U.S. Department of State  
Background Notes: Argentina, July 1997 
Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.

OFFICIAL NAME: The Argentine Republic

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY

Area: 2.8 million sq. km (1.1 million sq. mi.); about the size of the 
U.S. east of the Mississippi River; second largest country in South 
America. 
Cities: Capital--Buenos Aires (city: 3 million; metropolitan area: 12 
million). Other major cities: Cordoba (1.2 million); Rosario (950,000); 
Mar del Plata (900,000); Mendoza (400,000) 
Terrain: Andes mountains and foothills in west. Aconcagua, (7,021 m; 
23,034 ft) is highest peak in the Western Hemisphere; remainder of 
country is lowland; central region characterized by vast grassy plains 
(pampas). 
Climate: Varied: predominantly temperate with extremes ranging from 
subtropical in the north to arid/subantarctic in far south.

PEOPLE

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Argentine(s). 
Population (mid-1995: 34.6 million. 
Annual population growth rate: 1.3%.  
Ethnic groups: European 97% , mostly of Spanish and Italian descent.

Religions: Roman Catholic 92% , Protestant 2% , Jewish 2% , other 4%. 
Language: Spanish. 
Education: Years compulsory--7; Adult literacy--96.2%.  
Health: Infant mortality rate--23.6/1000. Life expectancy of newborns: 
72.3 years. 
Work Force: Industry and commerce--36% , agriculture--19% , transport 
and communications--6%.

GOVERNMENT

Type: Republic. Independence: July 9, 1816. 
Constitution: 1853, revised 1994. 
Branches: Executive--president, vice president, cabinet.  
Legislative--bicameral congress (72-member Senate, 257-member Chamber of 
Deputies). 
Judicial--Supreme Court, federal and provincial trial courts.
Administrative subdivisions: 23 provinces and one federal capital 
district. 
Political Parties: Justicialist, Radical Civic Union, FREPASO, numerous 
smaller national and provincial parties. 
Suffrage: universal adult.

ECONOMY (1997 projections)

GDP: $292 billion. 
Annual real growth rate: 5% . 
Per capita GDP: $8,500. 
Natural resources: Fertile plains (pampas). Minerals: lead, zinc, tin, 
copper, iron, manganese, oil, uranium.
Agriculture (7% of GDP, about 60% of exports by value) Products--grains, 
oilseeds and by-products, livestock products. 
Industry (26% of GDP), Types--food processing, oil refining, machinery 
and equipment, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals.  
Trade: Exports--$24.5 billion: grains, meats, oilseeds, manufactured 
products; Major markets--Brazil 25% ; U.S. 11% ; EU 25% .Imports--$25.5 
billion: machinery, vehicles and transport products, chemicals. Major 
suppliers--U.S. 23% , Brazil 20% , EU 28% . 

U.S.-ARGENTINE RELATIONS

The United States and Argentina currently enjoy a close bilateral 
relationship after many years of estrangement. The efforts of the Menem 
Administration to open Argentina's economy and realign its foreign 
policy have contributed to the improvement in these relations, and the 
interests and policies of the two countries coincide on many issues. 
Argentina and the United States often vote together in the United 
Nations and other multilateral fora. Argentina has participated in many 
multilateral force deployments mandated by the United Nations Security 
Council, including recent missions to Haiti and the former Yugoslavia. 
Reflecting the growing partnership that marks ties between the two 
countries, on December 5, 1996, President Clinton and Argentine 
President Menem announced the establishment of a special consultative 
process to address important issues in the bilateral relationship.

U.S. Embassy Functions 
The U.S. Mission in Buenos Aires carries out the traditional diplomatic 
function of representing the United States Government and people in 
discussions with the Argentine Government, and more generally, in 
relations with the people of Argentina. The excellent political 
relationship between the United States and Argentina is increasingly 
reflected in the U.S. embassy's efforts to facilitate cooperation in 
nontraditional areas such as counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, and 
scientific cooperation on space, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and 
the environment. 

