437. Editorial Note

On May 18, 1978, after numerous statements to U.S. officials over the previous months, (see, for example, telegram 9419 from Moscow, April 29; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780184–1211) Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev signed Protocol II of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. For the text of the statement announcing the decision, see Telegram 11259 from Moscow, May 20, 1978. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780213–0008)

Four days later, Argentine President Jorge Rafael Videla wrote President Jimmy Carter that “following necessary studies and consideration, my Government has decided that the Argentine Republic will accede to the Treaty of Tlatelolco. The appropriate official announcement will be made during the United Nations Conference on Disarmament.” Videla also said that this “singularly important act merely serves to confirm our constant policy in matters of nuclear energy, the basic lines of which I explained to you during our meeting. (See Document 420) The same act now becomes all the more relevant in that it is linked to United States’ disarmament policy and affords, without any doubt, clear evidence of the common concern of our two countries in behalf of a more just and stable world order.” (Letter from Videla to Carter; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Country File, Box 1, Argentina, 1–8/78)

On May 24, President Carter submitted Protocol I of the Treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification. Carter said that he was “convinced that it is in the best interest of the United States to ratify Protocol I. Such a step will strengthen our relations with our Latin American neighbors, further our global non-proliferation and arms control objectives and contribute to the full realization of Latin American Nuclear Free Zone.” He also hoped that his decision would influence other nations to adhere to the Treaty so it could “enter into full force and effect for the entire zone of application.” (Public Papers: Carter, 1978, pp. 961–962)

On June 12, Carter wrote Videla and said he “was very pleased to receive your letter informing me that Argentina would ratify the Treaty of Tlatelolco. The coming into force of the Treaty will represent a very significant step toward the establishment of a more secure world order. I very much hope that Argentina will be able to formally to ratify the Treaty and bring it into effect soon. This will give important impetus to our common efforts to reduce the dangers of further proliferation of nuclear weapons and to secure a nuclear free zone in Latin America.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Country File, Box 1, Argentina, 1–8/78)