67. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom) to the Deputy Director of the Office of Central American and Panamanian Affairs (Leggett) and the Deputy Director of the Office of Inter-American Regional Economic Affairs (Conover)1


  • Committee to Follow-Through on Dr. Eisenhower’s Report

All of you are familiar with the report recently submitted to the President by Dr. Milton S. Eisenhower on United States-Latin American Relations. The report was dated December 27, 1958 and was released publicly by the White House on January 4, 1959.2

Dr. Eisenhower’s report is a basic document, broad in its scope and recommendations as to the courses of action calculated to contribute to increasingly close, cordial and effective inter-American relations. A question which immediately confronts us, in the light of this report, is “Where do we go from here?”

I believe that this Bureau’s interests and responsibilities in connection with Dr. Eisenhower’s report will best be served by the establishment of an informal committee charged with following through on the observations and recommendations contained in the report. I shall appreciate it if you three officers will undertake to constitute such a committee. As I envisage it, your respective participations in this committee’s activities would encompass:

Mr. Leggett—those recommendations, reactions and relations Pertaining specifically to the countries of Central America visited by Dr. Eisenhower;
Mr. Conover—the recommendations and other aspects of Dr. Eisenhower’s report which are predominantly economic in character;
Mr. Vaky—the recommendations and other aspects of Dr. Eisenhower’s report which are predominantly of a political and/or public-relations character.

Dr. Eisenhower will presumably look to this Bureau for some periodic evaluation of the reaction to his report and some statement of the progress achieved toward implementation of his recommendations. Inasmuch as I am in reasonably frequent contact with him, I plan to serve as the contact point between Dr. Eisenhower and the [Page 266] Bureau. I shall, however, look to you to keep me supplied with the information which I shall need in order adequately to advise him on these points.

Dr. Eisenhower is scheduled to visit the Department on January 15. I hope to meet with you between now and then for a general exchange of views as to exactly what our committee’s functions will be and how it can best set about performing them. As always, the fullest possible expression of your ideas will be welcome on that occasion. Personally, I am inclined to feel that a useful start might consist of our making some initial tabulations setting forth by major category the recommendations which Dr. Eisenhower has advanced. These should facilitate a ready appreciation of the types of action called for and should also be useful in making periodic reviews of progress achieved and the current status of each initiative. Some means should also be devised for carefully collecting and identifying the responsible comment which will almost certainly be forthcoming—both domestically and internationally—with respect to the report itself. Finally, I feel that we must anticipate considerable inquiry from congressional, official, foreign, and general public sources. Your consideration as to the best means of handling and responding to this will also be appreciated.3

  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/OAP Files: Lot 61 D 473, Dr. Milton Eisenhower 1958–1959. Official Use Only. Drafted by Devine. Also addressed to Iron P. Vaky.
  2. For text of Dr. Eisenhower’s report to the President, see Department of State Bulletin, January 19, 1959, p. 89.
  3. On November 14, President Eisenhower accepted the recommendation of the Secretary of State to establish a small committee to advise the Secretary on U.S.-Latin American relations. The National Advisory Committee on Inter-American Affairs was established on November 17. (Department of State Press Release No. 804; Department of State Bulletin, December 7, 1959, p. 823) See also Document 68.