835.24/4–348: Telegram

The Chargé in Belgium (Millard) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

ReDeptel 392, March 16.1 After receipt copy British Embassy note, presented note March 31 to Foreign Office stating we support British representations that no export license be accorded for 365 tanks Argentina.

Today Spaak and Vander Statten-Waillet2 told me that they desire authorize export more than 600 tanks Argentina for which Belgium will obtain 10,000 tons butter and 10,000 tons vegetable fats saving 20,000,000 pesos or $6,000,000. Spaak said that we had not officially protested [Page 314] previous shipments (see Deptel 1615 November 73) and that 2,500 tons butter already en route Belgium.

I referred to my conversation with De Gruben4 (see fifth paragraph Embassy despatch December 115) and remarked that I had repeatedly asked that Embassy be informed future shipments. Added that De Gruben’s statement that export license for 90 tanks had been refused in December (see enclosure one Embdesp 1704, December 235) doubtless gave Department to understand no further shipments would be licensed. Pointed out we had only by chance heard of 365 (Embtel 474, March 85). Said that although lacking specific information re Department’s policy it was my opinion that shipment additional 600 odd tanks Argentina would render most complicated entire question relative standing South American armies and that it would no doubt cause grave difficulties our hemisphere defense program. Spaak replied that receipt butter and vegetable fats would assure derationing Belgium and refusal ship tanks would embarrass Belgian Government. I observed that saving $6,000,000 was negligible if it involved South American dis-equilibrium.

He said he would discuss the matter with the Acting Secretary upon arrival Washington (see Deptel 481, April 15).

Spaak inquired since agreement had been concluded with Argentina what excuses should he give for cancelling agreement. Could he say that he was doing so at the request United States Government? Could we help Belgium obtain fats which in such event Argentina might refuse ship Belgium?

Statement of Department’s reasons for objecting shipment tanks Argentina would be helpful in Embassy’s discussions with Foreign Office.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Foreign Commerce, respectively.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. viii, p. 233.
  4. Baron Hervé de Gruben, Secretary-General of the Belgian Foreign Office.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.