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The Anglo-Argentine Connection and the War of 1914—19181

  • Roger Gravil
Extract

The hypothesis of Andre Gunder Frank that Latin America's underdevelopment is partly attributable to unequal exchange in economic relations with the advanced world includes the obverse proposition that Latin America's growth has been most substantial in periods such as wartime when links with the metropolitan countries were weakened. The most explicit statement of this view occurs in the book, Latin America: Underdevelopment or Revolution: … the satellites experience their greatest economic development and especially their most classically capitalist industrial development if and when their ties to their metropolis are weakest. This hypothesis is almost diametrically opposed to the generally accepted thesis that development in the underdeveloped countries follows from the greatest degree of contact with and diffusion from the metropolitan developed countries.

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2 Frank, A. Gunder, Latin America: Underdevelopment or Revolution (New York, 1969), pp. 910. See also his Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America (New York, 1969) and Lumpen-Bourgeoisie and Lumpen-Development (New York, 1972).

3 Kirkpatrick, F. A., South America & the War (Cambridge, 1918), pp. 1940 is very interesting on the position of German companies in South America. Also, Hauser, H., Germany's Commercial Grip on the World (London, 1917) especially Pt. 3. There is a good modern discussion in Small, M., ‘The United States and the German Threat to the Hemisphere 1905–1914’, The Americas, 28 (01 1972), p. 3.

4 Bailey, T. A., The Policy of the United States towards Neutrals 1917–18 (Baltimore, 1942), p. 306;Smith, G. Connell, The Inter-American System (Oxford, 1966), p. 55;Robertson, W. S., Hispanic American Relations with the United States (Oxford, 1923), pp. 412–16; and, more generally, Bott, E. J., El Comercio entre los Estados Unidos y América Latina durante la Gran Guerra (Buenos Aires, 1919);Barclay, G., Struggle for a Continent (London, 1972).

5 The Times History of the War (London, 1918), p. 29;Peterson, H. F., Argentina and the United States (New York, 1964), p. 309;Stimson, F. J., My United States (New York, 1931) contains the American ambassador's reminiscences.

6 Extracted from The Argentine Annual (Buenos Aires, 1921), p. 303. It should be remembered that Britain's percentage was inflated by purchasing services' grain on behalf of France, Italy and also for certain neutral countries as explained in the text. Obviously, the official figures cannot disclose evasions.

7 Olson, M., The Economics of the Wartime Shortage (Duke, 1963), pp. 73–6.

8 Beveridge, W. H., Economic and Social History of the World War: British Food Control (London, 1928), p. 10.

9 London, Public Record Office, Archives of the Foreign Office (hereafter FO), 902/2, War Trade Intelligence Department (hereafter WTID) Weekly Bulletin, 12–18 Feb. 1916, p. 25;WTID Weekly Bulletin, 26 Feb. 3 Mar. 1916, p. 28; WTID Weekly Bulletin, 25–31 Mar. 1916, p. 24; FO 902/5 WTID Weekly Bulletin, 2 Sept. 1916, p. 39.

10 Nemirovsky, L., Estructura económica y orientación politica de la agricultura en la República Argentina (Buenos Aires, 1933) has a good account of the world-wide operations of these firms.

11 Compiled from FO 368/1203, 25 Oct. 1915; FO 368/786, Commercial Confidential No. 164, 30 July 1913.

12 FO 368/786, Tower to Grey, Commercial Confidential No. 164.

13 FO 371/2239, Tower to Grey, Annual Report 1914, p. 24. FO 371/2601, Tower to Grey, Annual Report 1915, p. 37.

14 FO 902/1, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 15–21 Jan. 1916.

15 FO 902/2, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 26 02–3 Mar. 1916, p. 28.

16 FO 902/2, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 4–10 Mar. 1916, p. 24.

17 FO 902/2, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 19–25 02 1916, p. 33.

18 The Argentine Annual (Buenos Aires, 1921), p. 303; FO 368/922, Argentine Republic, Commercial No. 68, 2 Mar. 1914.

19 FO 368/1203, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 46, 23 Feb. 1915.

20 FO 368/928, Mackie to Tower, 7 Oct. 1914.

21 FO 368/1691, Tower to Balfour, Commercial No. 233, 11 June 1917.

22 FO 902/11, WTID Wcely Bulletin, 16–22 Mar. 1917, p. 45; FO 902/15, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 31 Aug–6 Sept. 1917, p. 41.

