The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Argentina 1


613. Department concurs your view that Peron’s expression desire improve US relations, taken with his recent diminution propaganda attacks on US, creates situation more favorable for initiation of rapprochement than likely arise again for some time. Opportunity should not be lost by our failure to reply.

Following are immediate factors which in US view do impede friendlier relations between Argentina and US: 1) Peronista intensification Argentine neutralism through “third position”; 2) Peronista official and officially inspired propaganda attacks on US; 3) apprehension other Latin American countries (especially Argentina’s neighbors) to degree which might affect their friendship US if US moved closer Argentina while Peron following present exaggerated policies; 4) Peronista actions against free press and radio; 5) official Government control Argentine labor.

Department believes no substantial degree rapprochement possible unlesss Peron willing and able make bona fide changes in points 1 and 2 above paragraph. Present implementation “third position” is aid to Soviets. Peron’s attacks on US have been straight Commie line and even more helpful to Soviets than “third position”. Modification these policies would proportionately diminish point 3 as obstacle. While points 4 and 5 are internal Argentine matters and US not in position insist changes as basis for official rapprochement, it is nevertheless foregone conclusion, while Peron pursues these policies, attacks from US press and labor to which he objects will continue. In this sense, cessation these attacks in Peron’s hands.

Department shares your skepticism Peron’s statement he wants nothing from US. Until we more aware his objectives, Department would prefer to keep discussions with him in realm generalities—welcoming his desire improve relations and emphasizing importance free world should not be weakened time of crisis by tensions and doubts among own members. Toward this end Department suggests [Page 437] you follow up your February 3 conversation Peron at earliest opportunity and address him along following line:

Government United States has welcomed your statement to me regarding your desire improvement in relations between our two countries. Essential that those of us with like interests and objectives should devote our utmost energies toward maintaining united front with which we may together face common dangers. Our common traditions of freedom and liberty and collective agreements we have ratified not only are insurance against our own eventual destruction but also offer less fortunate nations of world the strength and hope which they may need to survive. We cannot, however, deal effectively with our adversaries if among ourselves there is atmosphere tension and suspicion and unless each of our nations is inspired by ardent faith in rightness of our cause. Argentina and United States are both recognized leaders American community and nature their relationship each other has direct bearing on whether American republics shall be able fulfill their proper role defense free world. Is with these thoughts in mind, Mr. President, that my Government has noted with satisfaction your statement that you desire improved relations witht United States.

Having conveyed above message to Peron, Department desires you, if circumstances appear favorable, to seek on a strictly personal and informal basis to ascertain what specifically Peron has in mind respecting improvement in Argentine-American relations, and what steps he envisages to that end. In this connection you should of course bear in mind both the difficulties which will face us and him also in any effort to improve relations and importance of time element.

  1. Drafted by Mr. Dearborn; cleared with the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs and in draft with Under Secretary Smith; and signed for the Secretary by Assistant Secretary Cabot.