The Embassy also provides a wide range of services to U.S. citizens and 
businesses in Argentina. Officers from the U.S. Foreign Service, Foreign 
Commercial Service and Foreign Agricultural Service work closely with 
the thousands of U.S. companies which maintain offices and/or do 
business in Argentina, providing information on Argentine trade and 
industry regulations and assisting U.S. companies starting or 
maintaining business ventures in Argentina. Attaches accredited to 
Argentina from the Department of Justice, including the Drug Enforcement 
Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs, the 
Federal Aviation Administration, and other federal agencies work closely 
with Argentine counterparts on issues related to international crime and 
other issues of concern.

An active, sophisticated, and expanding media environment, together with 
growing positive interest in American culture and society, make 
Argentina an uncommonly receptive environment for the information and 
cultural-exchange work of the United States Information Service. The 
number of Argentines studying in U.S. universities is rapidly growing, 
and the Fulbright fellowship program has more than tripled the annual 
number of U.S. and Argentine academic grantees since 1994.

The embassy's consular section provides vital services to the more than 
20,000 U.S. citizens resident in Argentina as well as to the more than 
330,000 who visit Argentina annually. Services include issuing 
passports, documenting the birth of U.S. citizens abroad, assisting in 
participation in U.S. elections by registered voters, offering tax and 
Social Security information, assisting U.S. citizens arrested and/or in 
jail in Argentina and provision of other services in the event of death, 
destitution, or other emergencies abroad. 

Principal U.S. Embassy Officers 
Ambassador-vacant
Charge d'Affaires, a.i.--Ronald D. Godard 
Deputy Chief of Mission--Manuel Rocha
Political Counselor--Mark A. Sigler 
Economic Counselor--Thomas H. Martin 
Commercial Counselor--Michael Likila 
Consul General--Bryant J. Salter 
Science Counselor--Philip Covington 
Administrative Counselor--Benjamin Castro 
Defense Attache--Col. Jeffrey W. Whisenhunt, USAF 
Commander, U.S. Military Group--LTC (P) Clark Lynn III, USA 
Public Affairs Officer--Alexander Almasov

The U.S. embassy and consulate general in Argentina are located at 4300 
Colombia Avenue in Buenos Aires' Palermo district. Mission offices can 
be reached at tel. (54)(1)777-4533/34; fax (54)(1)777-0197. Mailing 
addresses are: U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires, APO AA 34034; or 4300 
Colombia, 1425 Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

ECONOMY

In 1989, after decades of economic decline and chronic bouts of 
inflation, Argentina under President Menem began an unprecedented, 
profound, and remarkably successful economic restructuring based on 
trade liberalization, privatization, public administrative reform, and 
macroeconomics stabilization. 

The 1991 Convertibility Law established a quasi-currency board which has 
provided the pillar of price stability but constrains monetary policy 
severely. The government privatized most state-controlled companies, 
opened the economy to foreign trade and investment, improved tax 
collection, and created private pension and workers compensation 
systems.

Average annual GDP growth exceeded 7% from 1991 to 1994, driven 
primarily by consumption. GDP declined 4.4% in 1995, and grew just 3.5% 
in 1996, primarily due to local recession which followed the December 
1994 Mexico peso devaluation. 

The structural reforms--coupled with monetary stability--fostered major 
new investments in industrial sectors producing goods for exports. This 
was most notable in the food products, oil and gas, automotive, and 
mining and metals sectors. As a result, Argentina's exports doubled in 
only two years--from about $12 billion in 1994 to almost $24 billion in 
1996. Foreign direct investment continues growing impressively. GDP 
growth projections for 1997 range from 5.0% to 6.1% .

The October 1996 unemployment rate was 17.3%--down from 18.4% in mid-
1995. As economic recovery gathers momentum in 1997, unemployment is 
expected to drop by at least two percentage points. However, larger and 
more significant declines will come slowly over the longer term.

Argentina is vulnerable to abrupt changes in capital flows. However, 
strong leadership and earlier structural reforms helped the country 
weather the 1995-96 financial storm. Argentine authorities, supported by 
the U.S., Japan, Europe, and international financial institutions, 
reacted decisively to bolster the peso. The government has continued to 
demonstrate credibility through further economic adjustment and 
conclusion of a new Standby Agreement with the International Monetary 
Fund in April 1996. Argentina is currently negotiating with the IMF to 
replace the Standby Agreement with an Extended Fund Facility 
arrangement.

Argentina's principal economic policy challenges in 1997 are:
1. Stimulating job creation through labor market reform; 
2. Continuing the reform of provincial administration and banking; and  
3. Simplifying tax collection and combating tax evasion. 

