12. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant Special Counsel (Goodwin) to President Kennedy 1


  • Planning for the Alliance for Progress Meeting

The planning for the Alliance for Progress Meeting in Montevideo has proceeded along the following major lines.

On March 13 you proposed the Alliance for Progress and called for an IA-ECOSOC Meeting as the first major step in its implementation.2
On April 14 you said that the meeting should be held early this summer; and shortly thereafter your delegate to the OAS proposed July 14.3
During the same week in April, Lincoln Gordon and I met in Rio with Jorge Sol (Chief of the IA-ECOSOC staff), Raul Prebisch (Chief of the UN Commission for Latin America), and Felipe Herrera (President of the Inter-American Bank). Out of this intensive series of discussions, lasting a week, emerged a general consensus on the objectives of the July meeting—what we hoped to accomplish, a proposed agenda, and the manner in which the preparatory work would be organized.
Immediately thereafter this agreed agenda was presented by the U.S. to the O.A.S. and adopted with minor modifications.4
At the same time the White House requested our own economic people to prepare some specific plans for commodity price stabilization to be ready for the July meeting.
Pursuant to the agreements reached at Rio a series of OAS-ECLA-Inter-American Bank task forces were assembled to do the work preparatory to the meeting. I believe it can be said that this was the best Inter-American group of economists ever assembled; including Gerhard Colm and Al Hirschman from the U.S. and leading economists from almost every country in Latin America. The coordination from the U.S. side was done by Lincoln Gordon and I worked closely with Gordon. (When Gordon had to leave I asked Dick Ruggles of Yale to take over, which he did.)
The task forces have now completed work on papers for nearly all the points on the agenda. They are first rate.
Last Thursday5 there was a White House meeting with represent-atives from State and Treasury. At this meeting it was agreed that we would proceed—on the basis of these papers—to draft the “Charter of Montevideo”—a four or five page statement which we would want the meeting to adopt as its final result, setting forth the framework for the Alliance, goals, commitments, and machinery for planning.
This paper is now being circulated and should be in final form—for your approval—shortly.
We would hope to circulate this document to Latin American governments in advance of the July 15 meeting.
Richard N. Goodwin 6
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, Staff Memoranda, Goodwin. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 8.
  3. These meetings were apparently conducted during the week the governors of the Inter-American Development Bank met in Rio de Janeiro. Information about that week’s activities is in Department of State, Central File 033.1100-Di.
  4. The agenda was adopted unanimously by the Council of the OAS on May 31 as described in Circular CA-10391 of the same day. (Ibid., 371.8/5-3161)
  5. June 8.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.