23 FO 902/6, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 23–29 Sept. 1916, p. 37; FO 833/17, Tower to Balfour, Commercial No. 377, 30 June. 1917, p. 58.

24 FO 368/5479, Board of Agriculture to Treasury, 7 July 1916.

25 FO 368/1479, Board of Agriculture to Treasury, 7 July 1916.

26 Mitchell, B. R. and Deane, P., Abstract of British Historical Statistics (Cambridge, 1962), pp. 100–1.

27 Compiled from the Annual Statements of Trade in B.P.P. The second figure is retained imports.

28 FO 833/16, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 147, 30 Sept. 1916, p. 50; FO 371/2239, Argentine Republic, Annual Report 1914, p. 24; FO 368/1204, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 90, 27 Mar. 1915.

29 FO 368/1204, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 90, 27 Mar. 1915, Document prepared by Proctor, Garrett & Marston, 20 Mar. 1915.

30 FO 371/2601, Argentine Republic, Annual Report 1915; FO 368/1203, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 345, 27 Oct. 1915.

31 FO 368/1204, Document prepared by Proctor, Garrett & Marston, 20 Mar. 1915.

32 FO 833/16, Foreign Trade Department (FTD) to Chambers of Commerce, 20 Jan. 1916.

33 FO 833/16, FTD Memorandum, 16 Nov. 1916.

34 FO 833/16, FTD to Chambers of Commerce, 20 Jan. 1916. The comment was made by L. Worthington Evans who continued ‘It is admitted that the Statutory List may prove effective in crippling German trade during the period immediately after the War and evidence is accumulating which gives ground for thinking that this will be the case. This being so, it is certain that the longer the War lasts the more crippled will German commerce be after the War, because the effects of the Statutory List are necessarily slow and cumulative in their operation and require time to be fully developed.’

35 FO 833/16, FTD Memorandum, 16 Nov. 1916. The Chilean nitrate story is discussed in Couyoumdjian, J. R., ‘Anglo-Chilean Economic Relations during the First World War and its Aftermath, 1914–1920’, (Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, London, 1975).

36 FO 368/928, Spenser Dickson to Tower, 14 Oct. 1914.

37 Braden, S., Diplomats and Demagogues (New York, 1971), p. 58.

38 FO 833/17, Memorandum on the Statutory List policy in the Argentine Republic, 1 Oct. 1916–30 June 1917; FO 833/16, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 147, 30 Sept. 1916; Estanislao Zeballos was a director of La Prensa at this time. His book, The Emergency Legislation of Warring Nations (Cleveland, 1916) was widely relied upon by the opposition to British policy.

39 FO 902/4, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 1–7 July 1916, pp. 33–4.

40 FO 833/17, Memorandum on the Statutory List policy in the Argentine Republic, 1 Oct. 1916–30 June 1917.

41 FO 833/16, Tower to Grey, commercial No. 147, 30 Sept. 1916, p. 72.

42 FO 833/16, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 147. 30 Sept. 1916, pp. 3–7, 12, 20, 44, 50.

43 The strength of anti-semitism in Argentina in this period owed something to resentment against the grain companies.

44 FO 833/16, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 147, 30 Sept. 1916, p. 51.

45 FO 833/16, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 147, 30 Sept. 1916, p. 51.

46 FO 368/1479, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 194, 2 June 1916; FO 902/3, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 3–9 June 1916, p. 27.

47 FO 368/1479, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 24, 5 June 1916.

48 Statistics for German tonnage impounded in Latin American ports appear in WTID Weekly Bulletin, 20–26 04 1917, p. 40; FO 368/1479, Tower to de Bunsen, 4 Aug 1916.

49 FO 368/1479, de Bunsen to Tower, 26 Sept. 1916.

50 FO 371/16544, Macleay to FO, 4 July 1933, D. Kelly commented that Irigoyen ‘… was hated by Sir Reginald Tower as a result of his relations with H.M. 's Legation during the war and we regarded him in 1919 as not merely an enemy but as corrupt ’, p. 260. R. C. Craigie added that Irigoyen ‘… was primarily responsible for keeping Argentina from joining the Allies during the War ’, p. 260; FO 371/3504, Tower to Balfour, No. 44, 9 Apr. 1919, pp. 5–12; FO 371/3110, memorandum by a resident of Argentina, 15 Apr. 1918 include bank statements which were circulated among foreign diplomats in Buenos Aires purporting to show that Irigoyen along with Honorio Pueyrredón, Alfredo Demarchi and others were permitted large overdrafts by the Banco Germánico Transatlántico, FO 371/16544, 4 July 1933. An unidentified hand in the British Foreign Office wrote, ‘A good riddance ’ when Irigoyen died on 3 July 1933, p. 260. FO 368/1479, Tower to FO, Commercial, No. 394, 26 Oct. 1916.

