The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Argentina

No. 47

Sir: I enclose for the Embassy’s information a copy of a letter dated December 24, 1947 addressed to the President of the United States98 by the Chairman of the United States Maritime Commission with further reference to the action of the Argentine Government in assigning exclusive rights to certain piers and warehouses in the port of Buenos Aires to the Flota Mercante del Estado, a government-owned corporation operating vessels. The letter was referred to the Secretary of State for appropriate action. Although the Department appreciates [Page 278] that the decree mentioned in the letter from the Maritime Commission has been rescinded by the Argentine Government, and will so inform the Maritime Commission when the further information requested below has been received, the letter reflects the concern with which the Maritime Commission, as well as the Department, views discrimination against American shipping.

In the above relation reference is made to the Embassy’s despatches no. 27 of January 12, 1948 and no. 3248 of November 26, 1947 enclosing a copy of note no. 694 dated November 20, 1947, and a translation of the same,1 from the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In its closing paragraph the Ministry’s note states that the American shipping firms are on a basis of absolute equality with national organizations as concerns the obtaining of concessions within the port zone of Buenos Aires, and that it is only necessary that those interested submit their applications to the appropriate authorities. While there undoubtedly has been a great improvement in the port situation at Buenos Aires, it is not clear to the Department that a preferential discrimination does not still exist in favor of vessels of the Flota Mercante del Estado in making berthing space available. The Embassy is requested to make a further investigation of this matter and report to the Department whether or not in the present circumstances there is any actual discrimination against American shipping in Argentine ports.2

For the information of the Embassy, the Department has been informed by the American Embassy at Rio de Janeiro that the discriminating berthing priority accorded to Lloyd Brasileiro has been terminated.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Willard L. Thorp
  1. Not printed.
  2. None printed.
  3. In despatch 232, March 15, 1948, the Ambassador indicated that the rescinding of objectionable decrees had not been published, that the Argentine Flota Mercante and Dodero continued to enjoy exclusive privileges, but that all ships were berthing with little delay by reason of waning ocean traffic and improvement in port administration (835.1561/3–1548).