735.5–MSP/12–2251: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Argentina


A–186. The purpose of this airgram is to furnish the Embassy with the separate instructions referred to in the penultimate paragraph of the Department’s circular airgram of December 18, 1951,1 relating to implementation of the Mutual Security Act of 1951. This message should be made available to U.S. Service Attaches and the Chief of U.S. Army Mission for their information.

In presenting plans for implementation of the military grant aid program for Latin America to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense indicated that, primarily for military reasons, Argentina had been included in the list of countries with which specific programs of grant aid should be initiated, but suggested that the Secretary of State might wish to delay negotiations with that country until a more appropriate time. The latter agreed that negotiations with Argentina should be delayed until a more appropriate time.

The specific program contemplated for Argentina, subject to the conditions described above and to the negotiation of the Bilateral Mutual Assistance Agreement required by the Act, would involve US assistance in the preparation of Army units for missions important to hemisphere defense. Furthermore, in the event that satisfactory agreements cannot be concluded with one or more of the nations now tentatively scheduled to be approached for Air Force contributions, the Secretary of Defense recommended that a program in this category be attempted with Argentina.

It is not possible to state when a “more appropriate time” for an approach to Argentina might be. Argentine foreign policy and the state of Argentine–US relations must be primary considerations. At present, the unsatisfactory status of US–Argentine relations make [Page 1138] quite impossible any US approach to Argentina leading to US military grant aid to that country. Furthermore Peron’s policies appear to indicate clearly that his Government will not enter into any undertakings requiring the use of Argentine forces outside of Argentina.

If you are asked by responsible inquirers why the US is not offering to enter into negotiations to reach a Bilateral Military Assistance Agreement with Argentina, you may in your discretion use appropriate parts of the information included in the seven numbered paragraphs of the Department’s circular airgram of December 18. It will be obvious that based purely on military criteria Argentina might be expected to be approached in this program. If called upon to explain why this was not done you may wish to state frankly that Argentina’s antagonistic attitude toward US and US objectives has created a situation among the US public and in the US Government which would make any grant military assistance impossible at this time. You might also mention that Peronista pronouncements about sending no Argentine military contingents outside the national territory, particularly where these emanate from a country possessing Argentina’s potential for a contribution to collective defense, can only be interpreted as contrary to the objectives of the program.

You are requested to keep the Department fully informed with regard to developments which may indicate changes in Argentine policies and attitudes which in turn would justify an approach to the Argentine Government with a view to entering into negotiations for a Bilateral Military Assistance Agreement.

  1. Not printed (720.5–MSP/12–1851).