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

No. 2462

Subject: Action of the Argentine Government in the Matter of Compliance with Its Obligations Undertaken Through Adherence to the Acts of Mexico City, and with Specific Reference to the Statement of Former Secretary Byrnes of April 8, 1946.

Sir: …

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I am addressing the Department on this matter at this time for two reasons.

First, it is the opinion of this Embassy that as the Argentine Government has carried through and is loyally continuing to carry through its obligations with respect to schools, institutions, and propaganda and enemy property, and has done so in a very effective manner and one which does it credit, and as in the matter of enemy [Page 194] aliens who have committed acts against the state and the United Nations it has shown its complete good faith since the constitutional government came into office in June, 1946 in endeavoring to find and deport such aliens and has with this second lot included in the list of 52 sent out of the country all those on which it can lay hands, the time has come when as a matter of equity alone and recognition of the performance of the Argentine Government for our Government to make an appropriate statement removing the reserves expressed by former Secretary Byrnes in his statement of April 8, 1946. The Department is aware from the reports of this Embassy that the British Embassy, which has been following this matter with this Embassy so closely during the war and until recently, is in complete accord and has already indicated that so far as it and the British Government are concerned, it is considered that the Argentine has carried through its obligations.

I will not in this despatch recite the measures which the Argentine Government has taken in the matter of endeavoring to apprehend and deport all of these enemy aliens against whom anything like adequate information has been determined. I can only repeat what I have said in my previous despatches and letters, that I and my associates who have been following this matter in every aspect so closely are convinced that the Argentine Government has used all of the effective means at its disposal in order to apprehend the remainder of these aliens and that its failure up to this time to apprehend all of them in the list of 52 is not due to any negligence on its part or to lack of any zeal or efficiency. Under these circumstances, this Embassy is of the opinion and is of the hope that the President and the Department will be of the opinion that upon the deportation of those whom it has been able to apprehend our Government will be in a position to completely normalize the relations with the Argentine by removing the reserves which we have had with respect to sitting down in the Rio meeting to formulate a defense pact with the Argentine present. There is, in the opinion of this Embassy, no doubt whatever that the Argentine Government will continue its efforts to find those of these remaining aliens in the list.

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The second reason I am transmitting this despatch at this time is because yesterday the Foreign Minister in a conversation in the Foreign Office informed me that Ambassador Ivanissevich is leaving for Washington to resume his duties there on May 9 and that he will carry a message to President Truman in reply to the communication which President Truman sent to President Perón. The Minister said that Ambassador Ivanissevich would be instructed to express to [Page 195] President Truman President Perón’s appreciation and understanding of President Truman’s constructive action. He would carry with him a list of the additional aliens included in the list of 52 whom it has been possible with the best efforts of the Government to apprehend and who will be deported in the relatively near future on an Argentine vessel to Germany. He will be instructed to say that with the best efforts and the use of all the means at its disposal the Argentine Government has not been able to apprehend all of these aliens but that it will continue these efforts and that in the meantime such persons are completely sterilized for if they would show their heads or engage in any activities in the Argentine, their presence would become immediately known and they would be apprehended and deported.

The Foreign Minister said yesterday that a ship was ready to take those whom they had been able to apprehend and that the day after its departure he would make a statement to the press merely to the effect that the ship had left with these additional aliens on board which the Government had been able to apprehend and that it was continuing its efforts to secure the remainder.

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Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith