Conversation with Leopardo Bravo, Ambassador of Argentina

J.V. Stalin

February 7, 1953

Stalin asked how long the ambassador has not been in the Soviet Union and whether Moscow has changed during that time.

Bravo says that he was absent in the Soviet Union for four years and that Moscow has very visibly undergone big changes. Grandiose construction works are being carried out.

Bravo says further that the President of Argentina, Perón has instructed him to convey cordial greetings to Generalissimo Stalin and says that Argentina wants to strengthen its ties with the Soviet Union and, in particular, to develop the trade relations.

Stalin said that from our side there are no objections to it.

Bravo said that it was a great honour and great pleasure to visit the Generalissimo, and that this visit will remain in his memory for a lifetime.

Stalin said that the reception of ambassadors is his duty, his work. He asked Bravo what could be the subject of trade between Argentina and the USSR, what Argentina would like to buy in the Soviet Union, and what could it sell to the Soviet Union.

Bravo says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina handed over a memorandum to the Soviet ambassador Rezanov, which contains the list of goods that Argentina would like to purchase in the Soviet Union, as well as a list of goods that Argentina could supply to the Soviet Union. First of all, Argentina would like to buy drilling equipment in the USSR for the oil industry, oil and agricultural machinery. For its part, Argentina could offer leather, wool, vegetable oil and other commodities.

Stalin said that the Soviet Government will consider this proposal and that the Soviet Union is interested in trade with Argentina.

Bravo said that from childhood he was interested in the Soviet Union, read a book about the Soviet Union and that, therefore, he is personally interested in good relations with the USSR. Bravo expresses a great admiration for the construction, maintained in the Soviet Union, and the remarkable success achieved by the Soviet Union in the field of industrialisation.

Stalin said that no power could force the people to get this work done, but the Soviet people wants to build it, and that facilitates the construction.

Bravo said that President Peron of Argentina also launched a movement for independence.

Stalin asked: Is Argentina is currently not an independent country?

Bravo says that Argentina is an independent country, but that earlier there were a lot of foreign imperialist monopolies that dominated in important sectors of the economy of Argentina. President Perón began a campaign for the nationalisation of foreign enterprises and has already nationalised some of them, particularly railways, ports, electrical industry, public transport, meat-packing. He states that there is no freedom without the economic independence.

Stalin agreed to this. He says that Americans are well aware that those who own the country's economy, also own its independence, and that will be good for Argentina if its economic independence will be developed, even if gradually. It will be good for Argentina.

Bravo says that this is exactly what Peron and his supporters are currently trying to do: to achieve economic independence in order to achieve political independence. He states that Argentina would like to strengthen cultural ties with the Soviet Union, as well as links in the area of sport.

Stalin welcomes the proposal. Notices that Spaniards had been good athletes in the past. He asks if sport is currently well developed in Argentina.

Bravo says that football is very developed in Argentina. Argentina is interested in the Argentinean football team visiting the USSR and the Soviet football team visiting Argentina.

Stalin says that this issue could be discussed. Asks about the official language of Argentina. Is it Spanish language?

Bravo confirms that the official language in Argentina is Spanish.

Stalin said that, as he remembers a few years ago, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina was Bramugliya and notes that in the Caucasus, there are two villages called Bramugliya.

Bravo confirms that indeed Bramugliya was foreign minister of Argentina. He says that he is currently a professor at the University.

Stalin said that during the war in Spain, the Spanish ambassador in Moscow was Pasqua. Noticing that this surname is also common in the Caucasus, he speaks on some of the linguistic similarities between the peoples of the Caucasus and Spain.

Bravo agrees and says that this summer he intends to visit the Caucasus, as he seems to get an idea that the customs of the peoples of the Caucasus are close to the customs of the people of his country.

Stalin says that in the old times many peoples were hiding in the Caucasus mountains from persecution by their enemies. Later on, the remnants of these peoples were deposited there as geological layering. Up until these days in the Caucasus there are the remains of the Basques, the Sarmatians, the Avars, and the remains of nations who disappeared. Therefore, in ethnological terms Caucasus is of great interest. A scientist, who began to study the ethnography of the Caucasus, would have found a lot of interesting things. In Dagestan, for example, there are 3-4 gorges, located close to one another, where people live who speak different languages and do not understand each other.

Stalin asks the Ambassador, how is it going with the economic independence of Mexico.

Bravo says that in his opinion, Mexico cannot develop freely because of its strong dependence on the United States.

Stalin says that it is correct.

Bravo said that in all the countries of Latin America a movement for economic independence is currently developing. The people of Argentina feel great affection to the Soviet Union, as they see in it the vanguard in the struggle for the independence of nations. A delegation of 40 persons from Argentina attended the Congress of the Peoples for Peace – they were representatives of different political parties, religious beliefs, occupations, there were also workers. From that delegation 15 people visited the Soviet Union. These delegates visited the ambassador and told him about the great impression made upon them by their stay in the Soviet Union and their trips to the enterprises of Moscow, in particular to the factory named after Stalin, where they saw a car assembly.

