214. Information Memorandum From the Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs (Burt) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Eagleburger)1


  • Delivery of Civilian Helicopters to Argentina

Customs informed us today that a Hughes 500–D helicopter was on the dock in Los Angeles awaiting shipment to Buenos Aires where the acknowledged end-user would be the Argentine Air Force. Three engine spares also may be involved.

The 500–D is an unarmed civilian helicopter comparable to the Army’s Cobra attack helicopter. The 500–D, however, does not require either a munitions control or a Commerce Department export license.

I have contacted the Commerce Department which has agreed to hold up shipment on the pretext of clarifying whether the helicopter in question is a model 500–D or a model 500–MD (which would require an export license).

I think we have plugged the dike on this one, but it obviously was a close call. We probably will not be so lucky in the future, and we should expect to experience some leakage in our “arms” embargo to Argentina.

  1. Source: Department of State, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Miscellaneous Files, March 1981–February 1983, Lot 83D210, Falklands [Folder 1]. Confidential; Nodis. Drafted by Kanter.