66. Talking Points Prepared by Arnold Nachmanoff of the National Security Council Staff for the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, May 18, 1971.1 2

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Meeting with Ambassador John Davis Lodge - May 21, 1971

Disestablishment of SOUTHCOM

-- You may wish to inform Ambassador Lodge that the President has decided to defer this decision for the present in view of the political and diplomatic uncertainties prevailing in the region.

Role of the Ambassador

-- You may wish to note that it has been the policy of this as well as previous Administrations that the Ambassador should have the primary role in managing all US programs in his country of assignment.

-- You may wish to observe that we will continue to have a bilateral aid program and that the Ambassador can influence the US position in multilateral agencies through the State Department.

The Political Situation in Argentina

The political situation in Argentina has become increasingly unstable in recent months since the ouster of President Levingston by the then Armed Forces Commander General Lanusse, and the latter’s assumption of the presidency. Lanusse has sought a formula by which the armed forces can hand over the Government to civilian rule within two or three years by attempting to work out some kind of compromise with the Peronists, but thus far without much success.

-- You may wish to ask Ambassador Lodge for his assessment of the current situation and the prospects for the Lanusse Government.

Economic Situation

Lanusse has sought to create popular support for his Government by following a more nationalistic and inflationary economic policy. Because of these policies and uncertainty about the future, the economic situation has shown a tendency to deteriorate.

-- You may wish to ask Ambassador Lodge for his views on the future course of Government economic policies and their impact on US interests.

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Thus far Argentina has taken a wait and see attitude with respect to Chile but is clearly apprehensive about the future of Argentine-Chilean relations.

-- You may wish to ask Ambassador Lodge for his views on this subject.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 768, Country Files, Latin America, Argentina 1969–71. Secret. Sent for information. No record of the meeting appeared in Kissinger’s schedule book. Sent under a covering May 18 memorandum from Nachmanoff to Kissinger.
  2. National Security Council staff member Nachmanoff briefed President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger for his meeting with Ambassador Lodge. Nachmanoff discussed SOUTHCOM, the role of the Ambassador, and the political and economic situation in both Argentina and Chile.