145. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Daily Staff Meeting, 6 February 1962

Bundy presided. Although the main purpose of the meeting was to listen to Walt Rostow’s summary of the Punta del Este conference, Bundy did mention

[Here follow references to two unrelated matters.]

Rostow’s discussion of Punta del Este was, as are all his presentations, interesting but perhaps a little discursive compared to his usual style. Perhaps the most significant part of his discussion was a small by-play between him and Bundy on the degree of unanimity achieved for the final resolution of the conference. Bundy seemed to think that, given the President’s desire for as nearly a unanimous outcome as possible, we might have done better than to squeak by with the minimum fourteen votes for a bare two-thirds majority. Rostow, however, said he felt strongly that Secretary Rusk, who worked like a Trojan night and day, had done the best he could do in conscience. It was true that at one point [Page 309]the Argentine delegation proposed a mealy-mouthed anti-Communist compromise resolution which might have achieved unanimity or close to it, but the Secretary felt that a more meaningful outcome was to secure the fourteen votes he got for a resolution that meant something.
Rostow feels that all delegations gained something by the conference outcome. The United States succeeded in deflating the Cuban issue in domestic politics (the Congressional delegates were able to see at first hand how tough the going was to achieve the end result obtained), plus a goodly gain in good will among all the Latin American delegations for having put forth an honest, conscientious, polished try. In a rather contemptible manner, the big conservative powers such as Argentina and Chile could record a gain because they had opposed Uncle Sam and placated the left wing oppositions in their own countries.
Rostow noted the potential importance of the five-man security committee2 which the Alliance had agreed to establish as a watch dog over the development of insurgency situations or even actual arms shipments. This committee should be under strong political control for obvious reasons. The Pentagon has under consideration the question of who will be the US member, and Rostow personally feels that General Thomas White might be a good bet, given his broad outlook, sophisticated background, and command of at least Spanish and maybe Portuguese.
DefCons—no change.
  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 24, Daily Staff Meetings. Secret. Drafted by Colonel Lawrence J. Legere.
  2. Resolution II called for the creation of a Special Consultative Committee on Security.