Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President 1
- Development of Rapprochement with Argentina
In response to your memorandum2 on our relations with Argentina, it is my general feeling that if improvements continue at the present pace—and if we can avoid any setback—matters are developing about as favorably as we could reasonably expect. While the attached paper summarizes recent advances, if you should wish to discuss our Argentine relations further I should be glad to do so at your convenience. Despite Peron’s present friendliness, we should not be altogether surprised if he should fly off on another anti-American tangent.
I agree that Peron’s disinclination to restore the newspaper La Prensa to its former owner (whom he considers to symbolize the feudal economic and social structure which he has tried to reform), and the tenacious interest of the U.S. press in this matter will delay any real public acceptance of Peron in this country. The New York Times has been particularly critical and the United Press, partly because of its important financial connections with La Prensa’s previous owner, has apparently spearheaded the drive for restoration of the paper. For his part, Peron’s position, firmly and publicly stated, is that he will never return La Prensa. Since it now belongs to the Argentine General Confederation of Labor, which numbers 5 million members, he would probably find it difficult to reverse himself even if he wished to do so. I am hopeful that if Peron continues on his present conciliatory course, American public opinion will gradually become more friendly to him.[Page 451]
Peron’s suspicion that the U.S. Government was secretly working against him and inspiring press attacks was apparently finally allayed only with the general clearing of the atmosphere which resulted from Dr. Eisenhower’s visit to Argentina last summer. I fear that this new and, I hope, sincere confidence of Peron in our intentions would be undermined and possibly destroyed if we were to indicate in any way that we considered the La Prensa case a fit subject for official U.S. advice or discussions—particularly in view of our policy and commitments against intervention in the internal affairs of the other American nations.
To my knowledge, there are at present no significant restrictions on the travel of U.S. citizens within Argentina, although there are limitations on the travel to Uruguay of residents of Argentina, including U.S. citizens. Our Embassy in Buenos Aires has been able to secure exceptions to these controls in particular cases.