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

12800. Ref: Buenos Aires 219.2

U.S. policy toward Argentina for balance of 1966 will be to observe plans, policies, and executive skill of new government with view to developing longer range policy early in 1967 in light of experience accumulated in interim period.
Attitude toward GOA should be friendly but reserved. We wish Argentine people well and want to further economic and social development in line with principles of Alliance for Progress, but are not yet certain to what extent policies of new government will make our collaboration possible or what form new GOA may want assistance to take. We expect new authorities may need some time to familiarize themselves with their work and develop own ideas regarding our existing programs.
U.S. will observe its commitments to Argentina, in accordance normal international practice and international law. Commitments made with Argentina prior to the change of government must still be considered in effect, unless Congress approves amendments now pending to Foreign Assistance Act which would require termination of assistance.3

A. Economic Assistance

AID projects which are already under way pursuant to existing agreements should be continued unless the new authorities object. If in any instance Embassy/USAID believes any programs we have agreed to carry out should be suspended, reduced or altered, Department should be notified promptly with reasons.
Initiation of new projects during interim period is not contemplated. Department does not desire to encourage discussion of possible new projects during the interim period and suggests that any proposals from the GOA be heard without commitment.
In an intermediate area between firm commitments and new undertakings lie those projects which have been under intensive discussion during recent months but which have either lapsed or on which agreements have not been perfected. Grain storage project and Central Housing Bank project fall in this category. In these cases, Embassy/ USAID should await Argentine initiatives and report them with recommendations to Department–AID/W.

B. Military Assistance

Deliveries where there are contractual obligations will be observed. Until Congress acts on foreign aid legislation, we plan to hold deliveries on approved and funded grant program even though Argentines may have already been informed of them. Our present disposition (assuming satisfactory outcome on foreign aid legislation) would be to proceed with items such as spare parts, but continue withhold delivery on major end items such as armored personnel carriers until we can (a) assess fully US Congressional and public opinion on military assistance and (b) review five-year grant credit program. Country Team members should not convey foregoing policy to Argentine authorities but limit their comments on requests for military assistance to stating (a) Congress is now considering foreign aid legislation, and (b) requests will be referred to Washington for consideration and decision.
Training programs including MMTs and normal MILGP personnel movements should proceed according to plan.
Visits of General or Flag rank officers not assigned to Argentina should be deferred if possible. Suggest prior referral to State/Defense for decision in each case.
Department is aware foregoing does not cover all contingencies but desires supply requested interim guidance. Washington agencies studying assistance programs further and would appreciate your raising such additional policy questions as you deem pertinent.
DOD implementing instructions re training and rotation MILGP personnel to be issued promptly. Will be followed shortly by instructions on contractual obligations.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL ARG–US. Confidential. Repeated to USCINCSO. Drafted by Krieg; cleared by Pringle, Sternfeld, Salans, Gaud, Lang, and Sayre; and approved by Gordon.
  2. The Embassy submitted its recommendations for U.S. policy once diplomatic relations were restored in telegram 100 from Buenos Aires, July 8. Telegram 219 from Buenos Aires, July 18, requested the Department’s comments. (Both ibid.)
  3. Reference is to several proposals to modify the Foreign Assistance Act of 1966, in particular, an amendment offered by Senator Jacob K. Javits (R–New York), that would suspend assistance to any member of the OAS that “came into power by the unconstitutional overthrow of a freely elected, constitutional, democratic government.” (Telegram 6406 to Buenos Aires, July 13; ibid., POL 16 ARG) Although the administration eventually defeated the proposal, Congress adopted an amendment sponsored by Senator J. William Fulbright (D–Arkansas) that set a ceiling of $85 million per fiscal year for military assistance and sales to Latin America, not including support for military training or the Inter-American Peace Force in the Dominican Republic. (80 Stat. 803)