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MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION /?*/ﾃつｫ0? #ﾃつ｣"4
June 12, 1978..."' $@
Navy Anti-Subversive Campaign CC J $ﾃつｦ?*''**ﾃつｦ
A Senior Rear Admiral in the Argentine Navy . ..-^
Captain Paul Barrish, Naval Attache,
Amembassy Buenos Aires
F. Allen Harris, Political Officer,
Amembassy Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Restaurant
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Control Over Anti-Subversive Operations
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Triggered by a comment from Capt. Barrish regarding the United/^ﾃつ｣|
States' retraining effort of its returning Viet-Nam veterans *ﾃつ｣}i:f'?i
the Admiral launched into an extended conversation regarding
the Argentine Navy's anti-subversive operations. The Admiral.
noted there were three centers for Navy operations within the .
greater Buenos Aires area -- the Navy Headquarters, the Navy :
Mechanical School and the Coast Guard Headquarters. He em-
phasized that there had been over a 50 percent cutback in
the number of operations conducted from the Coast Guard Head-
quarters. The Admiral noted that he had two major concerns
regarding the personnel involved in anti-subversive activities.
^ His first concern was related to identifying those persons
.3 who did not have the temperament for this difficult assignment.
~'? He noted that these people were generally identified by in-
, creased use of sick leave. -He said that as soon as any changes
ﾃつｦ': in a person's pattern of sick leave were noted, they were
^ immediately reassigned to other duties. He then commented
" that the second and more difficult problem was to spot over
zealous officers. He said that a number of Navy personnel
had become so dedicated to their anti-subversive activities
that serious control problems developed. Normally this resulted. ^J
in the unauthorized carrying out of an operation which had been ﾃつｦ**ﾃつｦ'ﾃつ｣$
rejected at higher levels. The Admiral emphasized that a clear %!&
: signal had been sent to all counter-subversive operational perTvr#
sonnel that persons found carrying out unauthorized operations ﾃつｦ;%^l
:. would be severely treated. The Admiral mentioned, as an
i example, that persons who developed plans for five or six
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ﾃつｦARGENTINA PROJECT (S2O00O0O44)
iLS. DEPT. OF STATE, A/RPS/ffS
jMaigaret P. Grafeld, Director
1)0 Release ( ) Excise ( )Deay
-Declassify: ( ) In Part (X,InPuH
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operations and were authorized to run only two or three, but
in fact carried out the total number planned, were given the
same summary justice for their excesses as are the terrorists
The Admiral commented about the necessity of placing Navy
officials through response retraining. He said the Navy
was conducting retraining operations for its personnel who
had been engaged in anti-subversive operations in order to
better prepare them for their return to normal Navy respon-
sibilities. Retraining and reassignment of overly aggressive
Navy personnel coming out of anti-subversive activities con-
stituted a major Navy concern at present. Persons in this
category were generally assigned to training slots or to
In response to a question regarding a dispute between Col.
Roaldes, who leads the Army First Corps' Buenos Aires anti-
subversive operations and Rear Admiral Chamorro who heads
the Navy anti-subversive operations at the Navy Mechanical
School, the Admiral said that it was inaccurate to describe
the matter as a fight. He characterized Col. Roaldes as a
fine man with responsibility for a very difficult job and one
who discharges his duties with great professionalism. The
Admiral continued that there had been discussions between
Roaldes and Chamorro about a request from Col. Roaldes to
include First Army Corps operatives in each mission run by
the Navy in greater Buenos Aires area. Chamorro was willing
to accept the assignment of Army personnel to the Navy
Mechanical School operations unit on the condition that
persons so assigned would be under the complete authority
of the Navy and would not report independently to the First
Corps. According to the Admiral, that proposal was unaccept-
able to Roaldes and the final result was an improvement in
information coordination between Navy and Army operational
The Admiral commented that there was good cooperation between
the various anti-subversive units in the Federal Capital. He
noted that "free zones" had been completely eliminated in
the fall of 19 76. Consequently, the First Corps knew of all
operations of conducted by the Navy outside of the Navy's
geogi'aphic areas of responsibility as the Naval units had
to request operational clearances for their vehicles and
The Admiral mentioned that the wider dissemination of informa- ;./>;.
