in Argentina ( Braden ) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 20—3:10 a.m.]
1593. This morning pursuant to Dept’s telegram 909, July 17, 4 p.m.,26 1 presented note of protest on Nasht case.27 Minister28 after reading it said “You know I am totally opposed to this type of thing. Aside from fact that it is contrary to freedom of press it does no good whatsoever. I shall of course take it up with my Govt, and reply to you.” I expressed agreement with Minister observing that this coupled with admonitions to Associated Press and United Press not to transmit to Argentina or distribute locally articles printed in American press in a slightest degree critical of Argentina plus accounts given me by directors of several newspapers here of pressure put upon them not to publish such articles made evident that freedom of press did not exist. I added that beyond points he mentioned such incidents made establishment of cordial relations even more difficult because as I had several times remarked to him and other Argentine authorities we could do nothing so long as adverse public opinion continued in U.S. I observed moreover that restrictions on freedom of press gave rise to rumors which were false and much more injurious than any truths that might be published and I drew comparison with situation which had existed in respect of Falangist Spain.[Page 521]
I also said I had read Secretariat of Information and Press statement in morning papers giving a different version of Nasht incident but said the Minister of course must realize that we had thoroughly checked facts before presenting my note and that as matter of fact the implications of the Secretariat’s statement that “Nasht had been invited to remain in Buenos Aires to document himself” would be lost on no one.
The Minister in response to all of my remarks expressed his agreement and seemed to be sincerely annoyed by incident.