123 Briggs, Ellis O.: Telegram

The Ambassador in Uruguay (Briggs) to the Secretary of State


31. Commotion over Tomlinson February 12 broadcast1 shows little signs abating in Montevideo and my position, because of continued official silence from Washington, becoming increasingly difficult.

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It is likewise becoming increasingly difficult for me to understand both that silence and reason why, over two months after Dr. Bramuglia’s visit to Washington, I have still not been informed his remarks re me. I can infer their general tenor from press account Tomlinson broadcast, from Ray’s telegram 172,2 February 17 and from other indirect sources, but have not been informed by my own home office and until I am so informed I must reserve right to make subsequent comment.

I first learned I was object Argentine hostility from Uruguayan source, specifically President of Uruguay who told me in December 1947, 15 months ago. News continued reaching me from time to time from him and other Uruguayan officials but these Argentine activities, and statements reportedly made about me by President Perón, seemed so silly that I found it difficult credit them or to believe that Argentine Government seriously thought it could dictate to our government what Ambassador should represent US in third country. It was not until November 5 last, these reports having become even more persistent, that I sent personal letter about them to Woodward ARA.3 Moreover, it was not until matter had reached official record in correspondence from Embassy Buenos Aires to Department following approach to Ambassador Bruce by Perón’s police chief that I reported officially to Department what appeared to be happening (mydesps 755, November 18 and 762, November 194). Furthermore, at about same time Ambassador Bruce was good enough on his own initiative, before Bramuglia’s visit to Washington to write personally to Mr. Lovett indicating Argentine complaint had no justification.

Matter not without its amusing aspects, for example somewhat novel contribution to doctrine of non-intervention inherent these Argentine activities and indicated most recently by Bramugiia’s remark to Ray (Buenos Aires telegram 172, February 175) that Perón now “has no objection” my continuing as US Ambassador to Uruguay. On other hand, it is becoming less easy enjoy these aspects in view growing discomfort to which Department’s failure to back me up is exposing me. Uruguayan officials, apparently well informed by their own sources of this whole matter, appear bewildered that press story remains unanswered by Department.

I, therefore, respectfully request immediate investigation be made of my service in Uruguay. I make this request in confident expectation that Department will be equally eager establish facts and whatever [Page 785] may underlie them (including possible relevance certain matters described mytel 30, February 176).

As contribution to that investigation, I repeat following excerpt from paragraph 6 mytel 30: “At no time have I considered it any part my duties as Ambassador to Uruguay to interest myself in, much less participate in, Argentine–US relations. I have closely followed Uruguayan-Argentine relations which are of absorbing interest to Uruguay. But I have volunteered no comments on Argentina to Uruguayan officials and have taken no initiative in discussing Uruguayan-Argentine relations. My reporting has been limited to conveying the views of President of Uruguay and other officials his government when they have taken initiative of discussing them with me.”

To extent so-called Argentine allegations are known to me, I declare them to be false and preposterous. I also respectfully request this message be brought personal attention Secretary and Ambassador Bruce as well as Messrs. Peurifoy, Ravndal and Daniels.

Sent Department 31, repeated Buenos Aires for Ray only.

  1. Ambassador Briggs reported in telegram 29 from Montevideo, February 16, 1949, not printed, that a Washington UP despatch published in Montevideo February 13 quoted from Edward Tomlinson’s radio report that Argentine Foreign Minister Juan D. Bramuglia, when recently in Washington, had requested Ambassador Briggs’ removal from Montevideo (123 Briggs, Ellis O.).
  2. Not printed. Guy W. Ray was Counselor of Embassy at Buenos Aires.
  3. Letter not printed, but see telegram 380, November 6, 1948, from Montevideo and telegram 1075, December 23, 1948, to Buenos Aires, in Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ix, pp. 297, 309.
  4. Neither printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.