110. Information Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1


  • Visit of Costa Rican President Trejos—June 4–5, 1968

The visit of President Trejos gives you the opportunity to stress democracy and development under the Alliance for Progress. Costa Rica gets high marks on both. It has one of the longest traditions of stable, democratic government in the hemisphere. It also has a good record of meeting Alliance goals in education, health, agriculture and industry.

Your participation in the visit is limited to the welcoming ceremony, a half hour office visit and a state dinner—all on Tuesday, June 4. The welcoming statement and toast, which were sent to you at the Ranch, are designed to give maximum emphasis to the democracy and development themes.

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On the official call, there are no outstanding issues in our relations which require decision at the Presidential level. Our intelligence is that President Trejos is not likely to raise bilateral issues, leaving that for his accompanying Ministers to discuss with State and AID. I attach a memorandum from Under Secretary Katzenbach with talking points (Tab A)2 which you might use in your conversations with President Trejos. You will want to mention his consistent support on Vietnam.

There is one point not covered in the Katzenbach memorandum which President Trejos is likely to mention: his pet project of a highway from San Jose to the Caribbean port of Limon and modern port facilities. He regards this as the single most important contribution to Costa Rican development at this stage. The World Bank and the Central American Bank are interested in financing the project. What remains is to work out the details. If he raises the subject, I recommend you tell him you know about the project, and agree on its importance.

Our record of assistance to Costa Rica is good. It has received $188.7 million under the Alliance in loans and technical assistance. For FY 1969, another $6.7 million is earmarked, subject to Congressional action on the AID Bill and Costa Rican self-help measures.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Costa Rica, President Trejos Fernandez Visit, 6/68. Confidential.
  2. Dated May 31; attached but not printed.
  3. Johnson met Trejos in the Oval Office, on June 6 at 12:25–1:10 p.m. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) A memorandum of conversation is ibid., National Security File, Country File, Costa Rica, Vol. I, 4/64–10/68. At his Tuesday luncheon meeting later that afternoon, Johnson gave the following brief assessment: “The Trejos meeting was a good one. They have some population problems and are not too happy about all the conditions placed on World Bank loans.” (Ibid., Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings)