Jimmy Carter photo

Meeting With President Jorge Rafael Videla of Argentina Remarks to Reporters Following the Meeting

September 09, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. We discussed several items, but the two that we discussed at most length were, first, the question of nonproliferation of nuclear explosives. We are very hopeful that Argentina, which has been in the nuclear field for 25 years in the production of power, will join with other nations in this hemisphere in signing the Treaty of Tlatelolco to prevent any development of explosives. And I was very encouraged by what President Videla had to say.

The other item that we discussed at length was the question of human rights--the number of people who are incarcerated or imprisoned in Argentina, the need for rapid trial of these cases, and the need for Argentina to let the world know the status of the prisoners.

President Videla was very frank with me about pointing out the problems that have existed in Argentina and his commitment to make very rapid progress in the next few months. He wants Argentina to be judged not on his words alone, but on the demonstrable progress that he stated would be made.

We had a thorough discussion, and I think it was one of the most productive and most frank discussions that I've had with any leader.

I've had a chance to visit Argentina in the past and know the tremendous strength of your people and of your economy, the beauty of your nation, and the serious problem that presently exists in the opinion of the world about Argentina because of the repression of human rights and the terrorism that has existed there.

But we have great hopes that rapid progress might be made in alleviating this problem. And I was encouraged by what President Videla had to say.

REPORTER. Mr. President, it seems that Israel is intent on establishing yet more settlements on the West Bank. Does that make it even more difficult to find a peaceful settlement in that area?

THE PRESIDENT. Obviously, this creates additional problems. I will be meeting with Foreign Minister Dayan later on this month, and this will be one of the items on the agenda. Our country has taken a consistent stand for many years that the establishment of settlements in the occupied territories on the West Bank and otherwise by Israelis is illegal, and obviously, this creates a problem and we intend to pursue it.

Q. But despite our stand, in fact it seems to some in defiance of it, they persist in doing so.

THE PRESIDENT. You certainly analyzed it very well.

Q. Could you respond to Secretary Bergland's comments on Mr. Lance?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard about it.

Note: The President spoke at 9:30 a.m. on the South Grounds of the White House. His concluding remarks in Spanish were not included in the transcript.

The transcript of the remarks was made available by the White House Press Office. It was not issued in the form of a White House press release.

Jimmy Carter, Meeting With President Jorge Rafael Videla of Argentina Remarks to Reporters Following the Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241751

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