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The Fate of Freedom ElsewhereHuman Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina$
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William Michael Schmidli

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451966

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451966.001.0001

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On the Offensive

On the Offensive

Human Rights in U.S.-Argentine Relations, 1978–1979

(p.120) 5 On the Offensive
The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere

William Michael Schmidli

Cornell University Press

This chapter determines the role of human rights in U.S.–Argentine relations. Shortly after his arrival in Argentina in 1977, U.S. Embassy external affairs officer Franklin A. “Tex” Harris was asked if he would switch positions with the embassy’s internal affairs officer, whose assignment centered on monitoring the status of human rights. Harris accepted on one condition: that ordinary Argentines be allowed to enter the U.S. Embassy to report acts of political violence. He soon found himself at the forefront of the embassy’s effort to penetrate the layers of secrecy surrounding the Argentine military junta’s dirty war against perceived subversives. As a result, the volume and incisiveness of Harris’s human rights reporting made the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires unique among U.S. diplomatic posts overseas.

Keywords:   human rights, U.S.–Argentine relations, Franklin A. Harris, U.S. Embassy, political violence, dirty war

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