March 9, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday last my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) asked if I would make a statement with respect to the recognition or non-recognition of the present regime in Argentina. I have a statement to make which is a little longer than I might wish it to be. but I believe hon. members will appreciate having a statement given at some length.
The situation in Argentina' of recent months has caused considerable anxiety, both to her neighbours in the western hemisphere and to the united nations. This concern is provoked by the need for solidarity in the western hemisphere against axis intrigues and by the importance of Argentina as a source of foodstuffs and important raw materials for the united nations.
Since a coup d'etat overthrew the administration of President Castillo last June, the control of policies has passed from one military group to another, while the normal processes of democratic government have ceased to operate, parliament has not been summoned, political parties have been dissolved and the newspapers placed under more drastic controls. Within nine months, three generals have in turn exercised presidential powers, while the foreign office has been administered
Argentine Republic

by two admirals and two generals and, in addition, there have been several other cabinet changes.
On January 26 of this year the government of President Ramirez announced a rupture of diplomatic relations with the axis powers because of the revelation of axis intrigues within Argentina which were contrary to its neutrality and a threat to the security of the other American countries. This decision brought Argentina in line with the other countries of the western hemisphere, all of whom have either declared war upon Germany or severed diplomatic relations with her and other axis countries. The decision undoubtedly reflected the pro-allied sympathies of the great majority of the people of Argentina. It was thought to be a forerunner of other acts of hemispheric solidarity and defence.
In the month which followed, certain groups believed not to be in sympathy with the declared Argentine policy of joining the defence of the hemisphere were successful in forcing General Gilbert, Minister of Foreign Affairs to resign on February 15. Ten days later they secured the delegation of the powers of General Ramirez as president to the vicepresident and minister of war, General Farrell.
Following these changes in personnel the United States government instructed its ambassador, Mr. Norman Armour "to refrain from entering into official relations with the new regime pending developments." A statement describing the reasons for the position taken by the United States was issued by Mr. Stettinius, acting Secretary of State, on March 4, which stressed the fact that in Argentina "the support by important elements inimical to the united nations war effort of movements designed to eliminate action already taken could only be a matter of grave anxiety."
In response to a question in the British House of Commons yesterday, the British foreign secretary stated that in view of the obscurity surrounding the circumstances of President Ramirez' delegation of his function to Vice-President Farrell, the British ambassador in Argentina had confined his communications with the Argentine government to routine matters only. The same position had been taken as regards communications between the British government and the Argentine ambassador in London. Mr. Eden also announced that this attitude would be maintained pending developments in Buenos Aires.
The Canadian government has been kept fully informed of developments in Argentina by its legation in Buenos Aires. It has also had the benefit of first hand information from the Hon. W. F. A. Turgeon, who only recently

returned from serving as minister in Argentina. Pending a clarification of what remains a most confused and obscure situation, the government has instructed the Canadian charge d'affaires in Buenos Aires to refrain for the present from any official contacts with the administration of General Farrell. With the people of Argentina our friendship remains unaffected. We hope and trust that Argentina will evolve a policy commensurate with her past, worthy of her citizens and calculated to meet the needs of hemispheric defence.

Full View