560. Memorandum of a Conversation, Montevideo, December 10, 19571


  • Ambassador Jefferson Patterson
  • Mr. James Espy
  • President Arturo Lezama

On my alluding to the Frigorífico problem presented by the imminent closure of the two American packing plants, Artigas and Swift, the President remarked that the problem was a serious one. He stated, however, that there was really no serious lack of cattle in Uruguay, or there would be no such lack, were there not contraband over the Brazilian border, and if a black market did not flourish in Canelones. He felt that at least the latter situation would be corrected by the new capital being supplied the Frigorífico Nacional, which would enable that entity to pay its bills.

At the present time the cattle producers were sending no cattle to the Montevidean “tablado”, but were either holding them on the “estancias” or were selling them from the “estancias” to black market slaughterhouses.

The President added that he had also seen cattle exhibited at Fairs in the departmental towns, where there had been a good deal of buying and selling. He expressed himself as being somewhat mystified as to the destination of such cattle.

On my inquiring if the Commission set up by the NCG, of which he had informed me some weeks ago at the time of his reception of the President of the New York Stock Exchange, had rendered a report, the President replied negatively. He did not hazard any view as to what, if anything, the Uruguayan Government would do, once the plants should have definitively closed their doors.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 733.58/12–1157. Secret. Drafted by Patterson.