216. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Woodward) to Secretary of State Rusk1


  • Suggestion that we might reinforce instructions to all U.S. Representatives to try to dissipate the idea that the U.S. Government heads a “Bloc”, as distinct from the exertion of U.S. leadership of democratic countries all seeking the same objectives

The Brazilian statement of foreign policy, reported in the attached telegram,2 impresses me anew with the idea that it might be very useful for you to reinforce present instructions to all U.S. Representatives by asking that they try to dissipate the impression that the United States is the leader of a “bloc”, as distinct from the exertion of U.S. efforts to lead democratic nations toward the attainment of similar objectives.

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More specifically, I think it might be useful if you were to mention at a staff meeting:

that we should try to relate every suggestion that the U.S. Government makes to another government concerning foreign policy positions to the interests of the nation to which the suggestion is made, and
that we should carefully avoid “thanking” the governments of other countries for their support of the same points of view that we support, but rather
that we should express our admiration of their wisdom in adopting such policy positions and emphasize our support of the same objectives that they have.

This suggestion may be elementary but I submit it for your possible use.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.32/10-361. Confidential. Drafted by Woodward and cleared with Cleveland and McGhee.
  2. Telegram 863 from Rio de Janeiro, September 30, reported that at a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the OAS on September 29, the Brazilian delegate presented a policy statement that described Brazil’s foreign policy as independent from all politico-military blocs and dedicated to economic development in the Third World. Brazil would pursue normal political and economic relations with the Communist nations and would oppose outside intervention in the affairs of Cuba.