Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of State Robert Lansing to Robert E. Jeffery, United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Uruguay

Paraphrase of cable sent to American Minister at Montevideo, June 18, 1917.

     You are instructed to inform the Uruguayan Government that its friendly offer of the use of Uruguayan ports for the naval vessels of this country is accepted by the American Government with the deepest appreciation and that this kind offer will be availed of from time to time by the vessels mentioned.1

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Although Uruguay had yet to break diplomatic relations with Germany (it would not do so until October 1917), it issued cautious vows of solidarity and sympathy with the United States and Cuba, largely due to concerns over Germany’s strong influence with and tie to Argentina. On 18 June, Uruguay issued a momentous decree in which it avowed, “that no American country, which in defense of its own rights should find itself in a state of war with nations of other continents will be treated as a belligerent.” Though not exactly a complete diplomatic rupture, this decree was treated as an abandonment of Uruguayan neutrality. On this same day, the Uruguayan government invited Adm. William B. Caperton and his Pacific Fleet (the “vessels mentioned”), then stationed in Brazil, to visit Montevideo, an offer that was accepted a few days later. Caperton and the Pacific Fleet visited the Uruguayan capital from 12 to 23 July. Jamie Bisher, The Intelligence War in Latin America, 1914-1922 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2016), 158. See also, William S. Benson to Roger Welles, Jr., 28 June 1917, DNA, RG45, Entry 517B.

Tags