The Ambassador in Uruguay (McIntosh) to the Department of State

No. 71


  • Transmitting Conversation with Minister of Finance

Continuing the policy of discussing informally with important government officials the problem of the American packing houses in Uruguay, I met with the Minister of Finance1 in the latter’s office on August 23 for the purpose of further discussing this problem with him (see Emb. Desp. No. 26 of July 20, 1954).2 Attached hereto is a memorandum3 summarizing my conversation with the Minister.

With reference to the informal discussions that I have had with government officials, I should add that the American packers had one of their periodic meetings with the Minister of Agriculture and other government officials on the day following my conversation with the [Page 1580] Minister of Finance. The manager of Frigorifico Artigas (Armour) informed the Embassy subsequent to that meeting that the Minister of Agriculture, at the conclusion of the meeting, said that he has received reports that a “foreign diplomat” was “intervening” in matters being discussed by the committee and that if he confirmed these reports, he was disposed to suspend the work of the committee and carry the matter to parliament. The representative of Frigorifico Nacional at the meeting, following conclusion of the session, informed the American packing house managers that he associated himself entirely with the views of the Minister. A subsequent meeting of the committee was held on August 26, during which, according to the manager of Frigorifico Artigas, the Minister made no reference to his earlier remark and was, on the contrary, exceptionally friendly as was also the representative of Frigorifico Nacional.

As the Department will appreciate from my reports of my previous conversations, I have been careful to discuss these problems on a very informal basis and I have refrained from making any demands or even “representations” during such discussions. Officials with whom I have discussed the problem have been invariably friendly, evidencing no trace of resentment. On the contrary, they have indicated to me that they welcomed the opportunity to discuss the matter in a frank and friendly atmosphere. It will be noted that during my last talk with the Minister of Finance, he himself suggested that I seek another interview with the President of the National Council of Government. While I do not discount entirely the possibility that the Minister of Agriculture, who has an emotional, volatile temperament and who is under heavy criticism from all sides, might attempt to divert criticism from himself or justify a failure of the meetings that he has been conducting to find a solution to the packing house problem, by raising a question of “diplomatic intervention”, I believe that we have been following a correct course and that we should not permit his threat to divert us from that course if it appears otherwise desirable that we continue it. On the other hand, I do not believe that we should permit pressure from the private packers to push us along such a course to the point that it becomes counter-productive or jeopardizes other interests.

I should add that the meetings of the government committee with representatives of the private packing houses which have now been going on for a month and a half, have as yet produced no concrete results and that the managers of the American packing houses believe that the only hope of achieving concrete results in these discussions lies in continued informal manifestation of interest on our part in the problem.

Dempster McIntosh
  1. Eduardo Acevedo Alvarez.
  2. Not printed (833.311/7–2054).
  3. Dated Aug. 23, 1954, not printed.