144. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Gordon) to Secretary of State Rusk 1

SUBJECT

  • Military Assistance to Argentina

When the United States resumed relations with the Argentine Government on July 15, 1966, it was decided that the United States would carry out existing commitments. We resumed disbursements on existing AID loans, but have entered into no new ones.

We are applying the same standards on loans through the Eximbank, IBRD, and IDB as we would on any other Latin American countries.

We have not as yet resumed military assistance. It was decided in June 1966 that we would not do so for at least six months, and then only after a full review of our relations. As you know, Ambassador Martin was here in January and Defense and State reviewed the military assistance issue in detail.2

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In summary we agreed:

1.
The FY 1966 grant program should be carried out as it had been agreed with Argentina before the coup. The program includes armored personnel carriers.
2.
The FY 1967 grant program should be carried out but with a substantial reduction which is more than proportional to the cut taken by most other Latin American countries. Controversial items such as armored personnel carriers were shifted from grant to sale. Other major items of a non-controversial nature such as C–130 cargo aircraft would be provided on a credit or cash basis.
3.
Tanks which Argentina sought to purchase before the coup would not be provided on any basis.
4.
Two destroyers authorized by the Congress would be loaned or sold to Argentina.3

I have consulted with the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Latin America which raised no significant objections to the proposed course of action. I talked to Senator Javits who said he understood our position, but could not modify his own position as reflected in the Javits Amendment. Mr. Sayre and I have talked to Carl Marcy and Pat Holt,4 respectively, but my several efforts to agree on a time for consultation with the Morse Subcommittee5 have been unsuccessful. Pat Holt informs me that it would not be possible to arrange for consultation before the end of February given the absence of Committee members in Mexico until February 15 and my absence at the Buenos Aires meetings. I believe that we should now proceed on the FY 1966 and FY 1967 programs.

As you are aware, our future policy on military assistance to Argentina and Latin America in general is under review.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, ARA Files, 1967: Lot 70 D 150, Argentina, 1967. Confidential. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. Also sent to Katzenbach. A notation indicates that Rusk saw the memorandum.
  2. Memoranda to Gordon from Dungan, Martin, and Sayre, January 12, 12, and 19, respectively, debating whether to resume military assistance to Argentina, are ibid.
  3. In telegram 134762 to Buenos Aires, February 10, the Department informed the Embassy of these decisions. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–8 US–ARG) According to a note attached to this memorandum, Rusk approved the telegram without reading it.
  4. Carl Marcy, chief of staff, and Pat Holt, staff member, of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
  5. Senator Wayne Morse (D–Oregon), was chairman of the Subcommittee on American Republics Affairs of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.