tion regarding operations had in fact led to abuses in the..'.';- . ryJ1"
form of theft and extortion by "bandas" of federal and .ﾃつｦ>' *yj;
provincial police agents. He cited the following example: ' "'--if^U
The Navy plans to conduct an operation at a particular address.i&fcjgj
in Belgrano. It informs the First Corps that an operation j\v- ~
will be conducted at a certain hour by specified number of Zy
men in a described set of vehicles. This information is then\
transmitted to the local police station where it is picked up^
by a member of these gangs. The illegal "bandas" then go to"!,.
the site of the operation and spot the exact house or apartment
As soon as the operation is completed by the authorized unity?^
members of the "banda" posing as operatives enter the house"---V'
or apartment and confiscate property and money for their . >^
personal gain. The Admiral emphasized that Col. Roaldes was>
one of those persons within the military most strongly-opposing
"booty operations." He emphasized the taking of "booty" is
not part of the anti-subversive operational doctrine.
The Admiral commented briefly about the summary adjudications
(juicio sumario). The Admiral noted that in every disappear-
ance case which is presented to him or to the Embassy, the ;,?
"disappeareds" are characterized as "angels". He related a
story regarding the children of a Naval officer who had . ..ﾃつｦﾃつｫ
disappeared. He had made a special effort to find out the .' ;
circumstances regarding their disappearances. He discovered "-ﾃつｦﾃつｦ
that the boy and the girl were involved in Montonero supply ~-.\
and propaganda operations respectively. Their parents had
no knowledge whatsoever of the degree to which the children "
were involved with the Montonero organization. He said that ~)l
such cases were typical. One could not blame the parents* ;:
strong reaction over the loss of their children but he knew J
that a fair summary trial was conducted .in each case and that ﾃつｦ.ﾃつｦ!,
only those persons "disappeared" who were involved in terrorist,
activities or who were active subversive supporters of the . ;%*?
terrorists and were deemed to be "irrecuperable".
The Admiral stated that the Navy had instituted a change in its Sp?
anti-subversive procedures. He stated categorically that the ^" l
Navy no longer would be responsible for any "disappearances" ': &
(in the sense of unexplained deaths). Persons "detained" in
operations conducted by Navy units would either be turned ﾃつｦ'ﾃつ｣$
over to the justice system for criminal trial or for executivei&L;
detention under the FEN or they would be acknowledged as killed'^
in combat" (i.e. executed). The Admiral said that he personally^
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realized that the government's disappearance-policy had long
term problems due to the family uncertainties it created. He
predicted that when the Navy and Army agree on new procedures
on counter-subversive activities, there would be no delay in
implementing the revised procedures.
The Admiral emphatically denied the rumor that the "avy Kechan- : : .
ical School is a concentration camp. He said that it is the .-
Headquarters of Navy Intelligence and that people have been ;'..;
held there only for questioning. ﾃつｦ - ;,'
The Admiral acknowledged that the Navy was pushing actively
for the Armed Forces to acknowledge those killed in battle. ,:^
He noted that the government's information was incomplete . . :;,;h
and there was not information on many of the persons reported .wy^*
as having disappeared. He also pointed out that at the con- . '*>.'ﾃつｦ.;ﾃつｦ :./-^
elusion of any war, a complete list of those killed in battle , -^^
is impossible to produce. He remarked that a small number of - -^5
the persons who have been reported as disappeared are in fact ﾃつ｣
government double agents posing as Montoneros who have been vrﾃつ｣
reported as disappeared. He emphasized again that many of the . f;
names on the various lists of disappeared persons are simply
unknown to the government.
The Admiral mentioned the Navy's efforts to have the three -t
Services recognize the nonrecognized .("DAM") prisoners.and
to proceed with the adjudication of those persons held at the - J;
disposal of the executive power. He had no comment about how ;ﾃつｦ-
many "DAMS" there were at present.
In commenting about the security forces' summary trials, the ?
