710. Consultation 4/7–1646

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs (Braden)46

Pursuant to instructions, the Brazilian Ambassador has informally requested our views on a proposal of the Brazilian Foreign Minister to announce November 15 as the date for the Rio Conference prior to the Minister’s departure for Paris.

The Ambassador explained that his government was taking this matter up with the United States before discussing it with any other government.

You will recall that, in our communication of April 1 to the other American republics (which was approved by practically all of them), we stated that

“We hope the Conference can be called to meet after the new Government of Argentina has been installed and has had a reasonable time to comply with the promises made at Mexico City. When it has complied we feel satisfied the American republics will welcome that Government’s participation in the treaty of mutual assistance.”

We added that “there must be deeds and not merely promises.”

In his inaugural address on June 4, President Perón announced that his Government did not consider itself bound by the Mexico Agreements until their ratification by the Argentine Congress. Perón subsequently stated that while he was submitting the Agreements to the Congress, it would be improper for him to recommend one way or another respecting their ratification.

The extraordinary consequences of the Perón announcement are further evident from the fact that we and the other American republics voted to admit Argentina to the United Nations upon the understanding that the adherence of the Farrell Government to the Mexico Agreements in April 1945 was final and binding. During the period of a year and a half between the Mexico Conference and Perón’s inauguration there was no reference by any Argentine official to a requirement of legislative action. It had been assumed that in the exercise of war powers the Argentine executive had bound his government to the Mexico Agreements just as had the President of the United States and the chiefs of state of the other American republics.

In declaring that it is not bound by the Mexico Agreements, the Perón Government has postponed the day when the question of the sufficiency of Argentine performance of those agreements can be placed in issue and finally decided. Moreover, even if we could ignore the [Page 23] Argentine disclaimer of any commitments on its part, Ambassador Messersmith’s47 reports show that no adequate action has in fact been taken by the Perón Government since its installation on June 4 looking toward more effective control or elimination of Nazi agents or property.

Under these circumstances, our acceptance of a definite date would be construed as an abandonment of our position as announced on April 8. By the same token, Ambassador Messersmith’s efforts to obtain both ratification and compliance as conditions precedent to participation in the pact would be seriously prejudiced if not completely undermined. The Brazilian proposal is, therefore, clearly premature.

I recommend, therefore, that I be authorized to inform the Brazilian Ambassador orally that, in the light of the Argentine position, it would seem improper and inopportune to announce now a date for the Conference.48

Spruille Braden
  1. Addressed to the Secretary and the Under Secretary of State. A notation on the original by the latter reads: “I agree. D.A.”
  2. Ambassador George S. Messersmith, transferred from Mexico to Argentina, assumed charge in Buenos Aires on May 23, 1946.
  3. In telegram 984, July 20, 1946, 2 p.m., the Secretary indicated to the Ambassador in Brazil his opposition to setting a date for the conference by reason of the heavy commitments of the Secretary (710 Consultation (4)/7–2046).