42. Letter From the Secretary of State to the Vice President1

Dear Dick: The other day you mentioned that you might be free to make a visit to South America this spring. I want to confirm that we would be very happy if you could see your way to doing so.

In the hope that it might assist you, I have gone one step further and have had a possible itinerary drawn up for you to consider.2 It would, I believe, extract the maximum advantages from a foreign policy standpoint from a short tour of the area by you. It suggests a Washington departure on April 13 with return ten days later and would include Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia.

I have suggested Venezuela because of the recent revolution and change of government in that country and also because of the special economic and strategic interests that we have there. As for Uruguay, your visit would be very helpful in demonstrating the importance that we accord to that country. Our relations with Uruguay are among the most difficult that we have in the hemisphere. Argentina would be an important part of your trip because of the country’s prominence in inter-American affairs, the transition period through which the country is moving, the significant presidential election on February 23, and the desirability of your meeting the Argentine President-elect. La Paz is recommended because of the unique and important Bolivian economic development and social reform program to which the United States is heavily committed and which President Siles is courageously seeking to carry out.

If you approve the trip, I will undertake to ascertain from the governments of the countries concerned whether your visit will be agreeable to them. The Department would, of course, provide for your trip an escort officer and other suitable assistance.

[Page 223]

I hope that you will find it possible to make the tour to South America. I am confident that your trip would be of great benefit in the conduct of our relations with all countries of the area.3

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–NI/3–658. Confidential. Drafted by Terry B. Sanders, Jr., on March 4.
  2. The proposed itinerary was not attached to the source text.
  3. In circular telegram 861, March 17, the Department of State informed the Embassies in Quito, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Asunción, La Paz, Lima, Bogotá, and Caracas that Vice President Nixon intended to visit Quito April 27 or 28–29; Buenos Aires April 30–May 3; Montevideo May 3–5; Asunción May 5–7; La Paz May 7–9; Lima May 9–11; Bogotá May 11–13; and Caracas May 13–15. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–NI/3–1758)