The Ambassador in Argentina ( Messersmith ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1883


. . . . . . .

I am sure that the Department will agree that in view of the character of the January 1947 decree, the manner in which the Argentine Government handles this matter of enemy property now becomes a purely internal concern of the Argentine just as the way in which we handle property under the Alien Property Custodian in the United States is a matter solely of our concern. The Argentine Government has made itself responsible. In this connection, I am sure that the Department will not assume an attitude that we can expect more rapid progress in so difficult a matter as final disposition of some of these firms than we can take at home through the Alien Property Custodian. I will not enter into any details but I am sure the Department is aware that the Alien Property Custodian while having taken possession in the name of our Government of certain German-owned firms has not yet proceeded with the liquidation of some of them. This does not mean that the Alien Property Custodian will not eventually proceed with the liquidation or adequate reorganization of such firms.

. . . . . . .

There remains, therefore, only the completion of the program with respect to enemy aliens on which program the Argentine Government is energetically engaged. The Embassy will keep the Department fully informed of further concrete action of the Argentine Government in this matter.

It is not clear to me what it is desired to convey by the sentence in the Department’s telegram no. 112 of February 12, 8 p.m., 1947, to the effect that “we do not understand that Argentina has yet met the [Page 179] test”.33 I thoroughly appreciate that so far as the program of enemy aliens is concerned, there are further steps which the Argentine Government should and must take. I do not know whether the sentence quoted refers to the completion of the program of enemy aliens. I would appreciate any clarification which the Department can give me as it is desirable for my guidance here.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith
  1. See footnote 32, p. 178.