31. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation1


  • Mr. Mann
  • The President

The President called and said he wanted a real good announcement written this afternoon he can put out on Monday2 which would say that he has been devoting a good deal of personal interest and attention to our relations with our good neighbors in this Hemisphere; that since he became President he has consulted with not only the people in the State Department that are experienced in this field but with the Congressional leaders and with the private sector and labor leaders and with the educators and former officials—Burley [Berle], Eisenhower and others who have served in official functions; that he has exchanged views and visits with some of the Presidents and officials of the nation and the Hemisphere, but the heavy workload has kept him from seeing them as much as he likes. He has met all the Ambassadors, OAS and Latin America, and that he has asked Dr. Milton Eisenhower, President of Johns Hopkins, who has served the Government for many years with distinction, an authority in this field, has written in this field and travelled in Latin America and advised him on this matter, to plan some visits to Latin America, and that he would hope that in the next few days that he would make his first one—his itinerary would be announced later, and a somewhat longer visit made in the next few weeks and perhaps others.3 That he will be accompanied by a staff of experts in the economic and political fields—get out of military angles as much as possible—and that he will be consulting regularly with the Department officials in the next few days. Be sure to bring in when he says expert some of his ideas and dreams that went into the Act of Bogota, subsequently reaffirmed and implemented in the Alliance, but give him some good credits for his ideas and dreams. Also that his stuff was copied by the Kennedys and he had no recognition, this means more to us than to them.

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The President said to build him as a real patriot. He asked Mr. Mann to touch base with Morse, say that earlier in the year he asked Eisenhower, Fulbright went to Brazil, asked Vaughn to visit some places;4 he said he had told Morse on two or three occasions to visit any countries he wanted. He said to ask Dr. Morgan and Selden,5 touch base with them and say we want them to go if they want to; don’t tell him just ask. In the past, off-the-record, has asked Eisenhower to go and asked them to go, not on the same trips but individually to any countries they want to. He said to make it a good announcement and get Watson6 to put it on his wire tomorrow.

Mr. Mann asked when would he want to make it. The President said the Secretary is coming down for dinner tomorrow night and Mr. Mann can send it by him, he will leave by Noon. He said he thought he would make it Sunday, quick as he can before Bobby is on every front page.

The President said to say in the announcement that he has asked Fulbright and other members of the Latin American Committees, he has Secretary Vaughn down there now, and give him the biggest title— Ambassador at Large if need be. Make a good announcement that will make the Latins happy. He said he wants to go to Mexico first, and told Mr. Mann he would call Flores7 and tell him that the President is sending an emissary and turn out for him and talk up everything for Mexico, sugar and everything else and put on a big show for him. The President said he would check it with his President and by Tuesday or Wednesday of next we would hear from him.

The President said we didn’t want to get to Brazil, we are out of Brazil, he would say Mexico or two others. He said Mr. Mann could talk to Flores pretty quick and see if he likes it, while the Sugar Bill is up would be a good time. He said that Milton Eisenhower could have a good welcome and show good relations and could reflect it in this country.

Mr. Mann asked if Flores would be too many, and the President said no, should be at least three days on the plane, one place a day. Mr. Mann suggested perhaps one in Central America and one in Panama.

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The President said to make it sound good and mention his ideas and dreams, Act of Bogota, and talk to him this afternoon and select the countries. He said to get Oliver in, and to get it to him without question, he wants it tomorrow. He said to salute it big.8

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Papers of Thomas C. Mann, Telephone Conversations with LBJ, May 2, 1965–June 2, 1966. No classification marking. Drafted by Viola Emrich (M).
  2. August 30. 3 Eisenhower agreed to this arrangement earlier that afternoon. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of telephone conversation between President Johnson and Milton Eisenhower, August 27, 12:25 p.m., Tape 6508.10, PNO 7)
  3. Eisenhower agreed to this arrangement earlier that afternoon. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of telephone conversation between President Johnson and Milton Eisenhower, August 27, 12:25 p.m., Tape 6508.10, PNO7)
  4. Fulbright headed the Senate delegation that accompanied high-level U.S. officials on a trip to Brazil in early August. (Department of State Bulletin, August 23, 1965, p. 332) Vaughn left on August 20 for a 2-week trip to Latin America, including stops in Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. For Vaughn’s report to the President on the trip, see ibid., October 4, 1965, pp. 548–549.
  5. Congressmen Thomas E. Morgan (D–Pennsylvania), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Armistead I. Selden, Jr. (D–Alabama).
  6. W. Marvin Watson, Jr.
  7. Antonio Carrillo Flores, Mexican Foreign Minister.
  8. The President left Washington on August 27, his 58th birthday, to spend the weekend at his Ranch in Texas. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) Before Rusk arrived the following afternoon, The New York Times reported that Senator Robert F. Kennedy was planning to visit South America in November. (The New York Times, August 28, 1965) The Johnson administration apparently decided against announcing its own plans for Milton Eisenhower. No evidence has been found that Eisenhower visited Latin America as the President’s personal emissary in 1965.