Stalin said that the strength of the Anglo-Americans lies in the fact that while Spain, for example, cared primarily about spreading Catholicism, they sought to develop their industry. He notes that in order to become independent, one must have his own industry.

Bravo totally agrees with that. He says that is why they are fighting in Argentina for economic independence, and in their case they have achieved some success.

Stalin says that without this condition independence can not be achieved .

Bravo says that this year the Argentine plants for the first time gave the country's agricultural tractors and trucks of its own production.

Stalin asks whether there was oil in Argentina.

Bravo says that oil is there, but they do not have enough equipment for drilling oil wells.

Stalin asks whether there are specialists for the oil industry.

Bravo says that such specialists are available. Also notes that the oil industry in Argentina is nationalised, state-owned.

Stalin says that it is good, very good.

Bravo warns that his subsequent statement is going to be unofficial and says that a few years ago England was eating Argentinean meat for free, as the meat-packing industry, railroads, and the merchant fleet have all belonged to England, and that Argentina even had to pay extra for the meat to be exported to England.

Stalin asks whether it is going to continue to be so in the future?

Bravo says that this will not continue as at present railways, ports, and meat-packing industry are state-owned, but points out that Argentina is experiencing a shortage of wagons and railway equipment.

Stalin says that we will provide both wagons and machinery for Argentina.

Bravo thanks him.

Stalin asks to convey to President Peron of Argentina thanks for the greetings and wishes him success in the struggle for the independence of Argentina.

Bravo warmly thanks. He says that he will report this to Peron without delay.

Stalin says that in the old days, under the tsars, for example, the whole industry of Leningrad and the entire Baltic fleet were kept on English coal, but now it is no longer so, as we kicked the British out. Therefore, they curse us.

Bravo agrees.

Stalin says that the Anglo-Saxons like to sit on other people's backs. This must stop.

Bravo said that, fortunately, in all countries, a movement for national independence is developing, and that England will soon have to sit only at home.

Stalin. Let them sit in their own house, we do not intend to intrude into there.

Bravo says that Britain is now no longer dares to invade foreign countries, due to the growth of the national liberation movements around the world

Stalin. No, there are still some areas that England invades, Malaya, Africa and other places. He specifies that in Belgium and Holland there are also strong British interests. He notes that there are still places in the world that England can rob, but that they become fewer every day.

Bravo hopes that soon there will be no such places at all.

Stalin said that every nation, even the smallest one, want to live its own life.

Bravo totally agrees with that. He says that such a desire exists in every nation.

Stalin said that Latin American countries need to unite. He notices that maybe, the Latin American countries should establish something like the United States of South America?

Bravo said that, fortunately, in Latin America there is a united movement against foreign imperialism and that Argentina shows an example in the conquest of economic independence.

Stalin says that there is a need to create a union of several Latin American countries, for positive purposes, for purposes of economic development, not only in order to organise resistance. He wonders whether the Latin American countries want to form a union?

Bravo says that it looks like there is such a desire in Latin American countries, but once a country begins to struggle for economic independence, the U.S. raises a hostile campaign against this country in the media, trying to accuse her of commitment to communism and of  depending on the Soviet Union.

Stalin says that it only gives away the poor level of U.S. leaders' intelligence: they have a lot of money, but not so much brains. He notes at the same time that American presidents usually do not like to think for themselves and prefer using the ‘think tanks’ - in particular, Roosevelt and Truman had them, thinking that if they have money, then having intelligence was necessary.

He asks if the ambassador has any other questions for discussion.

Bravo says that he has not. He would like to state that he feels a sense of great pride and gratitude for the fact that he was allowed to express to the Generalissimo Stalin his respect, and that he will keep forever the memory of this visit.

Stalin replies that, if there will be need for that, he will be ready to once again to meet the ambassador, as it is his duty.

Bravo says he was delighted to see the Generalissimo Stalin in good health, happy and cheerful.

Stalin asked: what can cause such a joy, what benefits he has brought to Argentina?

Bravo says that Stalin is a man whom the peoples of the whole world think about, not only the Communists; everybody is interested in him, he is the man everybody asks about, the man whose books are read and the statements  are being used as a guide.

Stalin remarks that the ambassador is obviously exaggerating.

Bravo says that all his words come from the heart.

Stalin says he did not doubt it, but that people in other countries are exaggerating his role. One begins to praise, the other one picks up, and then they all begin to praise him.

Bravo says that whatever it was, but he knows for sure that nobody in the world is so much spoken about as Stalin.

Stalin jokingly remarks that while some are praising him, the others criticise him.  For example, Churchill.

Bravo once again thanks for the honour bestowed on him and says that he is filled with joy at the opportunity presented to him to see and talk to the Generalissimo.

At this point the conversation, which has lasted 40 minutes, was over.

The interview was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR A. Ya. Vyshinsky.

The contents of the conversation were recorded by Mr. Vyshinsky and Mr. Kolosovsky.

Published in The Independent newspaper, 2003. March 4.
RGASPI F. 558. Gn. 11. D. 250. L. 11.3 (archival reference)

I.V Stalin Works. - Volume 18. – Tver: Information
Publishing Centre ‘Union’, 2006, pp. 591-597.

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