Memorandum of Conversation, by James F. O’Connor, Jr. of the Office of South American Affairs



  • Call on Secretary by Ambassador Nufer.
  • Participants: The Secretary
  • Ambassador Albert F. Nufer
  • OSAJames F. O’Connor, Jr.

The Secretary asked Ambassador Nufer about Argentine developments. Ambassador Nufer described briefly the recent improvement in US-Argentine relations following Dr. Milton Eisenhower’s visit to Buenos Aires.

The Secretary asked what Argentina wanted from the US. Ambassador Nufer replied that during the course of his call on President Perón prior to departing for the US, Perón had referred in undetailed fashion to the desirability of some US assistance—placing the matter on the basis of strategic military considerations—in connection with such projects as construction of a steel plant, expansion of naval shipyard facilities, and development of petroleum resources. Perón had intimated that at least this last was, however, a project for private capital.

The Secretary said that the policy of the Administration was to encourage foreign nations to look to private capital sources than to US public funds for financial assistance, since the US taxpayer had to foot [Page 447] the bill in the latter case. He stated that Argentina had been developed initially by British and US private capital and that it should logically continue to look to these sources.

Ambassador Nufer said that the Argentine interest would be in loan rather than grant aid, to which the Secretary replied that this was all the same from the point of view of raising taxes. The Secretary commented that there was a possibility that a new semi-official lending agency—in which private as well as public capital would participate—might be formed, and that such an institution, which would be in a position to make some “soft loans”,1 could be approached to furnish certain foreign financial assistance.

Ambassador Nufer pointed out that it was important to keep Argentina on our side in the interest of promoting hemispheric solidarity and having her firmly aligned with us in the fight against Communism.

The Secretary complimented Ambassador Nufer on the job which he was doing in Buenos Aires.

  1. Loans repayable in local currency rather than in dollars.