8. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Christopher to President Carter 1

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Latin America]

Security Assistance and Human Rights. As you may know, five Latin governments “rejected” American military assistance based on the submission to Congress of the required human rights reports.2 It is interesting to note that four of the five seem to be having second thoughts about turning their backs on American military aid.

—Although the Argentines turned down our FY 78 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) credit program of $15 million, they still want to receive $700,000 in grant training. They also want to sign contracts for over [Page 42] $30 million in unobligated FY 77 funds, but we have refused thus far to honor their requests because of human rights conditions in that country.

—We have begun to receive indications that Brazil didn’t realize that its rejection of the $50 million credits for FY 78 meant that they would be unable to participate in the Foreign Military Sales cash sales program. They may ask permission to buy spare parts for American F–5E fighters and naval equipment, drawing on unobligated FY 77 money.

—El Salvador and Guatemala are now hedging on their initial refusals to participate in rather small credit and training programs for FY 78 and unobligated FY 77 money.3

We have told the Congress that we are not now asking that the FY 78 budget request for these countries be withdrawn. We prefer to let the situation settle down and assess our security relationships at a later date. However, the atmosphere in the House Appropriations Committee is such that some of these FY 78 programs may be eliminated, although we doubt that the Congress would eliminate the FY 77 funds still in the pipelines.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Latin America]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 18, Evening Reports (State), 3/77. Secret. At the top right-hand corner of the memorandum, Carter wrote: “To Warren J.”
  2. Reference is to Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Uruguay. The House Subcommittee on Foreign Assistance released human rights reports for 82 countries in March 1977. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. II, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, footnote 7, Document 17.
  3. In the left-hand margin next to this and the previous two paragraphs, Carter wrote: “We won’t beg them to take aid, but should leave door open as they moderate their stand. Sending Nelson R. [Rockefeller] will help, if he can go.”