135. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1


  • Our Policy Toward Argentina

Linc Gordon, through the IRG/ARA mechanism, has done a careful analysis of our political, military, economic and cultural relations with Argentina and come up with specific recommendations for continuing or suspending elements of on-going programs until diplomatic relations are resumed. The attached memorandum from George Ball contains these recommendations.2 It is a first-class job, which, incidentally, shows that the IRG/SIG mechanism can be made to work promptly and effectively.

What the memorandum proposes is a delicately balanced package which permits as much of our present programs to continue consistent with the automatic break in diplomatic relations. The dividing line is essentially official contacts: what can be carried forward without dealing officially with the new military government should proceed and what requires official contact should be held in abeyance. This puts us in a correct posture with respect to the other OAS countries while we consult on recognition without antagonizing the new Argentine government.

With respect to recognition, this must await formation of the new government, a definition of the policies it intends to pursue, a request for recognition and consultation with the other OAS governments. This may take 2–3 weeks. As George Ball suggests, we should seek the usual assurances regarding acceptance of international obligations, as well [Page 312] as respect for civil liberties and an early return to constitutional government, before recognizing. But we should not take too rigid a position on the scheduling of elections which might preclude recognition if we did not get the commitment.

I recommend your approval.

William Bowdler 3



Speak to me

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Argentina, Vol. II, 9/64–2/67. Secret.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Bowdler signed for Rostow.
  4. The President checked this option.