710.35/10–2848: Telegram

The Ambassador in Brazil ( Johnson ) to the Secretary of State


1152. I saw Acting Foreign Minister Accioly today at his request. He said that he had been asked by President Dutra to tell me of his growing concern at the situation in the Argentine, with particular reference to Argentine intrigues in Uruguay and Paraguay. Mr. Accioly explained in some detail Brazilian apprehensions and what he said tallied closely with statements made by Mr. Rubens de Mello1 reported in mytel 1133, October 21, 8 p. m.2 Mr. Accioly in fact referred to my talk with Mr. de Mello. Acting Foreign Minister particularly emphasized lack of confidence which his govt has in Perón3 and their growing apprehension that Perón’s megalomania will lead him into dangerous adventures. It is not a question, he said, of a direct attack on Uruguay or Paraguay, but of Argentine infiltration and intrigue and possible fomenting of disturbances which would result in changes of government in those countries subservient to Perón. Ultimate ambition of the Argentine in the opinion here would be a Platine confederation dominated by the Argentine in which Uruguay and Paraguay would enter ostensibly of their own volition but in fact through governments under Argentine domination. If the Argentine is able to bring about such changes in the regimes in Uruguay and Paraguay, the result would be a situation dangerous to Brazil and Mr. Accioly said that they felt compelled to ask “where Brazil stands with the United States”.

I replied to Mr. Accioly that I would, of course, report his remarks to my govt and would let him know what answer I might receive as soon as possible. I said, however, that without awaiting a reply, I could assure him that the United States was, as he knew, vitally interested in the safety and peace of the hemisphere and that we would faithfully observe all of our treaty obligations. Mr. Accioly in this [Page 351] connection remarked that the Rio Convention4 was not yet in force. I am convinced from this talk with Mr. Accioly as well as previous indications that the Brazilian Govt is receiving information from Uruguay, Paraguay and the Argentine which is increasingly grave in character and that they are genuinely alarmed. The great rise in the armament level of the Argentine5 which gives that country a position considerably superior to what it was at the end of the war is a matter of real anxiety. Although I did not tell Mr. Accioly that I had received a reply to the representations of Mr. Rubens de Mello, (the Dept’s 741, October 22, 7 p. m.6) I did point out to him our interest in the general peace and amity of the entire hemisphere, and consequently our desire for Argentina to be fully integrated in the American system. I commented in this connection that in my personal opinion the American military mission in the Argentine, which Mr. Accioly mentioned, should serve rather as a guarantee than as an indication of any aggressive intentions on part of the Argentine. It would not be likely, I said, that the Argentine could be planning any foreign adventures which would be hidden from these American instructors who are teaching them how to use important portions of their armaments. I likewise pointed out to the Acting Foreign Minister that there had been no change in our long and loyal friendship with Brazil which was as firm as ever and that I felt certain he himself was convinced of that. I said that in time of peace it was impossible for the US in its relations with other American countries to take sides openly, that without regard to the character of Perón or the nature of the present Argentine Government, it seemed to me to be in the interest of all of us for the Argentine to be made a genuine part of the American system. Mr. Accioly received my remarks politely but there is no doubt in my mind that he and his government are very desirous to have from us something which they can consider a reinsurance of their present position. They are thinking essentially in terms of a future situation which they fear will arise in the event of a war between the US and Soviet Union. They cannot understand this great increase in Argentine armament as they do not believe that the Argentine would be involved in any world war but would remain neutral at almost any cost.

If something cannot be done to quiet the sincere, even if exaggerated, apprehensions of Brazil and possibly Uruguay and Paraguay, continued increase of armaments by Argentina may lead to an armament race between that country and its neighbors with undesirable results. [Page 352] I understand that it may be difficult for us to meet this situation in a manner entirely satisfactory to Brazil and the two small countries of the River Plate, but a total lack of response cannot but prejudice the attitude of Brazil towards US. They have no confidence in Perón and consider him a megalomaniac, capable of anything which he may think he can get away with.

Sent Dept 1152, repeated Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Asuncion, La Paz.

  1. Chief, Economic Division, Brazilian Foreign Office.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Juan D. Perón, President of Argentina.
  4. For text, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1838. For documentation on the Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. viii, pp. 1 ff.
  5. For documentation on the position of the United States with respect to Argentine armament, see pp. 310 ff.
  6. Not printed.