9. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Status of Falklands Dispute; Beagle Negotiations; Argentine Ties to Nonaligned Movement
- Mr. Richard Forrester, Malvinas Desk, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- John F. Keane, Political Officer, American Embassy
Forrester does not expect any significant new Argentine initiative regarding the Malvinas dispute in the near future. Activity has been at a standstill in his office since the government crisis here led to postponement of talks scheduled for late last year.2 Rescheduling them may be put off until Ambassador Ortiz de Rozas is replaced in London.[Page 23]
I asked Forrester for his views on a recent article in Buenos Aires daily La Prensa by gadfly Iglesias Rouco, who alleged that the Galtieri administration may be considering sending an “ultimatum” to Her Majesty’s Government demanding recognition of Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas and significant movement toward resolution of the drawn-out dispute. Forrester brushed aside the article as Rouco’s fantasy. He acknowledged that there are officials in the Armed Forces and the Foreign Ministry who would like to threaten or use force, but these people are not involved in the issue. He noted, for example, that in the Foreign Ministry the only officials involved are Under Secretary Ros, the Malvinas directorate, the legal division in a supporting role and, of course, Foreign Minister Costa Mendez. He said that he did not know the attitude of Costa Mendez or the President, but it appeared to him that the administration is fully engaged in other issues (e.g. the economy and, in foreign affairs, the Beagle dispute). The Malvinas problem is on the back burner.
[Omitted here are portions of the discussion relating to Argentina’s dispute with Chile over the Beagle Channel, Argentine participation in the Non-Aligned Movement, and decisionmaking in the Argentine Foreign Ministry.]