The Ambassador in Argentina ( Messersmith ) to the Secretary of State
308. Re my top secret letter March 1478 to Under Secretary Acheson concerning desire Vickers-Armstrong to sell cruiser to Argentine Govt, and also to my top secret letter March 2178 to Under Secretary Acheson concerning desire British airplane manufacturers to sell military planes, I am informed by … that Vickers-Armstrong is submitting bids on one cruiser, two or three destroyers and several other vessels the total order amounting to approximately 20 million pounds sterling.
Information is that the bids have not yet been accepted, but … source is of opinion that Vickers bids would be lower than any bid of competitors. Same source states that Miranda, President Central Bank,79 strongly opposed placing orders.
Embassy is of opinion there is no doubt that Vickers is offering [Page 220] these vessels Argentine Govt, and that officials Argentine Navy may be interested, but that no action will be taken by Argentine Govt at this time with regards purchase as amount involved is so great and Argentine Govt still wishes to defer purchases of any military material until composition situation between us and Argentina. No doubt of increasing pressures on Govt to purchase certain equipment at this time from available sources.
Will keep Dept informed any developments.