The Ambassador in Argentina ( Messersmith ) to the Secretary of State
401. ReDept’s 272, April 743 and 281, April 8.44 I have had number of talks with FonMin 45 and during last few weeks, and more particularly yesterday and today, with regard to desirability of a bilateral commercial Air Agreement. These conversations have followed those I have been having over period of some months with President and FonMin on same matter.
I have not been holding conversations recently with Argentina air officials, as I have not believed they serve any purpose; but President and FonMin have been carrying on conversations with them.
During conversation with FonMin yesterday and today he informed me he was convinced an agreement must be reached without delay and that it should be reached before the Montreal meeting, so there will be no divergencies in this matter in the Americas when that meeting takes place. He has now informed me that Argentine air officials realize they must modify their position to meet ours and from his statements I am convinced that it is ready to make an agreement without division of traffic provision on which air officials have been so far insistent.
I believe therefore time is opportune for negotiations and that highest and most competent our officials should be sent immediately [Page 241] to Buenos Aires to negotiate agreement. I told FonMin that I thought conversations should take place here, although I had previously been of opinion they could be held best in Washington. The Minister said that it was important that they be held here, for if the Argentine air officials were too technical and too unyielding, it would be easier for the officials of the Government to assure an agreement if the conversations were held here than in Washington. I am very much in accord with this opinion.
The situation here is such that I believe the time is now very opportune for the conclusion of an agreement, and as there is so little time between now and Montreal, I strongly advise departure Washington as soon as possible our delegation. I will be glad to assist and believe I have laid the necessary background during past months; but I am not competent, nor are my associates adequately informed to carry on negotiation agreement, and for this reason believe it important not only that our negotiators arrive soonest possible but also that they be the best we can send. I hope very much Landis46 can come.
I discussed with FonMin suspension by Panagra certain services without this suspension being construed as abandonment of frequencies; and FonMin stated that in his opinion the time had come to inform the Argentine aviation officials that their attitude regarding this was arbitrary, and he hoped to bring about in the next few days appropriate approval of Panagra plans without this being construed as abandonment of frequencies. I stressed this latter as I think it would be unwise for us to give the impression we are abandoning these frequencies.
I have put my best into this matter of the air negotiations and it has come to a head rather more quickly than I anticipated, and it is in my opinion important that we seize this moment to negotiate and for this reason cannot stress too strongly immediate arrival delegation. Minister assures me Argentine officials will be ready to begin conversations on arrival our negotiators.