Argentina: Back on Speaking Terms

U.S. policy in Latin America is to encourage democratic governments and frown on military coups. That policy is, however, leavened by a considerable amount of pragmatism. And so it was that last week, after 18 days of icy reserve, Washington formally recognized the military government that had toppled Argentina's President Arturo Illia.

The U.S. could hardly overlook the fact that President Juan Carlos Ongania's new regime had been recognized by at least 41 other countries, including nine of the 20 members of the Organization of American States. The U.S. also seemed satisfied with the way Ongania was setting about the...