Other structural problems include perceptions of widespread corruption, 
and of an ineffective judicial system.

Banking 
Continuing the consolidation of Argentina's banking system is a 
government priority for 1997. Peso and dollar deposits in the banking 
system grew strongly and reached $55 billion by year end 1996. This 
represents nearly a 50% increase from June 1995, when bank deposits 
reached a low of $37 billion as a result of the Mexican peso crisis. 
However, increased liquidity in the banking system in 1996 did not 
translate quickly into increased lending. Credit is still very expensive 
in Argentina, and consumer confidence is weak.

The government continues to encourage privatization of financially 
troubled provincial banks, but progress has been mixed. Some provincial 
governments fear job losses and strongly oppose bank privatization. 
Government-owned banks still have an extremely large market share, and 
the financial sector stands to suffer as a result.

Foreign Trade 
An important development in helping Argentina meet its external payments 
is the dramatic turnaround in its trade balance in 1995, which reversed 
merchandise trade deficits of 1993 and 1994. Year-end data suggested 
that Argentina balanced imports and exports for 1996. Total merchandise 
exports in 1996--close to $24 billion--are approximately 10% above those 
in 1995. Foreign trade will play an increasingly important role in 
Argentina's economic development. At present, exports represent only 
about 8% of Argentina's GDP, far below the Latin American average of 
16.6%. That percentage is certain to rise steadily and substantially as 
Argentine export competitiveness improves.

Exceptionally strong international prices for grain and dairy products 
greatly benefited Argentina in 1996. Some grain prices went down, but 
Argentina registered bumper harvests.

MERCOSUR, a regional customs union and emerging trade bloc which 
includes Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, and has associations with Chile 
and Bolivia, improved industrial productivity, and economic 
stabilization in Brazil have all contributed to the dynamic growth of 
Argentina's foreign trade. Most notably, Argentina's exports to Brazil 
(over 25% of total exports) totaling about $6.3 billion, were 70% above 
the level in 1994.

Argentina's trade with the other members of MERCOSUR has grown fivefold 
since 1991. (During that period, its total foreign trade doubled.) As a 
consequence, Argentina's MERCOSUR partners accounted for one-third of 
Argentina's exports during 1996.

Argentina's trade and investment have tremendous potential to grow along 
with hemispheric economic integration. Macroeconomic stability in Brazil 
and continued strength of the Brazilian Real are important variables for 
Argentina's foreign trade in 1997. On an upbeat note, Chile's 
association with MERCOSUR, as of October. 1, 1996, improved access for 
Argentine exports to East Asia via Chilean ports.

The U.S. registered trade surpluses with Argentina from 1993 to 1996 
totaling nearly $11 billion. The surplus is expected to increase by $2 
billion for 1997--due in large part to Argentina's continued demand for 
capital goods as well as the recovery of the domestic economy. This 
reflects the Argentine Government's policy of encouraging modernization 
and improved competitiveness for Argentine industry.

Argentina adheres to most treaties and international agreements on 
intellectual property. It is a member of the World Intellectual Property 
Organization and signed the Uruguay Round agreements in December 1993--
including measures related to intellectual property. However, extension 
of adequate patent protection to pharmaceuticals has been a highly 
contentious bilateral issue. In January 1997, the U.S. announced it 
would suspend 50% of Argentina's GSP benefits because of its 
unsatisfactory pharmaceutical patent law.

Investment U.S. direct investment in Argentina, an estimated $10 billion 
in mid-1996, is concentrated in telecommunications, banking, electric 
energy generation, gas and petroleum production, food processing, and 
motor vehicle manufacturing. Additional direct U.S. investment of $2 
billion is expected in 1997.

The U.S. and Argentina have an Overseas Private Investment Corporation 
(OPIC) agreement and an active U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIMBANK) 
program. Total EXIMBANK exposure in Argentina approaches $2.5 billion, 
and the OPIC portfolio is approaching the country limit.

The Argentine Government has announced privatization of the postal 
service, which already competes with several large private mail 
companies. There are also plans to privatize many of Argentina's 
airports, including Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, by 
September 1997.

