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CWIHP Working Paper 97

Fake History? The Case of the "Falsified"(?) Letter: US-Argentina Relations, 1961-1962: John F. Kennedy, Arturo Frondizi, and a "Hopping Mad" US Ambassador

James G. Hershberg
January 2024

It has long been known that relations between John F. Kennedy's United States and Arturo Frondizi's Argentina during JFK's first year in office as president (and Frondizi's last) were cordial on the surface, but also somewhat strained, particularly by differences over how to handle Fidel Castro's Cuba. This paper examines new evidence from Frondizi's papers, complemented by declassified U.S. records, to show that this divergence extended to the Argentine leader's suspicions that figures at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires--from CIA agents to military officers to Ambassador Roy R. Rubottom--were conspiring with hardline Argentine military figures seeking to overthrow him. The Argentine records offer new insights into the dealings between Frondizi and JFK, including their two summits, in New York and Florida, in late 1961; into the early, abrupt end of Rubottom's term as ambassador to Argentina; and into the tensions over Cuba that hastened the Argentine military's ouster of Frondizi in early 1962, shortly after Buenos Aires resisted Washington's pressure to take a harder line against Havana at the Organization of American States (OAS) foreign ministers meeting at Punta del Este, Uruguay.

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About the Author

James G. Hershberg

James G. Hershberg

Former Public Policy Scholar;
Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University
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