810.50 Buenos Aires/12–148

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. H. Gerald Smith, Adviser, Office of Financial and Development Policy1


Subject: Action Regarding Strategic Materials at the Buenos Aires Economic Conference2

Participants: H. Gerald Smith, OFD
Edwin M. Martin, ITP3

In response to a question which I raised earlier with him, and following a brief conversation which I had had with Mr. Kennedy, IR,4 Mr. Martin telephoned to say that it seemed wiser to maintain the position which we had taken prior to the Ninth International Conference of American States at Bogotá regarding strategic materials, i.e., that the United States should not take any initiative in endeavoring to obtain commitments from the Latin American Governments at a multilateral meeting of this character regarding the exploitation of strategic materials which would be of importance to the United States. This decision was based on the belief that the immediate reaction of the Latin American countries to United States’ requests for their cooperation in the exploitation of strategic materials would be to inquire what assurances or commitments the United States was prepared to make with regard to terms of purchase, financial assistance in development of such materials, et cetera. This was particularly true in the case of economically marginal production, which was the situation in many cases of such materials in Latin America, and it seemed clear that the United States, certainly on any multilateral basis, was not able at this time to make commitments regarding the exploitation or purchase of strategic materials in Latin America which were commercially unprofitable.

  1. Copy addressed to the Director, Office of American Republic Affairs (Daniels).
  2. For documentation on the proposed Conference, see pp. 73 ff.
  3. Acting Director of the Office of International Trade Policy.
  4. Donald D. Kennedy, Chief of the International Resources Division.