15. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mann)1

President: Tom?

Mann: Yes, sir?

President: I have been looking at the amount obligated by the Alliance program and it’s quite disturbing. It’s only about 60 percent of what they’ve appropriated.

Mann: Uh huh.

President: And I thought that I better talk to you and the Director of the Budget and see if we can’t get something done that will get that money obligated, because you don’t, Passman’s2 just going to take it away from us.

Mann: Well, I think—We testified up there the other day where we’re going to have it all obligated by the end of the fiscal year, but I’ll check on it again to make sure.

President: Well, they estimate that they’re going to do it faster, but I just think you ought to call in some people there and approve some loans.

Mann: Well, we’ll do that.

President: You know what you got now? You got May the 15th, 59 percent of the Alliance loans obligated.

Mann: Well, I think it may be higher than that right now.

President: Well, this was May the 15th, 59 percent.

Mann: Yeah.

President: April the 30th, you only had 45 percent.

Mann: Yeah, we got a slow start.

President: Now, they estimate that they’re going to get up there, maybe 90 some-odd percent. But if you get it the last month, he’s going to start hearings on it in the next few days and he’s going to look at what you got now. And everyday that you wait you just cost you [Page 41] money. And I’m not going to fight for it if they don’t go on spending when they got it.

Mann: All right. I got it. We’ll spend it. I’ll make sure we get it all obligated.

President: Let’s get another ceremony and sign some more and let’s get those ambassadors in here in another month.

Mann: All right.

President: Get them back. You get with Rostow and you all get some plan and some new ideas and some new programs that we can announce for some of the rest of them. And sometime in the next 30 days let’s get them back in.

Mann: Will do.

President: All right.

Mann: OK.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of telephone conversation between President Johnson and Thomas Mann, Tape F64.27, Side A, PNO 6. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume. An informal memorandum of this conversation, prepared in ARA, is ibid., Papers of Thomas C. Mann, Telephone Conversations with LBJ, January 4, 1964–April 30, 1965.
  2. Congressman Otto E. Passman (D–Louisiana), chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.
  3. Mann forwarded a memorandum to the President on June 15 in which he reported that 80 percent of the funds appropriated for the Alliance for Progress had already been obligated; the remainder would be committed within 1 month. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, Alliance for Progress, Vol. I) No evidence has been found that Johnson invited the Latin American Ambassadors to the White House for a second signing ceremony for the Alliance.