51 FO 368/1479, Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies to FO 27 Dec. 1916.

52 FO 368/1479, Board of Agriculture to Treasury, 7 July 1916.

53 First Report of the Royal Commission on Wheat Suppliers, BPP.XVIII, 1.

54 Ibid., I.

55 MAF 60/1, File N. Cereals 3. The prominent Anglo-Argentine, Sir Herbert Gibson, received his knighthood for his work in the wartime grain trade.

56 The standard authorities on shipping are Fayle, C. E., History of the Great War: Seaborne Trade (2 vols., London, 1920);Fayle, C. E., Economic and Social History of the World War: The War and the Shipping Industry (London, 1927);Salter, J. A., Economic and Social History of the World War: Allied Shipping Control (London, 1925).

57 FO 368/1690, Tower to Balfour, Commercial No. 124, 27 Mar. 1917.

58 FO 368/1690, Tower to Balfour, Commercial No. 127, 28 Mar. 1917, FO 902/11 WTID Weekly Bulletin 23–29 03 1917, p. 38; FO 902/12 WTID Weekly Bulletin 20–26 Apr. 1957, p. 40.

59 FO 902/12, WTID Weekly Bidletin, 20–26 June 1917, pp. 40–1; FO 368/1690, Tower to Balfour, Commercial No. 160, 19 Apr. 1917; FO 902/11, WTID Weekly Bulletin 13–19 Apr. 1917, p. 37; FO 902/12 WTID Weekly Bulletin, 3–10 May 1917, p. 40; FO 902/12, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 11–17 May 1917, p. 40; For pressure from English flour interests, Parliamentary Debates: Commons, xcv, 25 June-13 July 1917, Tyson Wilson to Lord Cecil, 5 Mar. 1917, p. 1259.

60 FO902/13, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 8–14 June 1917, p. 38.

61 FO 902/15, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 24–30 Aug 1917, pp. 38–9; FO 902/35, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 31 Aug-6 Sept 1917, p. 41.

62 FO to Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies, 18 June 1917; FO 902/15, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 24–30 Aug. 1917, p. 38; FO 902/16, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 7–13 Sept. 1917, p. 34.

63 There are two general accounts. Surface, F. M., The Grain Trade during the World War (New York, 1928) and Coller, F. H., A State Trading Venture (Oxford, 1925), FO 902/17, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 9–15 Nov. 1917, p. 42; FO 902/19, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 4–10 Jan. 1918, p. 28.

64 First Report of the Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies. British Parliamentary Papers (BPP), xviii (1921), pp. 64–5 gives a printed version of the formal terms of the Loan Convention. Another prominent Anglo.Argentine, Sir Hilary Leng, got his knighthood as adviser to the British on Argentine wheat.

65 FO 902/18, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 7–13 Dec. 1917, p. 42.

66 First Report of the Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies, BPP xviii (1923), p. 28. There was no maximum price for Oats which were indispensable for army forage.

67 FO 902/19, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 21–27 Dec. 1917, p. 36; FO 902/19, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 28 Dec-3 Jan. 1918, p. 29.

68 F0902/18, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 23–29 Nov. 1917, p. 40.

69 FO 902/18, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 14–20 Dec. 1917, p. 39.

70 FO 368/1876, Tower to FO, Commercial, No. 77, 24 Feb. 1918; FO 371/3130, Tower to FO, 11 Feb. 1918; James, William, The Eyes of the Navy: A Biographical Study of Admiral Sir Reginald Hall (London, 1955), pp. 158–9 for the obstruction of the wheat trade by labour problems, Irigoyen's inactivity and British interference. Hall also recommended the British Cabinet to pay £120,000 in bribes to secure Argentina's declaration of war. The expenditure of £20,000 for this purpose was authorized by the British Cabinet and the details were left to Sir Edward Carson, who, of course, failed, CAB 23/13, War Cabinet 290A, 4 Dec. 1917.

