811.244/6–2949: Telegram

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


226. Swift and Company informed Embassy yesterday its bid to supply 10,500,000 pounds frozen beef to US armed forces in Germany had been accepted by Army Quartermaster. This is highly important piece business for Uruguay especially since dollar payment amount approximately 3 million involved.

Today Swift [informed?] Uruguayan government report that after bids were closed, a slightly lower Argentine bid was made and accepted.1

If this true and Army had in fact already accepted Uruguayan bid, Department will well imagine extent of adverse impression in this country. President Uruguay has already expressed his concern and urgently bespeaks our good offices. Has already telegraphed Ambassador Domínguez Cámpora.

Would appreciate receiving reply soonest.2

  1. An aide-mémoire from the Secretary of State to Ambassador Dominguez Campora dated July 12, explained in some detail the exact bidding procedure for this contract; the bidding took place at the Army Quartermaster’s Market Center in Chicago on June 24, June 27, and June 28 (811.244/7–1249).
  2. After a month of exchanges between U.S. and Uruguayan officials in both Washington and Montevideo, the Department of State and the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Relations issued a joint press release concerning the matter on Aug. 3. Differences over the meat contract were said to stem from “… unfortunate circumstances which were completely inadvertent”; and traditional cordial relations between the two governments were reaffirmed. For text of the statement, see Department of State Bulletin, August 22, 1949, p. 278.