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


Subject. Your Memorandum of January 31 Concerning Naval Construction in this Country for the Argentine Government.

Argentina has sought to purchase or to have constructed in this country several frigates, destroyers and submarines, a light cruiser and [Page 219] an escort carrier and other naval vessels. The requests to obtain these vessels have been denied in accordance with the policy approved by the President that Argentina must give substantial performance under existing inter-American agreements before we will sign a military defense pact with that country or furnish it with arms. Under this policy we would not permit the construction or exportation of ships which have been classified as “vessels of War” by the Arms Policy Committee; but we would allow the construction and exportation of vessels not so classified.

The British have recently terminated an agreement with us to follow a parallel policy; but they have stated they have in mind only a “trivial program” of furnishing Argentina with “parts and equipment, etc.” I recommend that representations be made to the British to induce them to continue their agreement with us to limit exports of implements of war to replacement parts; this matter will be made the subject of a separate memorandum. Irrespective of the ultimate British attitude, however, we should adhere to our policy in respect of the exportation of vessels of war to Argentina.

Spruille Braden