Under the 1994 U.S.-Argentine bilateral investment treaty, U.S. 
investors enjoy national treatment in all sectors except shipbuilding, 
fishing, nuclear power generation, and uranium production. The treaty 
allows for international arbitration of investment disputes.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

After years of instability, Argentina is today a fully functioning 
democracy. During President Carlos Menem's first term (1989-1995), he 
dramatically reordered Argentina's foreign and domestic policies. His 
overwhelming reelection in May 1995--in the face of hardships caused by 
economic restructuring and exacerbated by the Mexico peso crisis--
provided a mandate for his free market economic strategy and pro-U.S. 
foreign policy. Menem's second term ends in July 1999; the constitution 
does not provide for a sitting president to succeed himself more than 
once.

The constitution of 1853, as revised in 1994, mandates a separation of 
powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches at the 
national and provincial level. Each province also has its own 
constitution which roughly mirrors the structure of the national 
constitution.

The president and vice president were traditionally elected indirectly 
by an electoral college to a single six-year term. They were not allowed 
immediately to seek reelection. Constitutional reforms adopted in August 
1994 reduced the presidential term to four years, abolished the 
electoral college in favor of direct election, and allowed a sitting 
president to stand for reelection after his or her first term. Cabinet 
ministers are appointed by the president. The constitution grants the 
president considerable power, including a line-item veto. 

Provinces traditionally sent two senators, elected by provincial 
legislatures, to the upper house of Congress. Voters in the federal 
capital of Buenos Aires elected an electoral college which elected the 
city's senators. The constitution now mandates a transition to direct 
election for all senators, and the addition of a third senator from each 
province and the capital. The third senator will represent the electoral 
district's largest minority party. The revised constitution reduces 
senatorial terms from nine to six years in office. One third of the 
Senate stands for reelection every three years. 

Members of the Chamber of Deputies are directly elected to four-year 
terms. Voters elect half the members of the lower house every two years 
through a system of proportional representation.

Other important changes to the constitutional system included the 
creation of a senior coordinating minister to serve under the president 
and the popular election of the mayor of the city of Buenos Aires. The 
constitution establishes the judiciary as a separate and independent 
entity of government. The president appoints members of the Supreme 
Court with the consent of the Senate. Other federal judges are appointed 
by a special judicial commission. The Supreme Court has the power, first 
asserted in 1854, to declare legislative acts unconstitutional.

Political Parties 
The two largest political parties are the Partido Justicialista or 
Peronist Party (PJ), which evolved out of Juan Peron's efforts to expand 
the role of labor in the political process in the 1940s, and the Union 
Civica Radical, or Radical Civic Union (UCR), founded in 1890. 
Traditionally, the UCR has had more urban middle-class support and the 
PJ has received more labor support. Support for both parties is broadly 
based. A grouping of mostly left parties and former peronists--the Front 
for a Country of Solidarity (FREPASO)--has emerged in the 1990s as a 
serious political contender especially in the Federal Capital. Smaller 
parties occupy various positions on the political spectrum and some are 
active only in certain provinces.

Historically, organized labor (largely tied to Menem's Peronist Party) 
and the armed forces have also played significant roles in national 
life. Labor is only just emerging from disarray; its political power has 
been significantly weakened by Menem's free market reforms. The armed 
forces are firmly under civilian control. Repudiated by the public after 
a period of military rule (1976-83), marked by human rights violations, 
economic decline, and military defeat in the 1982 Falkland Islands war, 
the Argentine military is now a slimmed-down, all volunteer force 
focused largely on international peacekeeping.

Government Policy 
The Menem Administration has pursued wide-ranging economic reforms 
designed to open the Argentine economy and enhance its international 
competitiveness. Privatization, deregulation, fewer import barriers, and 
a fixed exchange rate have been cornerstones of this effort. All these 
changes have dramatically reduced the role of the Argentine state in 
regulating the domestic market. The reform agenda, however, remains 
incomplete, including needed improvements in the judicial system and 
provincial administration.

National Security 
The president and a civilian minister of defense control the Argentine 
armed forces. The paramilitary forces under the control of the Ministry 
of Interior are the Gendarmeria (border police) and the Prefectura Naval 
(coast guard). The Argentine armed forces maintain close defense 
cooperation and military supply relationships with the United States. 
Other countries also have military relationships with the Argentine 
forces, principally Israel, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. The lack 
of budgetary resources is the most serious problem facing the Argentine 
military. Current economic conditions and the government's commitment to 
reduce public sector spending have slowed modernization and 
restructuring efforts. Under President Menem, Argentina's traditionally 
difficult relations with its neighbors have improved dramatically and 
Argentine officials publicly deny seeing a potential threat from any 
neighboring country.