71 First Report of the Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies. BPP, XVIII (1921), p. 28, states ‘Had it not been for a loan contracted with Argentina in 1918 we should have been embarrased to provide funds for the large cereal purchases in the River Plate’, p. 13.

72 FO 902/20, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 1–7 Feb. 1918, p. 32; FO 902/20, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 7–14 June. 1918, p. 39; FO 902/23, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 17–23 May 1918, p. 22.

73 FO 371/3130, Tower to FO, 23 mar. 1918; FO 902/21, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 15–21 Mar. 1918, p. 27.

74 FO 902/21, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 29 Mar-4 Apr. 1918, pp. 34–5.

75 FO902/24, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 28 June-4 July 1918, p. 32.

76 FO 902/25, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 19–25 July 1918, p. 44.

77 The following five tables have been extracted from Ministeerio de Agricultura, Anuria agropecuario 1935 (Buenos Aires, 1935), pp. 268–72.

78 Extracted from Jones, E. G., ‘The Argentine Refrigerated Meat Industry’, Economica, 9 (1920), P. 170. These figures pre-date the ‘First Meat War’ of Apr. 1913 to Apr. 1914.

79 The name of H.M. Government was removed from the meat contracts in response to a request by the Argentine Government for the same reasons as in the grain trade. But because there was never a formal agreement between the two governments on meat, parallel to the one in the cereals trade, the fiction was maintained that the Orient Steamship Co. was the purchaser of all meat really intended for the Allied armed forces. FO 368/927, Tower to FO, 29 Sept. 1914. Beveridge, W. H., Economic and Social History of the World War: British Food Control (London, 1928), p. 10.

80 Lloyd, E. M. H., Economic and Social History of the World War: Experiments in State Control (London, 1924)and Wood, T. B., The National Food Supply in Peace and War (Camb., 1917) give a thorough account of these developments while there are some personal, and embittered, reminiscences in Beveridge, W. H., Power and Influence (London, 1953).

81 FO 368/1689, BOT to FO 9 Jan. 1917; FO 375/2239, Argentine Republic, Annual Report 1914, pp. 52–3. Hanson, S. G., Argentine Meat and the British Market (New York, 1937), p. 197 comments ‘On the whole the Plate packers fared better than the Australians. Plate shippers could ship 20 per cent on their own account and sell it to civilian consumers.’ However (I) Argentine-owned plants were denied most of the benefits from private trade, (2) the Australians benefited in other ways from imperial preference, (3) Australia, after all, was a belligerent nation while Argentina was neutral.

82 Compiled from the Annual Statements of Trade in B.P.O. The second figure is retained imports.

83 FO 368/1203, ‘Memorandum for Sir Reginald Tower prepared by Carlos Tornquist’, 21 Sept. 1915.

84 MAF 60/436, Meat Supplies. A committee of ministers was appointed to plan post-war meat supplies. In addition to expanding River Plate trade, it was agreed that the British & Argentine Meat Co. (Vestey's) should establish a branch in Brazil with a loan of £200,000 from the British Treasury. R. B. Cunninghame Graham, who wrote a book on the viceroyalty of New Granada, was commissioned to investigate meat production in Colombia and reported that prospects for expansion were excellent. FO 368/1688, BOT to FO, Apr. 1917.

85 Originally proposed by the socialists in Feb. 1915 for grain as well as meat. FO 371/2601, Argentine Republic, Annual Report 1915, p. 38; proposed again in Jan. 1917. FO 368/1689, BOT to FO, 9 Jan. 1917; FO 902/9 WTID Weekly Bulletin, 12–18 Jan 1917, p. 50; Congress was prorogued in March without approving the duty. FO 368/1689, Tower to FO, 6 Mar. 1917.

86 FO 368/1877, Tower to FO, Commercial No. 137, 27 Feb. 1918; FO 902/21, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 1–3 Mar. 1918, p. 39.

87 FO 368/1877, Tower to FO, Commercial No. 57, 7 Feb. 1918.

88 FO 368/1877, MOF to FO, 16 Apr. 1918.

89 Hanson, S. G., Argentine Meat and the British Market, p. 207. The 1913 figures date from during the ‘First Meat War

90 Extracted from Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL), El desarrollo económico de la Argentina (México, 1959), parte 1, 18.

