167. Memorandum of a Conversation, White House, Washington, January 22, 19591


  • President Frondizi’s Call on President Eisenhower


  • Argentina
    • President Arturo Frondizi
    • Foreign Minister Carlos A. Florit
    • Minister of Economy Emelio D. del Carril
    • Ambassador César Barros Hurtado
  • United States
    • President Eisenhower
    • Secretary Dulles
    • Assistant Secretary Rubottom
    • Ambassador Beaulac
    • Chief of Protocol Buchanan

President Eisenhower invited President Frondizi to make any remarks he might want to make in addition to what he might already have told Secretary Dulles. He thought the President might want to emphasize certain points. President Frondizi repeated in summary form what he had told Secretary Dulles yesterday about Argentina’s actions toward solving the problems of petroleum, coal and thermal [Page 534] power. He repeated that Argentina would require additional credits for hydroelectric power and steel. He emphasized that Argentina wanted no credits for consumption purposes.

President Frondizi said that he had already talked with Mr. Black about hydroelectric power and that the International Bank was sending a mission to Argentina in February. He said he would appreciate any help from the United States Government in seeing that the Bank acted quickly in the case of Argentina.

President Eisenhower noted that the Bank was expert in such matters and that it would undoubtedly work promptly and efficiently. President Eisenhower asked if the hydroelectric sites were close to centers of consumption.

President Frondizi said that they were not—that they were in the South, in an area which was rich in coal, iron and petroleum.

President Eisenhower noted that the United States wanted to help Argentina in every field in which it could be helpful. Argentines were the same kind of people we were and the Argentine Government and President Frondizi stood for the same things that we stood for.

President Frondizi then referred briefly to Argentina’s desire for arms. He said Argentina was a pacific country but needed a certain amount of arms for security.

President Eisenhower noted that in the absence of a bilateral military agreement no grant aid could be given. Of course our Government would seek to sell whatever might be available at the best possible prices. President Eisenhower emphasized that he did not want to be negative; that he was just pointing out possible avenues.

Secretary Dulles pointed out that certain negotiations were going on already concerning armaments.

President Frondizi indicated that the arms discussions would be continued by the Argentine Ambassador in Washington.

President Frondizi then referred to the Ecuador-Peru boundary dispute and the desirability of the Guarantors’ working together to end it quickly.

President Eisenhower remarked that there was no question about our willingness to help. He asked whether President Frondizi had any ideas about how to help.

President Frondizi said that up to now Peru has insisted that any solution must be reached through strict application of the treaty. Now it is willing to talk about other possibilities.

All persons agreed that solution of the Ecuador-Peru boundary dispute would be a great thing for the continent.

Mr. Rubottom said that he thought President Eisenhower would like to hear that conversations looking into implementation of the technical assistance agreement between Argentina and the United States are well advanced under the personal direction of President [Page 535] Frondizi. Argentina has expressed a willingness to commit all the PL–480 funds available to it in support of projects in such fields as meat production, education, and atomic energy.

Secretary Dulles said he wanted to tell President Frondizi that Ambassador Barros had the full confidence of the United States Government. He made additional complimentary remarks about the Ambassador.

President Eisenhower said he wanted to assure President Frondizi that we were watching very sympathetically the progress being made in Argentina and that we admired the courage and leadership which President Frondizi was showing. We were anxious to do everything we could to help. We would be careful in our public statements concerning what was going on because we did not want to embarrass the President by inept public praise, but he should know that we were with him and always anxious to help.

President Frondizi expressed great appreciation of the Secretary’s remarks about Ambassador Barros. He said that Argentina would continue to cooperate in the field of technical cooperation and with reference to other matters. He hoped that the technical cooperation program could be implemented rapidly. He referred in complimentary terms to the work of the American Ambassador in Buenos Aires. He noted that he and the Ambassador had begun to discuss United States-Argentine problems even before he assumed office and that he had told the Ambassador that if they could not settle these problems they should both quit.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 735.11/1–2259. Confidential. Drafted by Beaulac.