131. Telegram From the Embassy in Argentina to the Department of State1

1981. Subj: Reported Fall of Illia Government (report number eight).2

At 0200, based on many sources but not officially confirmed, commanders-in-chief of armed forces have taken over as junta or provisional government. Reports also state that Ongania will be declared provisional president at 0700.
Report from Army G–2 source is that President Illia’s resignation was demanded and received.3
Troops now surround War Ministry. Troops not in evidence outside presidency. City quiet.
Assuming military take-over now or about to be accomplished fact, have instructed all Embassy MilGroup and U.S. agencies personnel to desist until further notice from formal contact with Argentine authorities. Military mission personnel having offices in ministries will either report at Embassy or (lower echelons) stay at home. All other personnel will report at Embassy as usual.
Await instructions. No further reports until 0700.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 ARG. Confidential; Immediate. Repeated to DIA and USCINCSO and passed to the White House, DOD, CIA, USIA, NSA, and CINCLANT for POLAD.
  2. In telegram 1974 from Buenos Aires, June 27, the Embassy reported that the Commander in Chief of the Army, Pascual Angel Pistarini, had ordered the arrest of Carlos Augusto Caro, Commander of the Second Army Corps. (Ibid.) The Embassy continued to follow developments, subsequently predicting the “imminent fall of Illia government.” (Telegram 1980 from Buenos Aires, June 28; ibid.) For an account of events leading to the coup, see Document 134.
  3. The Embassy later reported that Illia had not yet resigned but agreed to leave the Presidential palace, and Onganía was to be “installed as new President some time this morning.” (Telegram 1983 from Buenos Aires, June 28; ibid.)