91 Extracted from the Argentine Annual (Buenos Aires, 1921), p. 303.

92 FO 833/16, Memorandum prepared by the Foreign Trade Dept., 16 Nov. 1916, p. 45.

93 FO 833/16, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 147, 30 Sept. 1916.

94 FO 833/16, Tower to Grey, Commercial No. 147, 30 Sept. 1916. The first was linked with the Deutsche Ueberseeische Bank of Berlin and the second with the Dresdner Bank.

95 FO 833/18, Tower to Grey, Trading with Enemy, Confidential, 14 Sept. 1915, p. 2.

96 FO 833/17, Tower to Balfour, Commercial No. 377, 30 June 1917, p. 59; FO 902/14, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 29 June-5 July 1917, p. 46.

97 FO 833/18, Tower to Grey, Trading with Enemy, Confidential, 14 Sept. 1915, p. 2.

98 FO 902/26, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 6–12 June 1918, p. 21.

99 FO 902/27, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 27 Sept.-3 Oct. 1918, p. 34.

100 FO 902/27, WTID Weekly Bulletin, 11–17 Oct. 1918. p. 27.

101 FO 833/16, Memorandum by the Foreign Trade Department 16 Nov. 1916.

102 Extracted from CEPAL, El desarrollo económico de la Argentina (México, 1959).

103 Extracted from CEPAL, El desarrollo econdmico de la Argentina, Pt. 2, p. 258.

104 The recent study by Jorge, E. F., Industria y conccntración económica (Buenos Aires, 1971) is influenced by Gunder Frank's ideas, but much more concerned with the Second World War than the First.di Tella y, G.Zymelman, M., Las etapas del desarrollo económico argcntino (Buenos Aires, 1967) adds a sixth stage to Rostow's scheme for Argentina called ‘la demora’ and dated 1914 to 1933. The republic's main industrial historian, A. Dorfman, was unimpressed with the wartime performance of the industrial sector. See Historia de la industria argentina (Buenos Aires, 1942). The 1970 edition still takes the same view. Also Evolución industrial argentina (Buenos Aires, 1942). Thus, the main points under challenge are; that during the War of 1914–18 the Argentine economy experienced more metropolitan pressure than in peacetime, not less; that in the same period Argentine industry declined overall and resumed growth in the peaceful 1920s. Further research which is to appear in the monograph by Gravil, Roger, The Anglo-Argentine Connection 1900–1939, seeks to show that, in important senses, the republic did not experience economic isolation or much industrial growth in the 1930s either. In fact, Gunder Frank's thesis can be turned on its head for Argentina.

105 Extracted from CEPAL, El desarrollo económico de la Argentina, Pt. 2, p. 15.

106 The percentages are taken from CEPAL, El desarrollo económico de la Argentina, This issue of the Journal was in the press when the attention of the Editors was drawn to the fact that the article by Gravil, Dr, with but monor differences, had already been published as ‘Argentina and the First World War’, in the Revista de História (São Paulo), vol. liv, No. 108 (otubro-dezembro, 1976), pp. 385417.

1 An earlier version of this paper was read to Professor John Lynch's seminar at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, and the writer is grateful for the comments received. There is no research monograph devoted to Argentina's economic history 1914–18, but the following contain useful material or comment: G. Di Tella y M. Zymelman, Las etapas del desarrollo económico argentiao (Buenos Aires, 1967); A. Dorfman, Historia de la industria argentina (Buenos Aires, 1942); F. Pinedo, En tiempos de la república (Buenos Aires, 1946); Academia Nacional de la Historia, Historia argentina contemporanea 1862–1930, III (Buenos Aires, 1966); L. Roque Gondra, Historia ecónmica de la República Argentina (Buenos Aires, 1943); R. M. Ortiz, Historia económica de la Argentina (Buenos Aires, 1955); J. Van der Karr, La primera guerra mundial y la politica económica argentina: un estudio de la legislación fiscal y presupuestaria durante los anos del conflicto (Buenos Aires, 1974); E. Tornquist y Cía, The Economic Development of the Argentine Republic in the last Fifty Years (Buenos Aires, 1919); C. F. Díaz Alejandro, Essays in the Economic History of the Argentine Republic (London, 1967). J. S. Tulchin, ‘The Argentine Economy during the First World War’, Review of the River Plate, 147 (1970), pp. 3750–2, is a brief sketch.

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