Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks at a Luncheon for President Agustin P. Justo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

December 02, 1936

An otherwise very delightful occasion makes me quite sad because within two hours I shall be going away and I am very, very sorry that I have to go away, because I cannot imagine a more delightful three days than I have had here. And yet, Mr. President, I do not feel as if I know Argentina yet, because to come only to Buenos Aires is to know only a part of this great Nation. One hundred and six years ago my grandfather came to Argentina. It has taken me more than a century to follow in his footsteps, and I am very certain that if I live it will not be another century before I come back. There is one matter which I should like to take this opportunity to say; and because it is a matter that affects both of our Nations—I might say an official matter-I shall read a very short statement.

Every Nation has the right and the duty to adopt such measures as may be necessary, in the interest of its own citizens, in order to prevent the entrance into its territory from abroad of contagious or infectious diseases prejudicial to human, animal or plant life. But it is equally clear that quarantine or sanitary regulations should not be used as disguised tariff measures; nor should they ever be applied except in accordance with strict justice.

About a year ago the Argentine Government and the Government of the United States negotiated a sanitary convention which had for its purpose the removal of an inequitable situation which had arisen as a result of the all-embracing character of legislation adopted by the Congress of the United States. The ratification of this convention would make it possible for Patagonia, a sheep-raising area, where the hoof-and-mouth disease has not existed, and which territory is separated by natural barriers from the cattle-raising regions of the Republic, to be relieved from the sanitary embargoes now placed upon it.

This convention, which I had the honor of submitting to the Senate of the United States last year, affects in no wise existing tariff rates. It is intended solely to remove an obvious inequity resulting from an unnecessarily wide application of a sanitary embargo.

The ratification of this convention by the Senate of the United States would eliminate an injustice without detriment or prejudice of any kind to the legitimate interests of the cattle industry of the United States, and without relaxing in the least full sanitary protection of our own livestock. I intend to present these facts clearly to the attention of the members of the Senate of the United States, with the hope that our Senate may give its consent to the ratification of the simple instrument of justice.

May I further say that I trust that conversations may soon be undertaken between us in order to ascertain the bases which exist for the negotiation of a trade agreement between our two countries, which may prove to be mutually profitable to both the people of the Argentine Republic and the people of the United States.

So I may take this last opportunity—I wish there were many more—to thank you and the good people of Argentina for the very wonderful reception that you have given me, and on behalf of my son and the members of my party to extend to you our profound thanks for all that you have done for us. As I said last night, I am counting on a visit from you, Mr. President, and Senora de Justo in Washington just as soon as you can.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at a Luncheon for President Agustin P. Justo, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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