Statement to the Press by the Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship (Bramuglia)2


The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship, Dr. Juan Atilio Bramuglia, delivered last night to the journalists in the Foreign Office the following statements with reference to the remarks made by the ex-Secretary of State of the United States, Mr. James F. Byrnes.3

“During the public discussion of foreign affairs held in Cleveland, Mr. James F. Byrnes, the outgoing Secretary of State of the United States, made statements concerning the Argentine Nation, which filled us with surprise because of their intolerance and unfairness.

“Although the remarks in question may be the result of a personal reaction, I believe that they could never be a reflection of the political position of the State of which Mr. Byrnes is a citizen, to whom I reply as such.

“The Argentine Government, faithful to its international pledges, has made every possible effort—and it has succeeded in the appropriate measure, as the Department of State of the United States of America undoubtedly knows—to meet the demands, the resolutions and the advice of the Mexico Conference as contained in the Final Act of Chapultepec.4 Mr. Messersmith,5 a gentleman in whom the Argentine people see a gallant exponent of the spirit of a great nation as is that of the United States, can bear witness to our endeavors in this respect.

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“I therefore declare that Argentina has fulfilled, in the same measure and proportion as all the other countries, the obligations deriving from all the juridical instruments that have been signed.

“On the other hand, I refuse to acknowledge the right of having a supreme judge on international matters; much less do I admit the right that such a one-sided and partial judge be the one to condemn, and particularly if it is a matter of one or several men and not a nation.

“In this matter I believe that, were it necessary, the decision should come from the nations of the world that participated in the establishment of cordial relations and maintain that position, for mankind unquestionably stands in need of peace and work.

“It is a well known fact that Argentina maintains fraternal bonds of friendship and concord with all the peoples of the globe, principally with those that bore the heaviest burden of war. Since those nations and their respective governments find nothing in Argentina’s conduct to justify an expression of displeasure, we cannot believe in the justice of the purpose that prompts this relentless insistence, which is becoming tedious, on the part of certain officials of a government to which we are linked by common objectives.

“The belief that the consideration of situations such as that discussed at the Cleveland forum, is incumbent on nations and not particularly on individuals, is also expressed by a prominent American personality, the Honorable Senator Vandenberg,6 when he says: ‘I entirely sympathize with the anxiety to purge the Americas of their last vestiges of nazism, but I think that under half a dozen solemn Pan-American treaties to which we are a party, the multilateral decision to summon the Rio de Janeiro Conference7 should be adopted by all of us jointly,’—he refers to the American nations—, ‘and not dictated or influenced by us alone’—he refers to the United States of America.

“Senator Vandenberg goes on to say that ‘in a certain sense, it may be said that we have been acting jointly, but I believe it is already past the time to hold the Pan-American Conference which we promised in 1945, in order to resume there the new world authority that constitutes the spirit of the unity of our new world.’

“It is regrettable that truth, which should be the supreme law, has not penetrated the mind and the intelligence of some of the officials to whom Mr. Byrnes refers, just as it failed to penetrate his own intelligence and mind, even though he affirms as a contribution to the definition of peace, ‘that a just peace can be achieved by coöperative [Page 165] effort if we persist with firmness in right as God gives us power to see the right.’

“Under present circumstances and with regard to Argentina, I sincerely think that Mr. Byrnes is not inspired by God in seeing right and assuring peace.”

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department in despatch 1651, January 15, 1947, from Buenos Aires; not printed.
  2. In a speech before the 21st Annual Institute of the Cleveland Council of World Affairs; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, January 19, 1947. President Truman accepted the resignation of Secretary Byrnes on January 10, but the effective date of resignation was January 21 when Gen. George C. Marshall took the oath of office as his successor.
  3. Pan American Union, Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, Mexico City, February–March, 1945 (Washington, 1945).
  4. George S. Messersmith, Ambassador to Argentina, in Washington for consultation until February 1.
  5. Arthur H. Vandenberg, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  6. For documentation on this Conference, see pp. 1 ff.