74. Letter From the Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Treasury (Humphrey)1

Dear George: Confirming several of our recent conversations, I would like to express more formally my deep interest in the Export-Import Bank’s operations in Latin America. I am sure that you share my concern about the current level of the Bank’s operations.

At the Rio de Janeiro Conference we agreed that we would meet with the Latin Americans again at another conference in Buenos Aires in 1956. If we assume that this conference will be held after the elections we have only about twelve months in which to prepare for it. The most important preparation for the conference is to build up a record of fulfillment of the policies announced at Rio.

As the Buenos Aires Conference draws nearer, I cannot help but fear that we will be in a difficult, if not an untenable, position if the opportunity for sound Export-Import Bank lending has not been fully exploited by ourselves. The time is indeed short when we consider all of the problems which naturally attend the making of loans which are expected to be repaid.

You may also have been thinking of ways and means by which we can do a better job on this segment of our policy in Latin America. I am sure that all of us want to think along the lines of what we can do to give real meaning to our position at Rio. I am therefore proposing to Joe Dodge that a committee be set up under the Council on Foreign Economic Policy to move ahead soon on preparations for the Buenos Aires conference.2

Again let me say that I know you are attacking the problem with all the resources at your command and it will not surprise me if our worries will be overcome well before the Buenos Aires meeting.3

Sincerely yours,

Herbert Hoover, Jr.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 820.10/11–1055. Confidential Drafted by Holland and cleared with Prochnow, Kalijarvi, Radius, and Corbett.
  2. Document 135.
  3. A copy of this letter was transmitted to Waugh, who became President of the Export-Import Bank on October 4, under cover of a letter from Hoover dated November 10 which reads in part as follows: “Ever since you went over to your new position I have had in mind expressing to you my great interest in the Export-Import Bank’s operations in Latin America. As I have discussed this matter on several occasions with George Humphrey, I know you will be interested in the enclosed copy of a letter I sent to him today.”