The Ambassador in Cuba ( Norweb ) to the Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs ( Braden )


Dear Spruille: I had an opportunity to call upon President Grau34 and to talk with him at some length this morning. I was able to give him your messages with respect to the Rio Conference and the Argentine situation, as they may be affected by the forthcoming election in that country.

He replied that the divergent points of view which have shown themselves with regard to the position of Argentina, and the manner in which the problem should be handled, raise an extremely delicate problem for the American republics, which will be obliged to devote their best talents to a study of the attitudes which they individually will assume in that regard.

For his own part, he fully appreciated that we had every ground for our point of view and that we need hardly let ourselves be drawn, for the sake of good fellowship, into signing together with a governing clique which we consider in such an unfavorable light a treaty providing for the defense of the Americas. Yet without the signature [Page 197] of the United States, given its preponderant military and naval power, no treaty for the defense of the Americas could be a really effective instrument. At the same time, finally, there was a considerable feeling among the other American republics that it would be most embarrassing to sign such a treaty in the event that Argentina were not to be afforded a simultaneous opportunity to do so as well.

The President felt there was a chance that the forthcoming Argentine elections themselves might afford an escape from this dilemma. Apparently he expects violence with consequent general disapproval of an administration in Argentina established by coercion.

Here I should like to remark parenthetically (though this is a subject which did not come up in my talk with the President) that Perón’s recent accusations against our Embassy in Buenos Aires, coupled with the Department’s memorandum to the Argentine Government desiring that if the Government does not associate itself with Perón’s charges, it publicly repudiate them, may conceivably, as time passes, come to afford a toe-hold for our neighbor republics to assume publicly a more critical point of view toward the Perón clique.

It was particularly interesting to learn from the President, in this connection, that Sir [Mr.] Leslie Hore-Belisha35 had just told him that all the chiefs of state in Latin America with whom he had talked during his recent tour had expressed a similar uneasiness over the outlook. Hore-Belisha remarked that he hoped to have the opportunity of calling on you in Washington within a few days. As you indicated to me, his point of view with regard to these matters differs considerably from our own.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Henry Norweb
  1. Ramón Grau San Martín.
  2. Leslie Hore-Belisha, former British Secretary of State for War; his visit to Latin America was unofficial.