The US knew about the 1976 Argentina Military Coup Plans

The US knew about the 1976 Argentina Military Coup Plans

The United States government knew in 1976 the plans of the Argentine military led by Jorge Rafael Videla to carry out a coup against María Estela Martínez de Perón (also known as Isabel Perón), which led to a dictatorship that left 30,000 people disappeared and spread terror, according to documents declassified in Washington.


The cables, published by the National Security Archive (NSA), indicate that the then US ambassador in Buenos Aires, Robert Hill, was a central figure in US involvement and was in contact with the coup plotters from the beginning of that anus.

Specifically, Hill received the coup leader Emilio Eduardo Massera, one of the leaders of the Videla Military Junta.

The documents also indicate that Hill produced a report of the coup plotters’ plans for then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in mid-February, a month before the March 24, 1976 coup.


The Undersecretary of State, William D. Rogers, was in charge of informing Kissinger about the content of the report sent by Hill, called “Possible coup in Argentina.”

“It is to be expected that (the military government) will be friendly with the United States. However, by intensifying the fight against the guerrillas, it is almost certain that an Argentine military government will incur human rights violations that generate international criticism,” Rogers said.

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“This,” he added, “could lead to public pressure and pressure from the United States Congress that would complicate our relations with the new regime.”

Another of the 14 declassified documents notes that officials in Kissinger’s State Department described the coup plotters’ plans as a “military government for a prolonged period and of unprecedented severity.”

Also that Washington had communicated “with discretion” to the military that the United States would recognize the new regime.

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The documents also reveal that the military tried to contact Kissinger directly, something that Hill stopped.

“Such a meeting, if it were to become public knowledge, could be misinterpreted to the detriment of the officers themselves and Secretary Kissinger,” Hill said.

The ambassador also assured that “the embassy has already indicated discreetly and through third parties to the military that the United States government will recognize a new government in Argentina.”

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The documents also reveal that the then recently retired director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Daniel O. Graham, who had also been deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), landed in Buenos Aires 12 days before the coup accompanied by then-Republican Senator Jesse Helms.

According to an FBI cable, Videla was seeking recommendations from Graham to handle “the public relations aspect.”

Ambassador Hill, however, intercepted the Americans and invited them to leave the country.

“It could have been extremely embarrassing to say the least and, at best, very damaging to our relationships,” Hill said.

The US ambassador himself decided to leave Argentina on March 17, a week before the coup, to avoid being linked to the uprising: “The fact that he is out of the country when the coup actually happens would be, I think, a fact in our favor that indicates the non-participation of the embassy and the government of the United States”.

Another of the diplomatic cables reveals a communication from Hill with the White House National Security Council (NSC) on the eve of the coup urging him to be prepared to contact the military.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.