20. Action Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Sisco) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1

Suspension of Economic and Military Assistance to Argentina Under Section 620(a)(3) of the FAA

I have reviewed the staff study at Tab A analyzing the options we have for dealing with the problem of suspension of economic and military assistance to Argentina required by Section 620(a)(3) of the FAA and agree with the analysis and recommended course of action.

This action is essentially a holding operation in which we would explain to the Argentines the applicability of Section 620(a)(3) and ask their cooperation in either not using their ships in the Cuban trade or, if they are unwilling to do that, not to press us for new assistance so that we do not formally have to apply the aid suspension. (From what Bob Hill told us of his conversation with the President last month the chances of getting relief through a Presidential waiver is not in the cards.)

Playing for time in my judgment is the wise course in view of the increasingly fluid status of the Cuban problem. Just this morning Ambassador McClintock reported on a conversation with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Schacht in which the latter stated Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and probably Costa Rica and Honduras would join in a move to vote reestablishment of relations with Cuba (Tab C). Last week Rabasa told Jova that President Echeverria in his swing through South America which he began today would urge his hosts to reestab[Page 59]lish bilateral relations with Cuba and support Cuban attendance at the Buenos Aires MFM (Tab D).

Given the importance of this particular issue and the closeness with which you have followed the general Cuban problem, I thought you should be the one to take the final decision. I recommend that you approve Option A of the staff study and authorize the cable at Tab B instructing Embassy Buenos Aires to approach the Argentine Foreign Office. All other agencies represented on the Under Secretaries Committee have approved Option A.


1. That you approve Option A of the staff study (Tab A).

2. That you authorize the cable (Tab B).

  1. Summary: Sisco advised Kissinger to inform the Argentines they should avoid asking for new assistance or not allow their ships to engage in trade with Cuba.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850149–0591. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Bowdler. Neither Approve nor Disapprove was checked for either recommendation. The staff study that was attached at Tab A has not been found. Attached at Tab B is a draft telegram to Buenos Aires, dated July 5, in which the Department instructed the Embassy to remind Argentine officials of previous discussions concerning the FAA and to seek assurances that the Argentine Government would avoid use of Argentine vessels in the Cuba trade. No evidence that the cable was sent has been found. Attached at Tab C is telegram 6267 from Caracas, July 9, and attached at Tab D is telegram 5684 from Mexico, July 6. Hill’s conversation with Nixon is summarized in Document 17. In telegram 5146 from Buenos Aires, July 14, the Embassy reported that the Argentine Government planned to charter foreign ships to handle its trade with Cuba. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D740187–0781) In telegram 152021 to Buenos Aires, July 13, the Department stated that it was satisfied with the steps taken to avoid the shipment of goods to and from Cuba in Argentine vessels and that aid to Argentina could therefore continue. (Ibid., [no film number])