74. Instruction From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Posts in Latin America 1



  • Policy Information Statement (ARA–305); President’s Trip to Latin America, February–March, 1960

The enclosed Policy Information Statement is forwarded to the Post for use as outlined in Foreign Service Circular No. 49, November 18, 19532 and is also being transmitted to USIA and other interested agencies in Washington for their information and guidance. You are requested to make it available to appropriate officers of USIS and other interested U.S. agencies assigned to your Post.

Instructions regarding USIS treatment of this subject will be issued, as required, by USIA Washington.



[Here follow an outline of the President’s itinerary and a listing of those individuals accompanying him on his trip.]

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II. United States Policy and Objectives


The purpose of the trip was publicly expressed in the White House press release of January 63 which stated that the President is “partially fulfilling his long-held desire personally to travel in South America, to meet the people and to renew friendships with the leaders of the nations so closely allied with the United States in the Organization of American States.” The release further stated that the President hopes that the visit will serve two purposes: “Publicly reflect his deep interest in all the countries of the New World, and encourage further development of the inter-American system, not only as a means of meeting the aspirations of the peoples of the Americas but also as a further example of the way all peoples may live in peaceful co-operation.”



There has been some criticism in this country and in Latin America that the United States has given a higher priority to other parts of the world and has paid too little attention to the needs and desires of its close neighbors. The forthcoming trip should do much to dispel that belief and to provide a dramatic stimulus to establish closer United States relations with the countries to be visited and other countries of Latin America.

The United States objectives and purposes in each of the four countries follows:


Because of its great size, strategic location, prominent role in inter-American affairs and long tradition of close co-operation with the United States, and the fact that relations with Brazil cooled in 1959, the visit to Brazil has special significance. President Kubitschek visited the United States as President-elect4 and also met President Eisenhower in 1956 at the meeting of American Chiefs of State at Panama. United States relations with Brazil suffered a setback in mid-1959, due largely to Brazilian insistence upon large-scale United States balance of payments assistance to Brazil on her terms, a demand to which we could not accede. However, they have improved in recent months. Brazil believes that the United States has demonstrated only a lukewarm interest in the initiative sponsored by President Kubitschek, [Page 276] called Operation Pan America,5 for a multilateral approach to the economic development of Latin America. The Government of Brazil continues in the belief that Brazil will soon become a world power and ought to be consulted by the United States in important United States foreign policy matters not directly related to United States-Brazilian relations. A Presidential visit to Brazil, with evidence of special regard for Brazil’s economic and political importance in the Americas, will provide a needed psychological impulse to improvement in United States-Brazilian relations.


The United States Government and private United States banks are assisting in the economic stabilization program which the present democratic Argentine Government is carrying on against formidable difficulties, and in the success of which the United States Government has a distinct policy interest. A visit by President Eisenhower may increase the prestige of the Argentine Government and thus its ability to carry on this program. Moreover, the President of Argentina, Arturo Frondizi, came to the United States on a State Visit in early 1959 and hence President Eisenhower’s trip is in the nature of a return courtesy. The visit to Argentina is also designed to point up the present warmth of Argentine-United States relations, as contrasted with the often strained and even hostile relations which existed during the Peron regime.6


Chile has long been regarded as one of the political and cultural leaders of South America. Our relations with Chile are friendly and there exist few outstanding important differences. The Alessandri Administration is committed to a democratic, free enterprise system and has placed itself firmly on the side of the West. Moreover, based on a proposal by President Alessandri, the Chilean Government is actively promoting a meeting of Latin American countries most affected to consider means of limiting arms expenditures to reasonable levels consistent with the needs of national defense and hemispheric security.


Because of its unique record of democratic stability, its long tradition of friendship with the United States and with its neighbors, and its devotion to Free World interests, Uruguay—one of the smaller [Page 277] countries of South America—is particularly suitable for a Presidential visit. Furthermore, the present Government of Uruguay, the first elected by the Nationalist Party in almost 100 years, has consistently sought the closest possible co-operation with the United States, reversing a trend toward coolness displayed by the previous Government. At the request of the Uruguayan Government, that country was placed at the end of the itinerary, since under the collegial executive a new President, Benito Nardone, will take office on March 1.

III. Special Considerations for Guidance of U.S. Agencies and Officials

Although the President wishes that time would permit a visit to all of the countries in the area, he has necessarily had to limit his visits to a few contiguous countries in South America. While there are additional reasons for exclusion of certain countries from his itinerary, the selection of only four countries is based primarily on the fact that the fundamental duties and responsibilities of the American Presidency cannot be delegated to permit long absences.
It is expected that the President’s trip will involve no negotiations. While the President will be glad to confer with the leaders of the countries visited on subjects of mutual concern, he does not intend to negotiate solutions to problems. Moreover, while leaders of the countries visited may raise the question of additional loans or other assistance from the United States, the President must not be expected to make new commitments nor alter present United States policy regarding area problems while on this trip.
The impact of the trip will be enhanced if emphasis is placed on the importance which the United States attaches to the inter-American system, the traditionally close relations among the twenty-one American Republics, the growing importance of the Latin American area and its individual nations, and the interest which the United States has in assisting the peoples of Latin America to meet their aspirations for higher living standards, increased economic development, and democratic, representative governments.
The fact that the President has asked all of the members of the National Advisory Committee for Inter-American Affairs to accompany him is indicative of the importance both of the Committee and of the trip.
While the trip is to be treated as part of the President’s larger international mission of seeking direct contact and understanding with other peoples of the world, and the Latin American trip is linked with the other visits toward the achievement, in the President’s words, of “peace and friendship in freedom”, specific public comparisons of the President’s Latin America trip with the President’s previous trip to the eleven countries of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia should be avoided.
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[Here follows a statement outlining the purpose of the President’s trip.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 559, CD 1607. Confidential. Drafted by James A. McNamara of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs and approved by Philip H. Burris. Also sent to Guayaquil, Maracaibo, Porto Alegre, Puerto La Cruz, Recife, Salvador, São Paulo, and Munich.
  2. In Foreign Service Circular No. 49, November 18, 1953, the Department of State defined its substantive relationships with the U.S. Information Agency and distributed this information to all Foreign Service posts. A copy of this circular is filed in the Records Management and Research Division of the Bureau of Personnel’s Office of Management.
  3. See the editorial note, supra .
  4. President Kubitschek visited the United States as Brazil’s President-elect, January 4–10, 1955.
  5. See Documents 109 ff.
  6. General Juan Domingo Perón ruled Argentina from June 4, 1946, until September 19, 1955.