332. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1

Mr. President:

Herewith a recommendation from Agriculture and AID, concurred in by State, Treasury and BoB, that you authorize a $2.2 million P. L. 480 sale to Ecuador for small quantities of wheat and tobacco.2

Despite Arosemena’s unhelpful performance at Punta del Este and doubts regarding the economic justification for P. L. 480 help, I favor this modest assistance:

  • Arosemena has pulled back a considerable way from his Summit obstreperousness, joining with our Ambassador on August 17 in a public celebration of the 6th anniversary of the Alliance for Progress.
  • —The local currency proceeds will be used to encourage much-needed improvements in agriculture—a key Summit objective.
  • Arosemena has made considerable progress during 1967 in getting Ecuador’s budgetary and balance of payments situation straightened out.
  • —We have a stake in continued political stability in Ecuador which Arosemena has achieved while returning the country to constitutionality via elections scheduled for next June.




See me

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Ecuador, Vol. I, 12/63–11/68. Confidential.
  2. Attached but not printed are memoranda to the President from Schultze, August 24, and Gaud and Freeman, August 21.
  3. The last two options are checked. Rostow apparently did not raise the issue again until September 6, when he returned the memorandum to the President with a request for additional guidance. (Memorandum from Rostow to the President, September 6; Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Ecuador, Vol. I, 12/63–11/68) Johnson’s response is recorded in a note dictated later that day aboard Air Force One: “I don’t want to agree to that Ecuador thing. Hold up on it. They can argue with me about it, but I am not going to force this. I haven’t forgotten Punta del Este.” The note indicates that Jones informed Rostow of the President’s decision on September 7. (Ibid.)