139. Telegram From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas1

CAP 66481. Subject: Argentine Recognition. Acting Secretary Ball requests standby authorization to recognize the Ongania government.2

The classical criteria for recognition (i.e., general control of the country and pledge to honor international obligations) have been met. We are still awaiting public affirmation of the OAS criteria: respect for human rights, peaceful settlement of disputes, and eventual return to constitutional government.

Secretary Ball would use the standby authorization this way:

If the government makes a public statement on the OAS criteria prior to July 9, we would recognize promptly.
If the statement is not forthcoming, we would delay recognition for several more days after July 9.

Our Embassy in Buenos Aires is now in contact with the new Foreign Minister through a trusted intermediary.3 We relayed our desire for an affirmative public statement on the OAS criteria. He replied that he personally has no difficulty with the criteria, except for the election criterion which he believes can be handled by appropriate wording. (We would not stick on the establishment of an early date for elections.) He is trying to get President Ongania to make the statement before July 9.

Through the Chileans, Colombians, Peruvians, and Uruguayans we are seeking to bring additional pressure on Ongania for an early statement.

I recommend that you grant the standby authorization in the understanding that I will call you before recognition is extended to:

Report on the nature of the Argentine statement.
Obtain your approval of our announcement of recognition.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Argentina, Vol. II, 9/64–3/67. Secret. According to an attached note, the telegram was originally a memorandum drafted by Bowdler and revised by Bromley Smith. President Johnson was at his ranch in Texas June 30–July 11. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary)
  2. Reference is to a memorandum from Ball to the President, July 7, attached but not printed.
  3. The Embassy reported on the initial use of this channel in telegrams 79 and 80 from Buenos Aires, July 6. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL ARG–US)
  4. There is no indication on the telegram that the President approved this recommendation.