Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

Participants: Dr. Juan Atilio Bramuglia—Argentine Foreign Minister
Dr. Jerónimo Remorino—Argentine Ambassador
Mr. Lovett—Acting Secretary
Mr. William D. Pawley
Mr. Sohar E. del Campo—Interpreter
Mr. Tewksbury—RPA

The Argentine Foreign Minister inquired concerning the Secretary’s condition, and I gave him information regarding his progress. I again explained that the Secretary was very sorry that he would not be able to see the Minister.

Dr. Bramuglia first discussed his satisfaction at having seen Mr. Howard Bruce of ECA.1 He explained that economic matters were completely outside his field but that Mr. Bruce had been very reassuring to him. I explained that I had discussed the possibility of Argentine purchases with Mr. Bruce prior to his visit and that he had: been optimistic.

Dr. Bramuglia explained that Mr. Bruce had clearly pointed out that it was necessary to have the maximum utilization of US dollars in the ERP and that it was hoped that in offshore purchases every facility would be given by the Latin American countries for the acceptances of the currencies of the purchasing country and that it was hoped that a substantial part of the purchases would be paid for by the importation into Latin America of European products. Dr. Bramuglia said that he appreciated this position if the maximum benefits from ERP were to be achieved. He said that Mr. Bruce intimated that, in addition to the purchases referred to above, there would probably be purchases in Argentina amounting to several hundred million dollars. At this point Mr. Pawley said that he thought there might be some misunderstanding regarding the amount, for he understood Mr. Bruce to indicate that purchases in the near future might run to a hundred million dollars. After a general discussion, the Minister agreed that Mr. Bruce said it was impossible to make any definite estimate as to the probable financing of Argentine products, and he agreed that the rough estimate of one hundred million dollars might prove to be high or low. Dr. Bramuglia appeared to be entirely satisfied with his talk with Mr. Bruce and apparently felt optimistic as to future ECA relations.2

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Dr. Bramuglia then stated that his field was that of politics and not of economics and that he would much prefer to discuss the field with which he was familiar. He repeated some of his statements of the preceding meeting regarding the desires of Argentina to cooperate with the nations of the Western Hemisphere in important world problems, specifically mentioning communism.

After some general discussion, I took the opportunity to discuss press relations with Argentina. At some length I outlined to Dr. Bramuglia the strong feelings which developed among the press in the United States, which were supported by slogans stressing the dangers of totalitarianism, fascism, dictatorships, Nazis, etc. I explained that, whereas, the press sentiment had been vehement in its denunciation of these types of government and against specific governments, I felt that a more temperate attitude was gradually developing. I stressed the fact that the press regards itself as a sort of fourth power which operates with complete independence and resents any action which it regards as curbing its activity. I expressed regret that the press, both in this country and in Argentina, has at times severely criticized the government in the other country and that this obviously complicates our relations. I expressed the hope that in the United States and in Argentina too much emphasis would not be given to press items of a derogatory character, particularly in those cases where the criticism was of an irresponsible and unfounded character. I stressed the fact, however, that there were certain measures which have been taken in Argentina which have appeared to be of a restrictive character and which have been construed by the American press as of a dictatorial nature and that this has resulted in unfavorable comments. I expressed the hope that, if there had been measures of this type taken, they would be corrected in order not to unnecessarily aggravate our friendly relations. Dr. Bramuglia recognized the importance of the press and expressed the hope that friendly relations with it could be maintained.

Mention was again made of the desire of the Argentine Government to have an opportunity to discuss in advance certain problems of mutual interest which might be brought up at various conferences. Mr. Pawley mentioned the fact that, in connection with the forthcoming economic conference to be held in Buenos Aires, it might be advantageous to have preliminary discussions with Argentine officials as to certain proposals which might be jointly supported. Mr. Pawley remarked that it sometimes happened at inter-American meetings that there were twenty republics lined up against the United States. He felt that certain projects of interest to both nations could profitably be discussed in an effort to reach a practical stand which could be supported by the two countries. Dr. Bramuglia felt this would be highly desirable.

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On leaving, we both expressed the pleasure of having had the opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interest in this frank and personal manner.

Robert A. Lovett
  1. Deputy Administrator of the Economic Cooperation Administration.
  2. Documentation on the policy and action of the Argentine Government in the international trade area is filed, in part, under 711.35, 611.3531, 835.5151, 840.50 Recovery, 811.503135, 103ECA, 835.1561, 835.5034, in Department of State files.