835.00/2–946: Telegram

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

top secret

432. Following expansion of thoughts transmitted in my telegram 430, February 8, 8 p.m. may help Department in reaching decision.

Since it is generally agreed that democratic forces would win in fair elections, problem is now one of doing what we can to further such elections rather than of bringing home to Argentine people what their Government has been doing.
For above purpose, I feel that constant menace of [“]bomb[”] would probably be more effective than actually dropping it in keeping Argentine authorities to their pledges of free elections.
Bomb is immensely powerful weapon so long as it is in our possession. In using it, we should be convinced that it is necessary for [Page 204] purpose sought, and we should be very careful of aim and timing. Not knowing what is in bomb, I cannot say whether Department’s proposed procedure covers these points, but I am somewhat fearful it does not.
Should bomb be released as planned, I consider it improbable that it would harm democratic cause in Argentina. I merely seek maximum effectiveness and recognize inherent risks under present circumstances.
I warmly concur in release to other Republics. Leakage to public of this fact or of lesser or greater part of material in bomb would in my opinion further basic purpose mentioned in paragraph 1. Argentine Government is sure to have whole story from Bolivians or Ecuadorans and that should increase their jitters re possibility of official release.
I would greatly appreciate permission to discuss this with one or two other people, since effects are so difficult to calculate.