348. Letter From President Kennedy to President Prado0

Dear Mr. President: I appreciate your letter of December 29, 1961,1 in which you refer to studies now being made by certain United States Government agencies preparatory to the prospective revision of United States sugar legislation by the Congress.2 Your Excellency reminds me of [Page 778]the great importance to the Peruvian economy and to the Peruvian Government’s development programs of revenues resulting from the exportation of sugar. You therefore request that any decision reached by the United States take into account the serious repercussions for Peru that would result from any reduction in the price of imported sugar.

I had delayed until now answering your letter in the expectation that the thinking of the Executive Branch on this subject would have reached a point where it might have been possible to explain more precisely the prospective recommendations to be made by the Administration to the Congress. The matter continues to be under active study within the Executive Branch, however, and the proposals of which your Ambassador has informed you thus do not yet represent the Administration’s position. I have, meanwhile, asked the Department of State to keep your Ambassador in Washington informed of principal developments, and, consequently, the Under Secretary of State, Mr. George W. Ball, discussed these matters with your Ambassador on February 1, 1962.3

I am confident that Your Excellency will appreciate the various considerations my Government must weigh in conducting this study and reaching a final position. Please be assured that we, for our part, are fully aware of the importance of this problem to Peru and to other friendly countries and that we sincerely trust the solution we achieve will in the long run prove beneficial. I should also emphasize, of course, that the final decision on United States sugar policies rests with the United States Congress.

I very much appreciate your remark about the closely linked interests of our two countries, and should like to add that we in this country value most highly this close relationship with Peru.

With cordial regards and renewed assurances of my highest esteem.

Sincerely,

John F. Kennedy4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 800.235/1-2562. No classification marking. Drafted by Paul E. Callanan (OR/CSD) and Richard A. Poole (ARA/WST) on January 19 and cleared by Edwin M. Martin (E), Milton Barall (ARA), Jean H. Mulliken (REA), and Taylor G. Belcher (WST). A covering memorandum of January 25 from Battle (signed by Melvin M. Manfull) to McGeorge Bundy transmitted the letter of December 29, 1961, from Prado to President Kennedy and the suggested reply.
  2. See the source note above.
  3. The President’s budget message of January 18 stated that the administration would recommend legislation to retain the difference between the domestic and world price of sugar currently received by foreign suppliers of sugar for an estimated increase of $180 million in 1963 budget receipts. The administration would recommend that a global quota replace individual country quotas. Regarding inquiries about this development, the Department of State instructed Embassies to point out to their respective governments that Latin American countries other than Cuba supplied only a small part of the U.S. market and that the total premium was only $12.8 million. Embassies could also state that the administration was considering asking Congress to make funds collected on sugar from Latin America available for Latin American economic development. (Circular telegram 1288 to posts in the American Republics except Chile and Venezuela, January 19; Department of State, Central Files, 800.235/1-1962)
  4. No record of this conversation has been found.
  5. Kennedy’s signature appears in an unidentified hand, indicating Kennedy signed the original.