453. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Ecuador, Argentina, and Nicaragua1

212082. Subject: The Secretary’s Meeting With Foreign Minister Pastor.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Treaty of Tlatelolco.]

Treaty of Tlatelolco

The Secretary said that he had understood from the Foreign Minister’s predecessor that Argentina would move on Tlatelolco, and he asked about the status of it.

The Foreign Minister said he wanted to be frank. Argentina had various sources of energy, among them nuclear plants solely intended for peaceful ends, for the development of the country, and to complement the country’s hydroelectric capacity. Argentina had now reached the stage of being able fully to implement its energy plan. An obstacle to this is the strong pressure being applied with respect to safeguards. He believed the GOA’s point of view is a just one. If Argentina can [Page 1121] complete its energy objectives it has no objection to full and complete safeguards. Argentina is fully determined to sign Tlatelolco but wants to be in a position to take a few steps to fulfill its energy plan. It hopes to finish negotiations for a heavy water plant in the next two months. Once these measures are achieved, Argentina plans adherence to the ban on biological warfare and to the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

The Secretary said he had not understood there were conditions in the previous Joint Communiqué.

The Foreign Minister noted that at the time the circumstances he referred to had not existed.

The Secretary again asked when Argentina could sign.

The Foreign Minister repeated this could be in a couple of months after Argentina has arranged purchase of the heavy water plant. The Secretary observed that he had not understood that Argentina was pressed on the matter such that it could not abide by the communiqué. He assumed Argentina’s stated intention would be carried out as indicated in the communiqué. The Foreign Minister’s response was the first indication of a different view prevailing in Argentina. President Videla had told President Carter that Argentina would ratify Tlatelolco and this was reflected in the communiqué.2

The Foreign Minister insisted the “central concept” had not changed; what was different were new circumstances which Argentina had to take into account before signing.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D790369–1171. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Sent for information to all American Republic diplomatic posts. Drafted by Michael Adams (ARA/ERA); cleared by Pastor (NSC), L. Paul Bremer (S/S), and Robert Steven (S/S–O); and approved by Vaky (ARA).
  2. See Document 437.