835.00/2–846: Telegram

The Chargé in Argentina (Cabot) to the Secretary of State

top secret

430. Due to rapid swing in situation, Deptel 222, Feb 8, noon raises grave issues. Perón has suffered a series of disasters recently and majority of observers now think he cannot win elections. To throw [“]atomic bomb[”] directly at Argentine Govt in present supercharged atmosphere is to court incalculable results. Opinion will be [Page 202] universal that we are trying to influence election results. Some Argentines will warmly applaud attack, others bitterly resent it; relative size of groups cannot be determined. Many will recall our recent reaction to Perón charges. Publication may also interfere with Highland Monarch46 negotiations.

Under circumstances, I recommend against official release of document at present. I recommend publication only under following circumstances:

In event of successful Perón coup.
If tide again swings toward Perón.
In event Perón elected, to justify toughness at Rio.
If Argentines attack us, or wilfully stop fulfilling commitments, or give other excuses.
If elections are flagrantly fraudulent.
As reason for breaking relations (if that is our intention in event Perón is elected).
Perhaps, if Perón attacks us Tuesday, or if case is aimed at a German penetration rather than Argentine Govt.

If case released to other Republics leak is probable but would perhaps be less harmful than official release. Also Argentines would doubtless get document and impending threat of its publication might terrify them into reasonably good conduct, particularly at elections. Once bomb is exploded publicly it cannot again be used.

Am somewhat distressed that I shall not have document when it is released; can Dept cable text of summary?

We cannot send ships or planes here without arousing screams of intervention, therefore I see little we can do except warn key Americans Wednesday of what is coining.

  1. See telegram 160, January 26, 2 p.m., to Buenos Aires, p. 192.