PEOPLE

Argentines are a fusion of diverse national and ethnic groups. 
Descendants of Italian and Spanish immigrants predominate. Waves of 
immigrants from many European countries arrived in the late 19th and 
early 20th centuries. Syrian, Lebanese, and other Middle Eastern 
immigrants number about 500,000, mainly in urban areas. Argentina has 
the largest Jewish population in Latin America, about 250,000 strong. In 
recent years, there has been a substantial influx of immigrants from 
neighboring Latin American countries. The native Indian population, now 
estimated at 50,000, is concentrated in the peripheral provinces of the 
north, northwest, and south. The Argentine population has one of Latin 
America's lowest growth rates. Eighty percent of the population resides 
in urban areas of more than 2,000 and more than one-third of the 
population lives in the greater Buenos Aires area. This sprawling 
metropolis, with about 12 million inhabitants, serves as the focus for 
national life. Argentines enjoy comparatively high standards of living; 
half the population considers itself middle class.

HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Europeans arrived in the region with the 1502 voyage of Amerigo 
Vespucci. Spanish navigator Juan Diaz de Solias visited what is now 
Argentina in 1516. Spain established a permanent colony on the site of 
Buenos Aires in 1580. They further integrated Argentina into their 
empire following the establishment of the Vice-Royalty of Rio de la 
Plata in 1776, and Buenos Aires became a flourishing port.

Buenos Aires formally declared independence from Spain on July 9, 1816. 
Argentines revere General Jose de San Martin, who campaigned in 
Argentina, Chile, and Peru, as the hero of their national independence. 
Following the defeat of the Spanish, centralist and federalist groups 
waged a lengthy conflict between themselves to determine the future of 
the nation. National unity was established and the constitution 
promulgated in 1853.

Two forces combined to create the modern Argentine nation in the late 
19th century: the introduction of modern agricultural techniques and the 
integration of Argentina into the world economy. Foreign investment and 
immigration from Europe aided this economic revolution. The investment, 
primarily British, came in such fields as railroads and ports. The 
migrants who worked to develop Argentina's resources came from 
throughout Europe, but mostly from Italy and Spain.

Conservative forces dominated Argentine politics until 1916, when their 
traditional rivals, the Radicals, won control of the government through 
a democratic election. The Radicals, with their emphasis on fair 
elections and democratic institutions, opened their doors to Argentina's 
expanding middle class as well as to elites previously excluded from 
power for various reasons. The Argentine military forced aged Radical 
President Hipolito Yrigoyen from power in 1930 and ushered in another 
decade of Conservative rule.

Using fraud and force when necessary, the governments of the 1930s 
attempted to contain forces for economic and political change that 
eventually helped produce the governments of Juan Domingo Peron (b. 
1897). New social and political forces were seeking political power. 
These included the modern military and the labor movement that emerged 
from the growing urban working class.

The military ousted Argentina's constitutional government in 1943. 
Peron, then an army colonel, was one of the coup's leaders, and he soon 
became the government's dominant figure as minister of labor. Elections 
carried him to the presidency in 1946. He aggressively pursued policies 
aimed at giving an economic and political voice to the working class and 
greatly expanded the number of unionized workers. In 1947, Peron 
announced the first five-year plan based on nationalization and 
industrialization. He presented himself as a friend of labor and 
assisted in establishing the powerful General Confederation of Labor 
(CGT). Peron's dynamic wife, Eva Duarte de Peron, known as Evita (1919-
1952), helped her husband develop his appeals to labor and women's 
groups. Women obtained the right to vote in 1947.

Peron won reelection in 1952, but the military deposed him in 1955. He 
went into exile, eventually settling in Spain. In the 1950s and 1960s, 
military and civilian administrations traded power. They tried, with 
limited success, to deal with diminished economic growth and continued 
social and labor demands. When military governments failed to revive the 
economy and suppress escalating terrorism in the late 1960s and early 
1970s, the way was open for Peron's return.

