149. Memorandum from Edwin M. Martin to Rusk, November 71
- The Secretary
- ARA—Mr. Martin
- Visit of President José Ramon VILLEDA Morales of Honduras to the United States
I recommend that an invitation be extended to President José Ramon VILLEDA Morales, President of Honduras, to make an informal working visit to Washington on November 30, 1962. Ambassador Burrows at Tegucigalpa in urging the invitation states (Tab B) that President Villeda is greatly interested in accepting an invitation to attend a meeting of exiled Cuban medical men (he is a doctor himself) in Miami on December 2. President Villeda has accepted the Cuban exiles’ invitation to Miami “in principle” and is being pressed by them to make it definite, but wishes first to consult with reference to our desires concerning a visit to this country.
I feel strongly that President Villeda should be made welcome to this country and that while here he be invited for a brief informal working visit to Washington. This will be the second time Villeda has traveled to the United States on his own while chief of state. In 1960 he visited Miami and New Orleans but was carefully kept out of Washington and received no formal recognition. A rebuff to Villeda in his desire to attend the Miami exiles’ meeting or a repetition of the treatment given him in 1960 would adversely affect our excellent relations with him.
During the past three years Villeda has become one of the staunchest supporters of United States policies in the United Nations and the Organization of American States (Honduran Foreign Minister Alvarado gave a key speech supporting our position at Punta del Este in January [Typeset Page 363] 1962). He is a moderate liberal who identifies himself closely with President Betancourt of Venezuela. He broke relations with Cuba on April 21, 1961 at the end of the Bay of Pigs invasion. Domestically, his Government has progressed against the threat of Communist subversion, and is honestly trying to fulfill its Alliance for Progress commitments. He has worked hard for social and economic reforms including revision of income taxes, improved customs administration, education expansion, and enactment of legislation to promote private enterprise development of resources. Despite some personal political risk, he has heeded our representations on the recently passed controversial Agrarian Reform Law, a topic which drew intensive United States Congressional interest. He was in the forefront of our Latin American allies in rallying against the recent danger in Cuba.[Facsimile Page 2]
Recognition of Villeda would demonstrate that we remember our stalwart friends, however small. It would buttress his prestige at home, making it easier for him to bring about a peaceful constitutional change of power at the end of his term late in 1963. And, in Ambassador Burrows’ opinion, a Washington visit would be regarded by Villeda as the high point of his six-year administration.
U/PR estimates that the cost of this visit will be $1500, covering the cost of official entertainment in Washington.
That you sign the attached Memorandum to the President (Tab A) which requests approval of the visit and extension of an invitation.
W/PR—Mr. King G—Mr. Hackler CAP—Mr. Sause
H—Mr. Wexler A—Mr. Little AID—Mr. Martin
1. Tab A Memorandum to the President
2. Tab B Letter from Ambassador Burrows
- Visit of President Villeda Morales to the U.S. Confidential. 2 pp. DOS, CF, 715.11/11–762.↩