Admiral stated that the standard used was whether the indi-
viduals were Marxists involved in politics or Marxists involved \
in terrorism. If the persons- were in the latter category, they '\
would be judged as "irrecuperable". He claimed that the govern- .. .'.
ment had no intention of going after the members of the Argentine i
Communist Party who were not involved in terrorism but merely . ;t
espoused Communist ideas. He mentioned, as an example, an :>';'....ﾃつ｣
operation which was conducted last year by the Coast Guard ﾃつｦ :"vl
against a Mohtonero column composed of two cells. Of the .'ﾃつｦﾃつｦ;ﾃつｦ-;-
persons captured, sixteen were turned over to the justice . ; ,'i>>
system as it was decided that these individuals were "small . ...; *ﾃつ｣v!
fry" ("perejil" - parsley). . .^:M
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The Admiral stated that he was placing more emphasis on two ' :~S<.
counterintelligence targets -- first, identifying those Kavy _'ﾃつｦﾃつｦ/*ﾃつ｣_
operatives who were too aggressive and secondly, identifying -^
Marxist infiltration within his Command itself.
The Malvinas Dispute
The Admiral stated that the British handling of the Malvinas":
negotiations demonstrated that they were clearly interested ^
in reserving the economic resources of the islands and the'...';
adjacent water for themselves. He contrasted the British ﾃつｦﾃつｦ/;
rapid turnover of its former colonial empire with their
reluctance to withdraw from the Malvinas. He noted that the
major possibility of confrontation with the British existed
over British or European Community ship fishing off the
Malvinas Islands in waters regarded as Argentine. He said
that this was the likeliest potential cause of confrontations
with the British stemming from the Malvinas problem.
The Admiral noted in passing that President Videla was annoyed 2^
that Aja Espil did not provide the GOA advance notice regarding;?^
Secretary Newsom's recent visit to Buenos Aires. The Admiral "ﾃつｰ
commented that Videla, after learning of the visit, called
Montes and informed him of Newsom's pending arrival. This
event did not make Aja Espil look well in either the Presi-
dent's or Montes' eyes.
Comments . . ?_
The efforts described above by the Navy to ensure better control;^
over its counter subversive operations have also been noted in "'""^
the other Services. Navy control all along has been better
than that of the Army, the Federal Security Service and other ^
security organizations. ﾃつｦﾃつ･%&,
If true that some an ti-subversive operatives have been summarily/**^
executed for having committed unauthorizedrabuses, we believe "J
that such instances have been rare. ---*'
The technique of no more disappearances that the Admiral an- ﾃつｦ
nounced is in fact not new. There have been many mock combat :
incidents staged in the past by security forces to justify the/pS
killing of detained subversives. It should also be noted thatij^Ji
the Admiral's comments about a "new" policy do not signify an
end to disappearances. The result of the policy described by /?^
the Admiral, if implemented by all the Services, will be that ;ﾃつ｣jJ
detainees will be held incommunicado for interrogation but . ",;>.Aﾃつ｣j
viil be eventually accounted for in one way or another. "**
We believe.the Admiral is correct in his assertion that the
Armed Forces do not have complete lists of all those killed | <
in the counterterrorist campaign and therefore cannot account.-.'
for all the "disappeared". According to a well-placed security
source, the Armed Forces are preparing a list of terrorists. >>\;
killed in the countersubversive campaign which eventually
will be published by the government. (Navy sources have '
taken credit for this initiative which has been discussed% ,
in Junta meetings.)
' - ? .>
According to a security source, there are about 500 unrecog- -1;^
nized prisoners being held in temporary detention centers :';j
around the country in addition to the 3300 official PEN -
In view of the recent policy statements about the need to
continue the war against "ideological subversion" -- the
latest such pronouncement having been issued by Air Force
Brigadier Agosti in the name of the Junta on July 7 -- we
believe that the possibility of the government turning
against the Communist Party here is, at least, an open
(Note: This conversation is also being reported in part by
Defense Attaches1 Office - See IR 6804037578.)
DA0:Capt. PBarrish (draft)
SY :RJKelly (draft)
ARA/ECA - Mr. Bumpus
HA/HR - Ms. Cohen
ARA - Mr. Lister
INR/RAR - Mr. Buchanan
- ﾃつｦ>.- -**
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