On March 11, 1973, Argentina held general elections for the first time 
in ten years. Peron was prevented from running, but voters elected his 
stand-in, Dr. Hector J. Campora, to the presidency. Peron's followers 
also commanded strong majorities in both houses of the National 
Congress, which assumed office on May 25, 1973. Campora resigned in July 
1973, paving the way for new elections. Peron won a decisive victory and 
returned as President in October 1973 with his third wife, Maria Estela 
Isabel Martinez de Peron, as Vice President.

During this period, extremists on the left and right carried out 
terrorist acts with a frequency that threatened public order. The 
government resorted to a number of emergency decrees, including the 
implementation of special executive authority to deal with violence. 
This allowed the government to imprison persons indefinitely without 
charge.

Peron died on July 1, 1974. His wife succeeded him in office, but her 
administration was undermined by economic problems, Peronist intraparty 
struggles, and growing terrorism from both left and right. A military 
coup removed her from office on March 24, 1976. Until December 10, 1983, 
the armed forces formally exercised power through a junta composed of 
the three service commanders. 

The armed forces applied harsh measures against terrorists and their 
sympathizers. They silenced armed opposition and restored basic order. 
The costs of what became known as the "Dirty War" were high in 
terms of lives lost and basic human rights violated.

Serious economic problems, defeat by the U.K. in 1982 after an 
unsuccessful Argentine attempt to forcibly take control of the 
Falklands/Malvinas Islands, public revulsion in the face of severe human 
rights abuses, and mounting charges of corruption combined to discredit 
and discourage the military regime. This prompted a period of gradual 
transition and led the country toward democratic rule. Acting under 
public pressure, the junta lifted bans on political parties and restored 
other basic political liberties. Argentina experienced a generally 
successful and peaceful return to democracy.

On October 30, 1983, Argentines went to the polls to choose a president, 
vice president, and national, provincial, and local officials in 
elections international observers found to be fair, open, and honest. 
The country returned to constitutional rule after Raul Alfonsin, 
candidate of the Radial Civic Union (UCR), received 52% of the popular 
vote for president. He began a six-year term of office on December 10, 
1983.

In 1985 and 1987, large turnouts for mid-term elections demonstrated 
continued public support for a strong and vigorous democratic system. 
The UCR-led government took steps to resolve some of the nation's most 
pressing problems, including accounting for those who disappeared during 
military rule, establishing civilian control of the armed forces, and 
consolidating democratic institutions. However, constant friction with 
the military, failure to resolve endemic economic problems, and an 
inability to maintain public confidence undermined the Alfonsin 
Government's effectiveness, which left office six months early after 
peronist candidate Carlos Saul Menem won the 1989 presidential 
elections.

As President, Menem launched a major overhaul of Argentine domestic 
policy. Large-scale structural reforms have dramatically reversed the 
role of the state in Argentine economic life. A decisive leader pressing 
a controversial agenda, Menem has not been reluctant to use the 
presidency's extensive powers to issue decrees advancing modernization 
when the congress was unable to reach consensus on his proposed reforms. 
Those powers were curtailed somewhat when the constitution was reformed 
in 1994 as a result of the so-called Olivos Pact with the opposition 
Radical Party. That arrangement opened the way for Menem to seek and win 
reelection with 50% of the vote in the three-way 1995 presidential race.

The 1995 election saw the emergence of the moderate left FREPASO 
political alliance. This alternative to the traditional two main 
political parties in Argentina is particularly strong in Buenos Aires, 
but as yet lacks the national infrastructure of the Peronist and Radical 
parties. In an important development in Argentina's political life, all 
three major contestants in the 1995 race espouses free market economic 
policies. 

Argentina will hold mid-term congressional elections in October 1997. 
These are widely seen as setting the stage for the 1999 presidential 
race. The government's pro-market policies remain unchallenged, but 
continued high unemployment and growing public concern over corruption 
have hurt the government's standing in public opinion polls. 

FOREIGN POLICY

In foreign policy, Menem has dramatically made partnership with the 
United States the centerpiece of his approach. Argentina was the only 
Latin American country to participate in the Gulf war and all phases of 
the Haiti operation. It has contributed to UN peacekeeping operations 
worldwide, and has offered to send peacekeepers to Eastern Slavonia and 
police to the international Police Task force in Bosnia. Menem was an 
enthusiastic supporter of the December 1994 Summit of the Americas. At 
the UN, Argentina is one of the U.S.'s closest collaborators. In 
regional fora, such as the OAS and Rio Group, Argentina has repeatedly 
advanced U.S. goals.

