30. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Vaughn) to Secretary of State Rusk 1

SUBJECT

  • Celebration of Fourth Anniversary of Charter of Punta del Este (Alliance for
    Progress) August 17, 1965

We have previously avoided a major celebration of the anniversary of the Charter of Punta del Este because the statistics provided no basis for celebration. The figures for 1964 are good, however, and prospects for 1965 are as good or better. But more important, the Alliance needs a psychological shot-in-the-arm and the personal imprint of the President. It is erroneously charged that we are neglecting the [Page 80]social aspects of the Alliance. Some Latins assert the Alliance died with Kennedy; others that our Dominican policy overshadows it.2

Mr. Sayre discussed this problem with the President on July 23 when he accompanied Ambassador Dungan. The President asked Mr. Sayre to send over a proposal.3

We assume we could not get the President to make a trip to Latin America now because of Vietnam. In any event, I would be reluctant to recommend it, because of the security problems associated with it.

The President should kick if off in Washington. He has already taken the first step by the loan signing ceremony at the White House on July 29 with the Central Americans.4 We have in mind a “social justice” address at the White House. The President has offered a trip on the Sequoia. After thinking this over, I have concluded that a boat trip does not do what we want, but would take as much of the President’s time. The Sequoia cannot accommodate the 33 OAS and White House Ambassadors. Moreover, we get little, if any, publicity. If a White House ceremony does not appeal to the President, we might consider something as unique as a luncheon at Monticello, Jefferson’s home. Jefferson was the exponent for all the things we want the President to emphasize—individual liberty, social justice, higher education, modernization of agriculture, etc.

Recommendation:

That you sign the memorandum (Tab B) to the President.5

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AID(AFP). Confidential. No drafting information appears on the memorandum.
  2. On April 27 the President sent U.S. Marines to the Dominican Republic to protect American lives in the midst of civil war. He later claimed that action was necessary to prevent the establishment of a Communist dictatorship. In response to criticism that he had acted unilaterally, the President dispatched Ambassador at Large Harriman and a team of high-level officials to Latin America for consultation.
  3. According to the President’s Daily Diary Johnson met Dungan and Sayre on July 23, 2:55–3:43 p.m. (Johnson Library) Although no substantive record of the meeting has been found, a note attached to this memorandum reports that the President asked the two men “for ideas on how to revitalize the Alliance.” (Note from Read to Rusk, August 4; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AID(AFP))
  4. Reference is to a $35 million AID loan to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration. For text of the President’s remarks upon signing the agreement, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, Book II, pp. 809–811.
  5. There is no indication of Rusk’s approval on the memorandum, but a copy of the signed memorandum to the President is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AID(AFP). During the signing ceremony on August 17 at the White House Johnson emphasized several elements to strengthen the Alliance, including: stabilizing the price of such basic commodities as coffee, cocoa, and sugar; and promoting economic integration in the region by reducing tariff barriers. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, Book II, pp. 884–889)