Miller Files, Lot 53 D 26

The Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Miller) to the Ambassador in Argentina (Bunker)


Dear Ellsworth: Your letter of August 61 expressed your concern over our position regarding Argentine membership in the Pulp and Paper Committee.2 In this letter you expressed the fear that we have deviated from our “correct” position and expressed the view that you are unable to see how denial of membership in the Committee gains any real objective.

In reply, all that I can say is that we are not denying Argentina membership since membership is not ours to deny. In any event, even if we are changing our position since the original invitation was issued,3 we are doing this not in order to penalize Argentina but rather to save the Pulp and Paper Committee. The whole work of the Committee depends upon the voluntary cooperation of Canadian producers [Page 1105] of newsprint and American newspaper publishers with whom we are trying to work out a program of voluntary reduction of consumption. Any chance of success would be totally undermined by the admission of Argentina to the group. It is perfectly arguable that the invitation should never have been issued to Argentina in the first place. However, even if a mistake were made at that time, this is no excuse for committing a bigger one by our insisting on Argentine membership and torpedoing the Committee’s work at this delicate stage. The Central Group of the IMC today ruled that the invitations originally issued by the tripartite group had lapsed and that Argentine membership in the Wool and Paper Committees was for the determination of these committees and not of the Central Group since the committees are now set up and functioning. After talking to Alberto Lleras,4 Win Brown5 and the people in ARA, I decided to take the bull by the horns and I went out to see Paz today to have a frank discussion of the situation with him. I told him that in principle we favored Argentine participation in the work of the IMC and that Argentina would be welcomed with open arms in the Wool Committee. I said, however, that if Argentina should press for membership in the Pulp Committee there was no doubt that in view of the La Prensa case there would be opposition on the part of some of the countries to Argentine participation in that Committee. I specifically ducked what our attitude would be merely stressing that there would be opposition. I went so far as to make clear that I was not predicting one way or the other how the issue would be decided but I said that I assumed that he wished me as a personal friend to warn him (prevenir) of a possibly embarrassing situation. I said that it seemed to me the wisest course to follow would be for Argentina, once the Central Group advised it that membership in the two committees was a matter which would be determined by those committees, should make application only to the Wool Committee. I said that we would also look with sympathy to Argentine membership in other committees and I mentioned specifically tungsten.

Paz expressed himself deeply appreciative of my frankness and said that my advice seemed entirely wise to him. I discussed at some length with complete frankness the attitude of the American newspaper publishers and the Canadian newsprint producers. I also emphasized the long period of time that had elapsed since the extension of the invitations to Argentina and their decision to accept them, the reconstitution in the meantime of the Central Group and the progress that had been made in the Paper Committee towards the voluntary plan. I also suggested that a perfectly acceptable solution to Argentina’s newsprint problem lay in the fact that possibly the Scandinavians will have stocks in 1951 which they might be willing to sell to Argentina.

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I don’t know what the reaction will be in Buenos Aires to the foregoing. I suppose to some extent it depends upon how Paz puts it up to his own Government. At least as of now I think that we have followed the best course in this difficult dilemma.

Most of the hour’s meeting with Paz this morning was spent in very frank and open discussion by him of the internal political situation in Argentina and of the determination of himself and Remorino to work together in complete harmony towards improving relations with the United States. I will try to write you a complete account of this from Panama but since I am leaving the office in half an hour I must cut off now.

With kindest regards,

Sincerely yours,

Edward G. Miller, Jr.
  1. Not printed.
  2. This subject had been discussed in a conversation at the Department of State, July 18, 1951, between Mr. Miller, Mr. Mann, Director of the Office of South American Affairs Fletcher Warren, Officer in Charge of River Plate Affairs Archibald R. Randolph, and Mr. Dearborn. The memorandum of that conversation, by Mr. Randolph, dated July 18, reads as follows:

    “The policy of ARA with respect to Argentina’s acceptance of the invitation extended by the United States to participate in the Paper and Pulp Committee will be (1) The United States if requested to act as sponsor for Argentina’s membership will decline with the explanation to the Argentines that the ill treatment accorded the press in Argentina makes it impossible for the United States to acquiesce. It should be stated frankly to the Argentines if the situation arises why the United States cannot sponsor Argentine membership for the Paper and Pulp Committee. (2) In the event that a vote is called in the Committee to vote on Argentina’s membership the United States will abstain.” (398.392/7–1851)

  3. The invitation had been extended during the Foreign Ministers Conference in Washington, but the Argentine Government had delayed its acceptance until mid-July.
  4. Alberto Lleras Camargo, Secretary General of the Organization of American States.
  5. Winthrop G. Brown, Acting Director, Office of International Materials Policy.