Eager for closer ties to developed nations, Argentina has pursued 
relationships with the OECD, and even NATO, and has left the Non-Aligned 
Movement. It has become a leading advocate of nonproliferation efforts 
worldwide. A strong proponent of enhanced regional stability in South 
America, Argentina has revitalized its relationship with Brazil, settled 
lingering border disputes with Chile, and restored diplomatic relations 
with the United Kingdom. In September 1995, Argentina and the UK signed 
an agreement to promote oil and gas exploration in the Southwest 
Atlantic, defusing a potentially difficult issue and opening the way to 
further cooperation between the two nations.

Principal Government Officials 
President--Carlos Saul Menem 
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Guido Di Tella 
Ambassador to the United States--Raul Enrique Granillo Ocampo
Ambassador to the Organization of American States--Alicia Martinez Rios 
Ambassador to the United Nations--Fernando Petrella

Diplomatic/Consular Offices in the United States Argentina maintains an 
embassy in the United States at 1600 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington 
DC 20009 (tel. 202-939-6400; FAX 202-332-3171).

It has consular offices in the following locations:

Atlanta:  
245 Peachtree Center Ave., Suite 2101 
Atlanta, GA 30303 
Tel: (404) 880-0805; Fax: (404) 880-0806

Chicago: 
205 North Michigan Ave., Suite 4209 
Chicago, IL 60601 
Tel: (312) 819-2620; Fax (312) 819-2612

Houston: 
1990 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 770 
Houston, TX 77056 
Tel: (713) 871-8935; Fax (713) 871-1639

Los Angeles: 
5055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 210 
Los Angeles, CA 90036 
Tel: (213) 954-9155 fax (713) 871-9076

Miami: 
800 Brickell Ave. PH1
Miami, FL 33131 
Tel: (305) 373-7794; Fax: (305) 371-7108

New York: 
12 West 56th St. 
New York, NY 10019 
Tel: (212) 603-0400; Fax: (212) 541-7746

Washington, DC: 
1718 Connecticut Ave. NW 
Washington, DC 20009 
Tel: (202) 797-8826

Office of the Economic and Trade Representative 
1901 L St., NW 
Washington, DC 20036 
Tel: (202) 56-4475

Contact List: 
American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina 
Viamonte 1133, 8th floor
tel. (54)(1) 371-4500; fax (54)(1) 371-8400

U.S. Department of Commerce 
Office of Latin America and the Caribbean 
International Trade Administration 
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 
20230 Tel: 202-482-2436; 1-800-USA-TRADE; Fax: 202-482-4726; 
Internet: http://www.ita.doc.gov 
Automated fax service for trade-related information: 202-482-4464

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION 

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are 
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel 
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all 
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency 
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and 
security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in 
the country. Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate 
information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-
term conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of 
American travelers. Free copies of this information are available by 
calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-
on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and Consular Information 
Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page: 
http://travel.state.gov and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). 
To access CABB, dial the modem number: (301-946-4400 (it will 
accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set terminal communications program to N-
8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and terminal emulation to VT100. 
The login is travel and the password is info (Note: Lower case is 
required). The CABB also carries international security information from 
the Overseas Security Advisory Council and Department's Bureau of 
Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs Trips for Travelers publication 
series, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a 
safe trip abroad, can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, 
U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-
7954; telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250. 

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be 
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-
4000. 

Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour, 7-
day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 a.m. 
to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-900-
225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate 
of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648) 

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 
(404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization 
recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water 
safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information 
for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is 
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 
20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to 
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's 
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see Principal 
Government Officials listing in this publication). 

U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas 
are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country 
(see Principal U.S. Embassy Officials listing in this publication). This 
may help family members contact you in case of an emergency. 

Further Electronic Information: 

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, 
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy 
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, 
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings; 
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign 
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at 
http://www.state.gov.

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on a semi-annual basis 
by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the 
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of 
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact 
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. 
Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or 
fax (202) 512-2250.

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information. It is 
available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the 
NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more information. 
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