835.6362/8–945: Telegram

The Ambassador in Argentina (Braden) to the Secretary of State

1809. At request Foreign Minister86 1 called on him this afternoon. He was accompanied by Colonel Abarca, Secretary of Industry and Commerce. They outlined their grave concern over prohibition coal shipments which would force burning corn and other products we desired, expressing earnest hope we would reverse ruling. In reply I said I was thoroughly alive to problem as presented by them, moreover, I realized serious consequences for Argentina unless fuel could be obtained. I read them paraphrase Department’s cable 1024 August 4, 4 p.m.87 explaining that because of American public opinion at this time Department, Embassy, and I, personally, were tied hand and foot so that we could not possibly get Secretary Ickes to reverse his ruling. I pointed to fact that Ambassador Warren had visited here in order to improve and consolidate our relations, nevertheless on day succeeding his departure many additional people had been imprisoned for political reasons thus greatly embarrassing him before American public. I reminded them that on May 221 had told Colonel Perón he and Argentine Government must help me in order that I might help Argentina whereas exactly reverse had been done. I detailed aroused American public opinion in face of political incarcerations, lack of press freedom, and failure to do anything effective on Nazi liquidation, replacement and internment programs. Finally, for first time I referred to campaign against me remarking that Pacheco of Secretariat of Information and Press had telegraphed to Santiago [to] get photographs of mine disaster88 and others of Secretariat had been active in campaign, not to mention police relationship thereto. I added that my report on this incident had been forwarded to Department yesterday.

Abarca, while admitting two recently arrived American engineers had confirmed to him everything I said regarding public opinion at home, tried to minimize these matters especially campaign. I bluntly pointed out no country could tolerate officially inspired campaign against its Ambassador.

I mentioned in passing I did not even know whether we could help Argentina by arranging loan of tires to be repaid from production [Page 548] here later. Abarca contended this operation could easily be explained to which I replied that so aroused was public opinion that even despite Acting Secretary Grew’s clear statement on fats and oils agreement89 it was still attacked in American press.

Throughout Foreign Minister fully supported my contentions. I reiterated that until there was substantial performance by Argentina in all these particulars we would continue bound hand and foot and unable to assist them anxious as we were to do so and dedicated as we were to principle of establishing friendliest relations between Argentina and American people as two important cornerstones of hemispheric solidarity. Again both Ministers appealed for my friendship and assistance which I said would be theirs always providing they cut the bonds which had been placed upon us by activities here.

Repeated to Santiago and Rio.

  1. César Ameghino.
  2. Not printed; the Department indicated that coal shipments to Argentina and neutrals were temporarily suspended by order of the Solid Fuels Administrator for War, Harold L. Ickes, (835.6362/8–245).
  3. Reference is to a mine disaster at Camp Sewell, Rancagua, Chile, on June 19, 1945, in which 500 miners were said to have lost their lives; the mines were operated by the Braden Copper Mining Company, a company with which the Ambassador had no connection.
  4. See Department of State Bulletin June 17, 1945, p. 1116.