U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa said Argentina cannot change the debt's domicile after meeting with the country's counsel and debt holdouts on Thursday.
He added that the proposal to shift the debt domicile is a violation of current U.S. court orders and cannot be carried out, stating that it is the furthest he would go for the moment on the matter. The judge did not issue a contempt finding in the debt case.
Any entity assisting Argentina in avoiding a basic order of this court would be a clear violation, Griesa said, who also noted that the country has taken what amounts to a "lawless position."
However, he said, a remedy to the Argentine president's debt-shifting plan must be found.
The judge was also "appalled" that the nation would not consult with its representing law firm, Cleary Gottlieb, before formulating the offer.
Lawyers for the debt holdouts asked Griesa to grant a contempt order immediately and leave discussion of sanctions for later. However, Argentina's lawyer, Carmine Boccuzzi, said a contempt order would not facilitate settlement talks and would instead put "gasoline on the fire."
Earlier, holdout lawyer Edward Friedman for Aurelius had said no settlement was possible until it became "crystal clear" to Argentina that evasion of the judge's order will not be countenanced.
—By Reuters. CNBC.com contributed to this report.