543. Memorandum of a Conversation Between Foreign Minister Rompani and the United States Representative at the Organization of American States (Dreier), San Francisco, June 21, 19551


  • Uruguayan Foreign Minister’s Observations on His Visit to the United States

At the United Nations’ Reception on June 21, Foreign Minister Rompani said that he was anxious to talk to Mr. Holland while in San Francisco2 since he probably would not be able to return to Uruguay via Washington, and he wished to report certain observations on the results of his talks with people in New York and Washington on Uruguay’s financial problems. He then proceeded to give me a rather full account of his views and feelings along the following lines:

The Foreign Minister mentioned his travels through various Latin American countries, emphasizing the fact that in all cases he was responding to invitations from governments, except in the case of the United States where he understood that it had been impossible. (Nevertheless it was clear he regrets very much that his visit was not in the nature of an official one.)
In each country he has visited so far, except for the United States, he has concluded a commercial or cultural agreement which he is taking home as evidence of his successful visit.
In the case of the United States he feels his visit has been without material benefit since what he needs are some loans which he has been unable to arrange. In this connection he feels that many Americans in positions of high responsibility, e.g. Mr. Black of the IBRD, are incapable of understanding the small problems of small [Page 1090] countries because as Americans they are used to dealing only with problems of large dimensions.

Rompani then proceeded to describe Uruguay’s need for additional influx of capital which would contribute to the increased productivity of the country but which, he admitted, would not produce additional dollars. The commercial banker’s criterion could, therefore, not be applied to Uruguay’s requests, but a sympathetic, political understanding of Uruguay’s position was necessary.

Mr. Rompani repeated the familiar Uruguayan line about Uruguay’s position as a democracy, and her unenviable position as between two large neighbors. He made the usual comments about Argentina, emphasizing that Argentina would never be a real friend of the United States, etc. He also reported with regret that before he left for his trip Ambassador Mcintosh3 had sent an inquiry to his office to ask whether his visit to various Latin American countries was for the purpose of building an anti-U.S. bloc.4 This incident apparently confirmed his belief that there was an inadequate appreciation of Uruguay and its international position in the U.S. Government.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 733.13/6–2155. Confidential.
  2. Holland was attending the Special Tenth Anniversary Session of the United Nations.
  3. Ambassador Dempster McIntosh returned to Washington for consultation, June 7–25. Pertinent documentation is in Department of State, Holland Files: Lot 57 D 295, Miscellaneous.
  4. Rompani had informed the Embassy that, between May 24 and July 11, he would visit Paraguay, Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States for discussions on economic matters. Documentation relating to his trip is ibid., 033.3320.