835.24/11–347: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Argentina


A–505. With reference to the Department’s telegram no. 851 dated September 12, 1947,17 and to subsequent communications from Brussels and Frankfort concerning shipments of tanks from Belgium to Argentina, there is quoted below for your information telegram no. 1659 dated October 24 from Brussels:

“De Gruben asked Embassy officer call this afternoon and stated following:

  • “1. Belgium desperately seeking cereals and has encountered difficulties with hard bargaining Argentines. Nevertheless by Licensing export of 226 tanks has received following at price reductions indicated 20,000 tons wheat at 45 pesos instead 60, 70 tons barley at 35 instead 45 plus small amount of rye. De Gruben did not know price units. Transactions give Belgium 100,000 tons cereal saving many hundred million francs.
  • “2. Belgium now negotiating for 200,000 tons corn at 25 instead 35 pesos but negotiations difficult and at one time broken off due Argentine complaints of quality of tanks.
  • “3. Belgian policy re arms export is freely issue licenses all and any legitimate and friendly governments.
  • “4. Belgian Government was not a party to the purchases of the tanks by the Overseas Trading Company from British surplus. While not concerned with sale and not wishing to offend US he asks USA consider great importance wheat importation to Belgium. Belgium won’t change its policy followed until now unless faced with strong and definite US objection plus some assurance US will supply quid pro quo now received from Argentina.
  • “5. Belgian Government not fostering tank exports but merely issuing export licenses in driblets when absolutely required to obtain Argentine cereals. De Gruben states Spaak18 aware foregoing and approves.”

  1. Not printed.
  2. Paul-Henri Spaak, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.