The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Argentina (Ray)

No. 869

Sir: Reference is made to the Embassy’s despatch No. 2612 of May 29, 1947,84 concerning preferential treatment being given to Argentine flag vessels by the Argentine Government, in which it was stated that the Argentine Government had removed any cause or basis for official representations with respect to the preferential berthing of vessels in the port of Buenos Aires.

The Department now has been informed by Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc. that the preferential berthing arrangements were resumed a few days later and that recently this preference was extended to a vessel of the Dodero Company. For the information of the Embassy, there are attached copies of correspondence exchanged recently with Moore-McCormack Lines,85

Moore-McCormack Lines recently have instituted a complaint with the United States Maritime Commission under Section 26 of the Shipping Act of 191686 which requires the Maritime Commission to investigate [Page 269] discriminatory actions of this nature. A copy of the Maritime Commission’s letter of July 9, 1947 to Moore-McCormack Lines is enclosed.

As stated in the Department’s telegram No. 383 of May 2, 1947, the Department is of the opinion that the preferential berthing arrangement in the port of Buenos Aires is discriminatory and gives Argentine shipping an unfair competitive advantage over American shipping. In this connection officers of the Department have been informed by officers of Moore-McCormack that Argentine shipping interests are using this discrimination to obtain cargoes from the United States on the basis that shipments on their vessels are delivered more promptly. Obviously, if this discrimination continues, shippers will use Argentine vessels in preference to American vessels to avoid delays of their shipments.

It is realized that the Embassy has investigated this matter thoroughly and that the matter has been discussed with the Argentine Government. However, it appears that the Argentine Government persists in its discrimination. If the Embassy is able to confirm that the Argentine Government has continued to discriminate against United States shipping, the Embassy is requested to review again this situation with the Argentine Government with a view to eliminating this discrimination against American shipping. It should be pointed out that Argentine shipping is not discriminated against in United States ports.

Since the Maritime Commission is most concerned, it is hoped that the Argentine Government will be able to afford early relief in the matter. The Embassy will recall that this Government has been most generous in its sales of ships to Argentina so that Argentina has been able to build up a merchant fleet far in excess of that operated before the war, which few, if any, other countries have been able to do.

It is requested also that the Embassy submit a complete report on this matter which can be transmitted to the Maritime Commission for use in connection with its investigation.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Garrison Norton
  1. Summarized in Mr. Ohmans’ memorandum of June 12, p. 266.
  2. Enclosures not printed.
  3. 39 Stat. 728.