‘Declassified Diplomacy’: Argentina
Declassified U.S. Records Highlight Argentine Military Abuses, Internal Carter White House Debate over Human Rights Policy
Kissinger Sought to Undermine Human Rights Message in Argentina
1,078 Pages of Records, mostly from Carter Presidential Library, Published
Obama Administration Credited with Important “Act of Declassified Diplomacy”
Washington, D.C., August 11, 2016 – In September 1980, the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires transmitted a detailed six-page cable, entitled “The Tactic of Disappearance,” to the State Department. Although the Argentine military regime had already “won the ‘dirty war,’” the cable stated, the military would not cease using “disappearance” as its preferred form of repression. “This unwillingness does not reflect simple bloody-mindedness by unthinking military men,” the Embassy reported in its comprehensive effort to explain the institutional mindset behind this horrific atrocity. (At least 22,000 people were “disappeared” during the first three years of the dictatorship.) “The military’s commitment to this method is profoundly rooted in elements that range from effectiveness through expediency to cultural bias.” The Embassy recommended enlisting the Vatican to advocate for ending these abuses in Argentina. “Getting the authorities to abandon this tactic will be an uphill battle. We must try.”
The “Tactic of Disappearance” cable was among 1,078 pages of formerly secret records released by the Obama administration this week; this special presidential declassification represents “the first tranche” of thousands of records, among them intelligence reporting from the CIA and Defense Department, that President Obama promised Argentines would be released in the coming months. “I believe we have a responsibility to confront the past with honesty and transparency,” Obama stated during a visit with human rights victims and activists in Buenos Aires on March 24, 2016, the 40th anniversary of the military coup.
Etiquetas: National Security Archive