459. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Uruguay 1

480. From Mann. We note that Embtel 8292 reports your belief that if a golpe was in fact seriously contemplated it has been frustrated or effectively deferred and we approve of your decision to have Embassy officers quietly pass word around that United States is opposed to the violent overthrow of constitutional government. Hoyt will carry message from me to Yriart to same effect.

It seems to us here the real course of rumors about golpes stems from basic dissatisfaction on the part of the Uruguayan people with inept way in which Uruguayan government has managed its affairs. Even before we received your telegram we had commenced study of suggestions United States might make to Uruguay re their unsatisfactory economic situation, but we wonder whether political reform is not also an essential ingredient of political stability.

Do you agree that there is need for single executive and if so what are Colorado and Blanco groups prepared to do so that country can move in an orderly fashion in this direction? What other political reforms should be taken by the Uruguayans while there is perhaps still time?

I recall that in case of Cuba posture of U.S. Government was one of unqualified opposition to dictatorship even to the point of denying Batista arms. Cuba enjoyed a privileged position in trade. Communist takeover nevertheless followed due, in my opinion, partly to disenchantment of Cuban people with a series of inefficient, ineffective and corrupt governments which had failed to fairly distribute wealth and were oblivious to needs of poor.

Maybe the best service we can make towards preservation of democracy in Uruguay is to make it work. How can we do this?

Rusk
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 UR. Confidential. Drafted and approved by Mann. Mann briefed President Johnson on the situation in Uruguay, June 11; see Document 16.
  2. In telegram 829 from Montevideo, June 11, the Embassy provided details of an “alleged golpe.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 UR)