37. Telegram 62045 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Argentina1

62045. For Ambassador only. Subject: Possible Military Coup in Argentina.

1. Major General Luis Miro, Argentine Military Attaché, called at Department of Army March 12 and stated he had been requested by Argentine military to attempt obtain from US military information on Argentine nationals in US who may be leftist or Communist sympathizers, or former members of ERP, or who may be sponsored by GOA and are employed by Argentine airlines, Consulates, OAS, IBRD, or any other international organizations in US. He said information is required for possible recall of individuals in case of military coup in Argentina in near future, and to determine whereabouts of persons who may be hostile to coup.

2. Miro said military is exercising great restraint and hopes when it moves it would be in response to popular demand in Argentina. He doubted however that there would be any great civilian demand for coup. He said military does not have depth of experience necessary to govern for any extended period and that it is therefore imperative that power be returned rapidly to “a reasonable civilian element.” He added that coup is “open secret,” with situation in Argentina having deteriorated to a point of no return. He said only a change of government can halt further deterioration. He saw little or no hope for friendly US press when military moves, and he anticipates that no matter how [Page 113] restrained Armed Forces are, they will be accused of human rights violations and as having dictatorial ambitions.

3. We do not intend to supply information Miro requested, and Department of Army will so inform Miro when he returns March 17 from visit to New York and Boston. In accordance with standing instructions from Assistant Secretary Rogers, reiterated during ARA Chiefs of Mission meeting last November, we do not wish to become recipients of detailed information concerning plans for unconstitutional changes of government. We especially do not wish to receive advance information of possible moves in such detail as to provide the impression that we ourselves could in any way have become involved in, or identified with, or supportive of developments of this kind.

  1. Summary: The Department reported on a request by the Argentine Military Attaché for information on Argentines in the United States with leftist sympathies. The Department noted that the U.S. Government did not intend to provide the requested information, adding that, as a matter of policy, it did not wish to receive detailed information on plans for unconstitutional changes of government.

    Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Box 16, Buenos Aires. Secret; Immediate; Noforn; Roger Channel. Drafted by Bartch; approved by Emerson Brown in INR/DDC and by Ryan.