Memorandum by Mr. Henry Dearborn of the Division of River Plate Affairs


Subject: Important Political Developments During Month

The blasts which President Perón and his Government were firing in the direction of the United States early in the month abated toward the latter part. He told Ambassador Bruce that he had to do it to maintain strong labor support for the Government, but that there was really no change in his friendship for the U.S.

The plot against the lives of President and Mrs. Perón continued to receive publicity. The most reasonable explanation for it seemed to be that the Government set a trap to catch some of its enemies, especially Cipriano Reyes, and that the victims were something less than smart to let themselves be caught so easily. The charges against Griffiths dropped out of sight toward the end of the month.

A little more is known about the Government’s proposed constitutional changes, but not much. It seems likely at this late stage that the drafts of the amendments will be sprung on the country by the Perónistas and that there will be little debate. There will apparently be something about Workers’ Rights, economic independence, a State-directed economy, and limitation of property rights.

The Argentine Government turned down our proposal for a condominium in the Antarctic—even as a basis of discussion. The note was, however, conciliatory in tone which indicates, to me at least, that Argentina’s nationalistic Antarctic expert, Pascual La Rosa, was not given the pleasure of replying to us as might have been expected.

A note which was most certainly drafted by La Rosa was received by us rejecting our reservations with respect to Argentine pronouncements asserting sovereignty over the Argentine continental shelf. This note was nationalistic and uncompromising.

The Department received from many quarters reports of Argentine intervention in the internal affairs of Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Some of these reports were more credible than others but proof was lacking in all cases.

The Spanish Foreign Minister visited Argentina and was given an enthusiastic reception by Argentine officialdom. There were reports that popular enthusiasm was not so great and that he must have observed this. While in Argentina he signed agreements on immigration, reciprocal military service and cultural matters.

Current Situation: The Perón Government is believed to be as firmly in the saddle as ever, though it is increasingly embarrassed by the dollar shortage.