Memorandum of Conversation, by the Attaché-designate in Argentina (Sandifer)1

  • Participants: The Secretary
  • Durward V. Sandifer

I called to say goodby to the Secretary today in view of my prospective departure for Buenos Aires next week.

The Secretary referred to his recent experiences in Caracas2 and said that the Argentine delegation had not been too helpful. He said that he had been told by veterans of inter-American conferences that the Argentine performance was far better than it would have been six or eight months ago. He said he had a number of conversations3 with the Argentine Foreign Minister. The Foreign Minister had referred to the steps taken by President Peron to improve relations with the United States and to establish a basis of mutual confidence and trust between the two governments. He said that the Government of the United States had not responded in kind to these overtures. I queried the Secretary on this point to make sure that I had understood it correctly. The Secretary said that the Foreign Minister had complained about three or four specific points:

The Argentine desired to purchase the Czech steel mill. The Secretary said that he had signed a letter4 yesterday to the Foreign Minister telling him that the transfer of the steel mill to Argentina would be approved if we were successful in the bidding to be opened shortly by the Treasury Department.5
The import restriction on Argentine oats.
Sale of wheat to Brazil.
Sale of wheat to Pakistan.

The Secretary commented specifically on each of these points to Remorino, and referred to some of the steps taken by this Government in response to Peron’s friendly gestures.

The Secretary said that the Argentine Government seemed inclined to “play footsie” with the Guatemalans. While he realized that not too much importance should be attached to such incidents, he referred to Remorino’s making a symbolic handshaking gesture to the Guatemalan representative as Remorino passed in front of the entire assembly on his way to the platform to make a speech on the resolution on communism,6 and to Remorino’s ostentatiously congratulating the Guatemalan representative after his speech on the same resolution.

In connection with his comments on the resolution on communists and the Guatemalan situation,7 the Secretary spoke particularly of the need for cultivating solidarity in this hemisphere as a security measure, in light of the difficulties that we are experiencing with our security program in other areas. He was concerned about the Guatemalan situation especially as the potential source of infiltration and of disunity. This, however, was far less important than any tendency on the part of the Argentinians to play cozy with the Guatemalans at the present juncture. It is of the greatest importance, he said, to develop a sound basis of solidarity with the Argentine Government to prevent its becoming a possible communist threat to inter-American security and solidarity. We should do all that we possibly can to respond to Peron’s present favorable orientation. This, of course, must be done in the context of our over-all inter-American policy and, it is important not to do it in such a way as to offend or alienate our good friends of longstanding. He mentioned Brazil in particular in this connection. The Secretary ended by reiterating the importance of inter-American solidarity as a primary basis of American security.

The Secretary congratulated me on my assignment to Buenos Aires, saying that he thought it was an excellent place for me to begin my new career in the Foreign Service.

Durward V. Sandifer
  1. Mr. Sandifer was appointed attaché at Buenos Aires on Feb. 28, 1954.
  2. Reference is to the Tenth Inter-American Conference, which met at Caracas, Mar. 1–28, 1954; Secretary Dulles was Chairman of the U.S. Delegation until his departure from Caracas on Mar. 13. For documentation concerning the conference, see pp. 264 ff.
  3. A memorandum of conversation between Secretary Dulles and Foreign Minister Remorino which took place on Mar. 2, 1954, drafted by Mr. Cabot on the following day, is in OAS files, lot 60 D 665, “Bilateral Talks.” No others were found in Department of State files.
  4. Not printed.
  5. On Mar. 25, 1954, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that the blocked Czech steel mill was open to public sale by sealed bid. In telegram 676, to Buenos Aires, dated May 10, 1954, the Department of State informed the Embassy that the Treasury Department had notified the Argentine Embassy that the Argentine Government was the highest bidder (at $9 million) on the steel mill (835.331/5–1054). The transaction was completed on May 17, 1954, and the component parts of the mill were subsequently shipped to Argentina between June and September 1954. For additional information on the sale of the mill, see Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1954 (Washington, 1955), pp. 61, 134.
  6. Apparent reference to Resolution XCIII, titled “Declaration of Solidarity for the Preservation of the Political Integrity of the American States Against the Intervention of International Communism,” approved on Mar. 28, 1954; for text, see Tenth Inter-American Conference: Report of the Delegation of the United States of America With Related Documents (Department of State Publication 5692. Washington, 1955), pp. 156–158.
  7. For documentation on this subject, see pp. 1027 ff.