132. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Argentina1

1451. Ref Embtel 1981.2

Department approves your action cutting off overt and official contact with Argentine authorities by all US representatives. You should maintain this posture until further instructions. Do not take any action vis-à-vis de facto authorities that could imply recognition or continuance official relations. However, discreet informal contact with de facto authorities, their spokesmen and intelligence sources for purpose obtaining information and learning of their plans should take place at your discretion.
In response any press inquiries, you may state you keeping Washington fully informed, that US Government carefully studying developing situation, that you have no instructions as yet bearing on future relations between US and Argentina, and that any USG announcement on policy in new situation will be made in Washington.
At noon briefing today we intend state we greatly concerned over displacement democratic government and rupture constitutional processes in OAS member state, that we are following developments carefully, and we are reviewing programs now in progress or planned for Argentina in light developing situation. In keeping with international practice in such cases, diplomatic relations are suspended. We will be consulting with other OAS members in accordance Resolution XXVI of 1965 Rio Conference.3 If you have any comment send Flash message.4
Further instructions will follow on AID and military assistance programs. Your immediate recommendations on these and other ongoing programs would be appreciated.5
Department appreciates Embassy’s alert reporting of last night’s activities and events and looks forward to continued up-to-the minute reports of developments.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 ARG. Confidential; Flash. Repeated to USCINCSO. Drafted by Dreyfuss and Sayre; cleared by Gordon, Martin, and Andreas F. Lowenfeld (L); and approved by Ball. At 9 a.m., Gordon read the text of the telegram to Rostow and asked if President Johnson would like to clear it. (Ibid., ARA Files: Lot 68 D 93, Telephone Conversations January 1966–December 1966) There is no indication on the telegram that the President cleared it.
  2. Document 131.
  3. Resolution XXVI of the Final Act of the Second Special Inter-American Conference recommended that member states consult before recognizing a de facto government, giving consideration to: whether a foreign country was involved in the overthrow of the old regime and whether the new regime promised to hold free elections, to honor its international obligations, and to respect human rights. After consultation, each country was free to decide whether to maintain diplomatic relations.
  4. The Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Leonard J. Saccio, responded: “I realize dilemma USG faced with but Department should take into consideration bare faced take over of constitutional democratic government by military with no justification. I recommend that some element of condemnation be indicated in Department statement through use of stronger language.” Saccio also suggested that the Department announce the immediate recall of the AID mission director and the military group chief. (Telegram 1986 from Buenos Aires, June 28 (1530Z); National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 ARG) The official statement, delivered at the noon briefing, did not reflect the Embassy’s suggestions. (Department of State Bulletin, July 25, 1966, p. 124)
  5. The Embassy recommended action in accordance with Situation F of the contingency plan (see footnote 3, Document 127), including: a) suspension of all economic and military assistance; b) immediate recall of the AID mission director and the military group chief; and c) cancellation of all official travel to Argentina. (Telegram 1988 from Buenos Aires, June 28; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 ARG) Although it agreed to cancel official travel to Argentina, the Department declined to recall any members of the Country Team and would only report that “careful consideration is being given to economic and military assistance during period of nonrecognition.” (Telegram 1460 to Buenos Aires, June 29; ibid.)