30. Telegram From the Embassy in Uruguay to the Department of State1

188. Please transmit following message to President.

“Dear Mr. President:

Conference wound up its substantive work at 3:15 a.m. Wednesday when the general committee completed its approval of short declaration of Punta del Este which was prepared for public consumption in view of length and complexity of basic charter of Punta del Este.2 Cubans made four or five efforts to amend the declaration but all their amendments were voted down unanimously, except for Bolivia, whose delegation has followed straight communist line throughout conference, clearly taking guidance from the Cubans. Head of Bolivian delegation was sick and out of action throughout conference and this comment does not reflect upon him personally. I was particularly pleased when the conference at my urging accepted unchanged a strong paragraph on promotion of private enterprise rejecting Bolivian motion to substitute the words ‘public and [Page 60]private’ for ‘private’. The close of the conference was remarkable show of solidarity on the part of all except Cuba and Boliva. Final result is, I think, everything we could have hoped for and the Alliance for Progress has now been fully and successfully launched.

Chapter on basic commodities sounds in places like very strong medicine but in every case where it refers to US there are the usual escape hatches which have come to be well recognized in inter-American Conference language. We abstained on two resolutions, one on meat and one on wool, which are in annex of main document, and in each case we were joined in abstention by Mexico. Guevara has had no success in upsetting conference but I do not believe this was his primary purpose. He has by maintaining relatively moderate position during working sessions of conference made it considerably more difficult for any early action along lines of Colombian initiative. I am convinced that his primary purpose here was to forestall such action. In this I am afraid he has had considerable success.

In the substantive work of the conference we received our most continuous and useful support from the large Brazilian delegation which was very strong and which on all substantive issues had no hesitancy in standing with us against Cuban amendments. The Brazilian delegation tried to offset this support by dining and lunching with Guevara a number of times. However they never once supported a Cuban initiative of any sort. We also had fine and helpful relations throughout conference with the Argentine and Mexican delegations. The Mexicans were very helpful on number of occasions which contrasted very favorably with their completely passive attitude at Bogota. Alemann of Argentina was outstanding among Latin Ministers in helping direct course of conference. Beltran of Peru and chief Chilean delegate Figueroa were also most helpful throughout, although Peruvian delegation as a whole was weak and unreliable. We also had help at important moments from Colombian and Venezuelan delegations both of which were of a high order. The other delegations, with the exception of Bolivia and Uruguay, were all friendly and behaved about as could be expected. The Uruguayans while not at all pro-Castro were extremely difficult on all sorts of items throughout the conference. The unsuccessful efforts to blackmail us into a promise of definite sums of short term aid marked low point of conference as far as I was concerned.

We will be leaving Montevideo early Friday and I will see Betancourt Saturday morning and lunch with him. We will arrive Washington Saturday evening.

Faithfully yours,

Douglas Dillon
Sparks
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 371.8/8-1761. Secret; Priority; Eyes Only.
  2. For text of the Declaration to the Peoples of America and the Charter of Punta del Este, see Department of State Bulletin, September 11, 1961, pp. 462-469.