810.00B/10–2848: Airgram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Argentina

top secret

A–510. Re Embassy’s A–497 of October 281 Department’s views are as follows with reference President Perón’s observations:

This Government of course agrees with President Perón that Communism is a very serious problem in the American republics and greatly appreciates receiving these constructive thoughts of the President on the subject. The Department will be very pleased to receive the President’s current proposal and to give it careful consideration in as much as this Government is actively interested in effective action toward a resolution of the problem. This Government believes, however, that before deciding upon a specific inter-American conference or discussion on this subject, it would first be logical and systematic [Page 203]to utilize cooperative arrangements in this field which have already been agreed upon and existing channels for preliminary exchanges of views, for a sufficient length of time to obtain more complete information about the aspects of the problem which might require further inter-American discussion or negotiation. In this respect, the United States Government hopes that it will be possible to take steps promptly to translate into vigorous action Resolution No. XXXII approved at the Bogotá Conference last April to exchange information systematically on this subject. Moreover, the Department believes that it would be very advisable to make every effort to perfect the specific liaison on Communist matters between Argentina and the United States. The Department understands that, while President Perón approved and requested this specific liaison arrangement, which resulted in the assignment of an exceptionally qualified officer, … the arrangement has not gone into practical effect through the apparent failure of subordinate Argentine officials to follow the instructions the Department understands were issued by President Perón.

In conveying the above views to President Perón, in your discretion, you are authorized to mention that the Department has become discouraged concerning the inadequate use made of [the officer’s] services—particularly in the light of the urgent and special recommendations for his assignment made by President Peron and yourself—and that the Department is considering recommending his withdrawal for use elsewhere. The Department is encouraged, by President Peron’s views reported in you’re a–497, to believe that … [the officer’s] services may now be used to the full and hopes that President Peron will wish to issue further instructions for that purpose.

In this connection and with reference to the Embassy’s despatch No. 685 of October 26, 1948,2 the Department is inclined to agree that the failure of present liaison arrangements, and their preceding two-year record of failure, may be due to a lack of worthwhile information on the part of Argentine authorities, including the Solveyra Caseres office, the Secçion Especial and the Coordinatión Federal. The Argentines undoubtedly have a great mass of information but previous admissions by the Chief of Coordinación Federal to an Embassy officer were relatively clear that this information mostly referred to relatively overt activities. The value of even these data is suspect in the light of such conversations as that with President Perón reported by Mr. Ray3 to have occurred just before his recent departure from Buenos Aires. At that time it is understood that the President showed Mr. Ray a chart prepared by his secret operatives showing the functions of officers of the US Embassy; this chart was [Page 204]in considerable error and, furthermore, included US newspaper correspondents as members of the Embassy staff. Such deficiencies in Argentine intelligence led the Department to doubt the accuracy of President Perón’s information covering Communist activities.

It is of course borne in mind by the Department that Communist intelligence agents would probably learn of the discussions that might be held at any conference of the kind proposed whether it were secret or not. The discussions would of necessity include consideration of such drastic suggestions that this intelligence would probably reduce still further the possibility of any eventual reconciliation or modus vivendi between the East and the West. Nevertheless, if the exchange of information between Argentina and the US and among the other American republics were to reveal very concrete reasons for a conference, this consideration would not preclude such a conference to discuss practical preventive and remedial measures.

Lovett
  1. Not printed; it reported President Perón’s informal recommendation of a secret inter-American conference to stamp out Communism in the western hemisphere.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Guy W. Ray, Counselor of Embassy.