The Chargé in Argentina ( Mallory ) to the Department of State
In connection with the general condition of United States-Argentine relations and with special reference to the positions to be taken by the two countries at the Conference of Foreign Ministers of the American Republics,4 to be held in Washington beginning March 26, 1951, it was considered desirable by Assistant Secretary Miller5 to convey certain thoughts and considerations to President Juan Perón. Inasmuch as former Ambassador Messersmith, a person who has had a sympathetic and understanding attitude towards Argentina’s problems, who has had a long and cordial friendship with President Perón and who has spoken and can speak to the President with great frankness, was proceeding to Argentina, Mr. Miller requested him to approach the President. In the letters referred to, Mr. Miller provided certain background information in addition to discussions held in Washington.
Mr. Messersmith arrived in Buenos Aires on January 29, 1951.6 Arrangements were completed for him to see the President. He has prepared full memoranda of his conversations, which are enclosed. Inasmuch as the memoranda themselves are the important source of information, [Page 1080] no attempt will be made in this despatch to summarize them. It may be pointed out, in explanation, that three memoranda are enclosed,7 of which Enclosure No. 3 not only constitutes a statement of what Mr. Messersmith considered he could say on behalf of the Department of State but was so prepared that it could be translated and given to President Peron following his request.
The reporting officer, in connection with this matter and the three enclosures, observes that the attitudes and comments made by President Perón are, by and large, quite favorable to an understanding of the position of the United States. This reported attitude is not reflected in other facets of Argentine life, including the Administration press, the attitude and statements of his ministers and advisers. A condition previously noted still exists, namely, that it is difficult to determine whether to believe the President, who speaks in private, or to judge from the acts of the press and the government, which speak and act in public. His apparent unwillingness to face up in public or to condition the people of Argentina to realities is of paramount importance. It is believed that following this introduction by Mr. Messersmith Assistant Secretary Miller, during his projected visit the first days of March 1951, will find it desirable to endeavor to obtain precise and categoric definitions of President Perón’s stand.
- Juan Domingo Perón, President of Argentina.↩
- Mr. Messersmith had served as Ambassador to Argentina, 1946–1947. Shortly after his retirement from the Foreign Service in August 1947, he had accepted a position as Chairman of the Board, Mexico Power and Light Company, an affiliate of a large public utility in Buenos Aires known as CADE (Compañía Argentina de Electricidad).↩
- Reference is to the Fourth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of American States, held in Washington, March 26–April 7, 1951; documentation on the meeting may be found on pp. 925 ff.↩
- Edward G. Miller, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.↩
- Mr. Messersmith was in Buenos Aires from January 29 to March 2. During that time he had several conversations with President Perón. Extensive memoranda of his discussions with the President were transmitted to the Department of State under cover of this despatch, and also despatch 1320, from Buenos Aires, March 6, 1951 (611.35/3–651).↩
- Enclosures 1 and 2 are not printed.↩
- Mr. Messersmith’s conversation with President Perón on February 9, which took place at the President’s home in Olivos and is reported in enclosure 2, covered a wide range of topics in addition to the Foreign Ministers Conference, including Argentina’s economic problems and the necessity for the nations of the Western Hemisphere to collaborate in the interests of hemisphere defense.↩
- Ricardo Balbín, a political opponent of President Perón, had been arrested while campaigning as a candidate for the governorship of Buenos Aires during the provincial elections in March 1950, subsequently sentenced to 5 years in prison, but pardoned and released in early January 1951.↩
- For the Department of State’s view of President Perón’s doctrine of the Third Position, see the Policy Statement for Argentina, p. 1112.↩
- For text of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty), opened for signature at Rio de Janeiro, September 2, 1947, and entered into force for the United States, December 3, 1948, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 1838, or 62 Stat. (pt. 2) 1681.↩
- For text, see Department of State Treaty Series (TS) No. 993, or 59 Stat. 1031.↩
- For previous documentation on this subject see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. viii, pp. 95–100.↩