Memorandum by Henry Dearborn of the Office of South American Affairs to the Deputy Director of That Office (Bennett)



  • Problems of International Packers in Argentina and Uruguay1

I refer to the Memorandum of Conversation of August 52 between Mr. Holland and Mr. Taylor3 regarding the problems of the International [Page 470] Packers in Argentina and Uruguay.4 In my opinion it would strike a sour note with Perón and with the Uruguayan Government if we were to follow Mr. Taylor’s suggestion—namely, to have Ambassador Nufer and Ambassador McIntosh approach Perón and the Uruguayan Government respectively on the Frigorifico problem with the hope that it might be solved before Mr. Holland arrives in Argentina and Uruguay.5 In all probability such an approach would be resented and might well do more harm than good. You would not go to visit a neighbor on your own initiative and send him word beforehand that he could create a friendly atmosphere for your arrival if he would cut the grass between your two houses. If the neighbor did this on his own, it would make the visit more pleasant, but if you suggested it beforehand you would doubtless get a cool reception. If we wish either Ambassador McIntosh or Ambassador Nufer again to bring this problem to the attention of the respective governments I believe we should so instruct them without any reference to Mr. Holland’s visits.

It is apparent from the reports from Buenos Aires and Montevideo that Ambassadors Nufer and McIntosh have done and are doing just about all that is appropriate and promising of results by way of helping the packers. They show every disposition to continue the strong efforts that they have already made. We should continue to make specific suggestions to the Ambassadors as we have in the past but at the same time should have a full appreciation of the problems on the ground and should not push the Ambassadors into action which would create antagonism in government circles towards the packers.

The question will have to be considered sometime as to whether Mr. Holland should bring up this matter while he is in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Apropos of this question we might remember that the Argentines expressed bitter disappointment in Eddie Miller’s second visit to Buenos Aires for the very reason that individual U.S. business problems and complaints were important items on his agenda. The Argentines felt that such a visit should have been devoted to consideration of broader matters. It would seem to me that if Mr. Holland were to discuss with Perón hemispheric problems such as Communism, the place of Argentina in hemispheric defense, and over-all economic [Page 471] questions, he would be able to bring up without giving offense this question of the packers as an illustration of what should be remedied if U.S. investments were to be encouraged. In this context I believe mention of the matter might do some good. This is the context in which our Embassies in Buenos Aires and Montevideo have discussed this problem with high officials and Mr. Holland’s reiteration would underline the U.S. Government’s views at a high level.


It is recommended that we continue to correspond freely with Ambassadors McIntosh and Nufer on the subject of packers in order to show them our concern. We should continue to urge high-level action whenever we think it necessary but not in reference to Mr. Holland’s visits. When Mr. Holland does make the visits he might bring up the matter with those Governments also but not in a way that would make it seem that we give the matter equal importance along with questions of increased trade, hemisphere defense, democratic processes and action against Communism.6

  1. The problems of International Packers, Ltd., and other American-owned meatpacking firms in Argentina (often referred to as the “Frigorificos”) related to losses incurred by the firms as a result of Argentine regulations restricting profit margins, and establishing ceiling prices and delivery quotas for local consumption. Pertinent documentation is in files 835.311 and 811.05135 for 1952 through 1954. See also footnote 22, Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. ii, p. 1127.
  2. Not printed (835.311/8–554).
  3. A. Thomas Taylor, Chairman of the Board, International Packers, Ltd.
  4. For documentation relating to the problems of the meatpackers in Uruguay, see pp. 1548 ff.
  5. Between Sept. 5 and Oct. 10, 1954, Mr. Holland visited Mexico and all of the countries of South America for the purpose of explaining to and gaining acceptance from the leaders of those countries for the policies adopted by the United States in connection with the forthcoming Rio Economic Conference; extensive documentation concerning his trip is in file 110.15 HO for 1954.

    The Rio Economic Conference is formally known as the Meeting of Ministers of Finance or Economy of the American Republics as the Fourth Extraordinary Meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, held at Quitandinha, Brazil, Nov. 22–Dec. 2, 1954; for documentation relating to the conference, see pp. 313 ff.

  6. Below the text of this memorandum appears the following handwritten note initialed by Mr. Bennett: “One of the reasons for Dr. Eisenhower’s great success in B[uenos] A[ires] was that he kept his visit on an entirely informal basis. Peron has indicated his awareness of the distinction between that & the Miller approach.”