247. Memorandum From the Secretary of State to the President1


  • President Kubitschek’s Proposal to Strengthen Pan-Americanism

Your letter of June 5, 1958, to President Kubitschek,2 as well as your decision to have Assistant Secretary Rubottom deliver it personally, has been favorably commented upon and was cordially welcomed by President Kubitschek.

In his conversation with Mr. Rubottom, President Kubitschek stressed his belief that the problem of underdevelopment will have to be solved if Latin American nations are to be able more effectively to resist subversion and serve the Western cause. He proposed a meeting of the Heads of the American States to consider this problem, and handed Mr. Rubottom an aide-mémoire setting forth his ideas in more detail. A summary of this aide-mémoire is enclosed for your information.

Mr. Rubottom made no commitment while expressing the opinion that some other form of consultation, probably a meeting of Foreign Ministers, would also be effective and should in any case precede a meeting of Presidents, if such were to be held.

I believe that President Kubitschek’s aide-mémoire should be answered promptly, through normal diplomatic channels, as a means of retaining the initiative on this matter, buoying up Brazilian enthusiasm and preventing harmful speculation.

I have accordingly instructed Ambassador Briggs to respond to President Kubitschek in a way which would encourage continued bilateral consultations with Brazil, pending my trip there in August. We also suggest that the question of a meeting of the Heads of State be held in abeyance pending further discussions and particularly pending [Page 686] consideration, along with the other American Republics, of a meeting of Foreign Ministers.3

John Foster Dulles4



In the aide-mémoire delivered to Assistant Secretary Rubottom, President Kubitschek:

Expresses his indebtedness to President Eisenhower for the cordial reception of his letter of May 29 [28],5 and for the President’s decision to send Mr. Rubottom to Rio de Janeiro with his reply.
States his conviction that Latin America is entitled to a more active and vocal role in international policy.
Asserts that United States-Brazilian bi-lateral interests and their financial and economic negotiations will continue to be handled normally without relation to the efforts to strengthen Pan-Americanism contemplated in his letter to President Eisenhower.
Expresses his conviction that existing bi-lateral and multi-lateral programs for combatting under-development are inadequate and must be reappraised since: a) the success of Pan-Americanism will depend on the success of the attack on under-development, and b) Latin America will not be able to render effective service to the cause of the West unless a solution to under-development is found.
Proposes that other nations’ views be ascertained regarding the holding of a meeting of the Heads of the American States to consider these problems.
Tentatively suggests that such a conference should:
Reaffirm continental solidarity.
Characterize under-development as being cause for equal concern to all nations regardless of their own stage of development.
Impart a new spirit to inter-American cooperation through better adjustment of existing organizations to needs of the fight against under-development.
Consider positive measures to stabilize prices of raw materials and to develop trade and the flow of investment.
Proclaim a Pan-American attitude of western and democratic solidarity.
Expresses his intention to issue within a few days a statement on the need for reappraisal of Pan-American policy, which will not include, pending receipt of President Eisenhower’s reaction, his idea that a meeting of the Heads of State should be held.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 732.11/6–2058. Confidential. Drafted by Siracusa on June 18.
  2. See Document 244.
  3. A note dated June 20, attached to the source text, states that Brigadier General Goodpaster, called for and received confirmation from the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State that nothing was expected of President Eisenhower in connection with the last two paragraphs of this memorandum.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.
  5. See Document 242.
  6. Telegram 1754 from Rio de Janeiro, June 20, transmitted the text of an address given that day by President Kubitschek in which he suggested a Pan-American summit meeting to consider proposals for investing in backward areas, expanding technical assistance, and increasing the resources of international lending institutions and liberalizing their statutes. (Department of State, Central Files, 732.11/6–2058)