552. Telegram From the Ambassador in Uruguay (Patterson) to the Department of State1

202. Reference Depcirtel 265, October 5.2 Uruguay has no PL 480 program.

Until few months ago general program subject continuing sharp attacks by press organ government majority and occasionally by other segments press, Batlle Berres (formerly President now Counselor), Uruguayan Embassy Washington, Uruguayan section CICYP, and other local groups allegedly defending producer interests. Criticism charged unfair competition with Uruguay (“dumping”) in foreign [Page 1105] wheat market (not only Brazil) and with LA agriculture generally which allegedly is unable compete US selling terms and is suffering economic damage. Some effort apparently made make Uruguayan leaders anti-US Latin bloc this subject.

No evidence available of mass interest subject but above criticism reflected in Communist rag Justocia which regularly screamed “dumping”, “Yankee imperialism” and general damage LA economy. Not known have been reflected by any public pronouncements Communist-affiliated labor groups. A few well placed government officials conceded privately no damage actually done Uruguay; they merely feared future consequences.

In recent months public criticism by government officials and organ majority largely disappeared. This due shortage foreign exchange, need stretching present supplies exchange, inadequate supplies cotton, tobacco, keep factories operating, and Embassy efforts explain program. High government officials now are seriously considering possibility purchasing cotton, tobacco and corn (see Embdes 255, October 5).3 However even if NCG approves plan, prospects legislative ratification program not bright.

Embassy believes Uruguayan purchases above commodities (and possibly some others) would undoubtedly assist country present period economic distress by stretching out available short supply foreign exchange pending expected increased exports under August 13 decree.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 411.3341/10–1156. Confidential.
  2. Circular telegram 265 requested an Embassy report of the psychological and political reactions to the P.L. 480 program in countries receiving commodities under the program or competing with the United States for sales of such commodities. (Ibid., 411.0041/10–556)
  3. Despatch 255 from Montevideo discussed official Uruguayan interest in a P.L. 480 agreement. (Ibid., 411.3341/10–556)