Holland files, lot 57 D 295, “Uruguay”

The Ambassador in Uruguay (McIntosh) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Holland)


Dear Henry: The results of the Uruguayan elections are now in and Luis Batlle Berres and his Lista 15 have won by an unexpectdly large majority. The result is that Lista 15 will have 6 of the 9 members in the new National Council of Government with Luis Batlle Berres as the President.

It is obviously important that we develop and maintain close friendly relations with Batlle Berres in the future. As you know, Batlle Berres is a strong, dominant character and he will unquestionably personally exercise a great deal more power and authority in the Uruguayan Government, which comes into office next March, than the present president, Martinez Trueba has done.

Batlle Berres has never been to the United States and he has indicated on a number of occasions that he would be very much interested in visiting the States. I personally feel that if an official invitation were to be issued to Batlle Berres to visit the United States, such a visit would be a tremendously important factor in improving our relations with Uruguay in the future and I would urge that serious consideration be given to extending an official invitation to Batlle Berres [Page 1586] as soon as may be possible. It is quite possible that Batlle Berres, if an invitation were extended to him, would be prepared to visit the United States in January or February in the capacity of the elected president of the National Council of Government of Uruguay, but if an invitation could not be extended that soon, I presume Batlle Berres would welcome an invitation to make an official visit to the United States later in the year.

Due to his temperament, I feel that Batlle Berres would be particularly affected by the attention which would be paid to him on an official visit and in my opinion, such a visit to the United States would result in Batlle Berres’ becoming a more friendly and a more dependable ally of our country. While ostensibly friendly to the United States, at various times during the past year, in his newspaper Acción, Batlle Berres has taken quite a critical position towards us, but I feel that a visit to the United States would do much to change his attitude in the future.

I fully understand that I should not indicate to Batlle Berres in any way that he may expect an offical invitation to visit the United States, and I have not done so, nor will I do so in the future unless I am instructed accordingly. However, I feel that the matter is of such importance that I am writing to you to recommend that the Department consider the extension of an invitation to Batlle Berres at the first opportunity.1

I am sure that the Conference in Rio has been very difficult, but I trust the final results will be reasonably satisfactory.

With kindest regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

Dempster McIntosh
  1. In a letter to Ambassador McIntosh, dated Dec. 30, 1954, Assistant Secretary Holland stated in part: “I agree with you that it would be extremely advantageous if we could arrange to have Señor Batlle Berres visit the United States but I am not hopeful that a decision will be reached in the near future.” (Holland files, lot 57 D 295, “Uruguay”)