111. Editorial Note
In late May 1968 President Johnson proposed visiting Central America as part of a trip to demonstrate his interest in the Western Hemisphere, including stops in Colombia and Brazil. (Memorandum from Rostow to the President, May 25; Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 79) Although the plans for South America subsequently fell through, the White House announced on July 1 that Johnson had accepted an invitation to attend a meeting at the headquarters of the Organization of Central American States (ODECA) in San Salvador. (Ibid., President’s Daily [Page 263] Diary) The President arrived in San Salvador on July 6; later that day, he participated in a “working session” with the Central American Presidents, addressing such issues of common concern as regional economic integration. On July 7 Johnson toured several sites in El Salvador, including a primary school named in his honor. Before returning to Washington on July 8 he escorted Presidents Somoza, Trejos, López, and Méndez to their respective countries, attending a brief ceremony upon arrival at each airport.
The Embassy in San Salvador considered the visit to Central America an “unqualified” success: “This was probably the greatest event this little country has ever experienced and US-Salvadoran relations will benefit for years to come. Of more significance, the President’s demonstrated and expressed personal interest in Central American regionalism and integration cannot help but give a big shot in the arm to this concept.” (Telegram 2268 from San Salvador, July 8; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 ELSAL) For Johnson’s remarks during the trip, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968–69, Book II, pages 780–800; and Department of State Bulletin, July 29, 1968, pages 109–121) Documentation on the visit is also in the Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel File, Central America; ibid., Hemisfair and Central America, 7/68; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Conference Files: Lot 69 D 182, CF 305 through CF 308; and ibid., Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 ELSAL.