2. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- Peronista Candidate Campora Wins Presidential Election in Argentina
Dr. Hector Campora, the Peronista candidate, has been elected President of Argentina. Although not all the votes have been counted, runner-up Ricardo Balbin, Radical Party candidate, has conceded, having received less than half Campora’s vote. President Alejandro Lanusse on nationwide radio and television announced Campora’s victory, although he stated the result must be officially certified by the electoral court. A run-off vote probably will not be held even though Campora may not have received the majority technically required to win on the first balloting. The Peronistas also have won the majority of the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate, and the provincial governorships. The new civilian government will be inaugurated on May 25.
Campora and his Peronista group stated in the campaign that, if elected, they would accentuate state participation in the economy, which is already at a high level. They indicated that new foreign investment would have to provide new technology and new employment and that foreign ownership of Argentine banks would be ended. An increase in nationalistic rhetoric is anticipated. Most of the foregoing was also espoused by Balbin and is to a large degree an extension of present Argentine policies. In the formation of policies, it is expected that Campora will take account of the views of the Radical Party and keep a watch on military reactions. This should moderate any extremist tendencies.
Argentina may seek to establish a stronger leadership role in the hemisphere as a counter-poise to Brazil, its long-standing rival, and to assert its independence of U.S. influence. Resumption of relations with [Page 4] Cuba can be expected to come fairly early in Campora’s regime. Relations with Chile will probably continue as at present.
We do not now foresee that any U.S. business problems with the new government will lead to crises in our official relations, although our rapport will not be as good as it is now.
In the long term, a return to an elected government with all political groups freely participating should lead to political stability, more consistent economic and social policies, and the achievement of a more significant role in hemispheric affairs.
Summary: The Department of State reported on the outcome of Argentina’s election and discussed implications for U.S. policy.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 769, Country Files, Latin America, Argentina, 1 September 1971–31 December 1973. Confidential. An April 13 CIA memorandum observed that Cámpora intended to “follow the wishes of Perón in every important aspect of conducting the affairs of his government,” making Perón “the de facto President of Argentina.” (Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 80M01066A: ER Subject Files, Box 15, Folder 11: Executive Registry Subject Files—1973 WH Division/DDO)↩