42. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

Mr. President:

This broad agenda on Latin America was drafted yesterday by Gordon, Linowitz, and Bill Bowdler. It is worth reading as a quick summary of the Latin American situation.

For your talks on Saturday,2 I suggest the following simpler agenda.

Linowitz’s trip to Central America. (Linowitz)
Preparations and Prospects for the Summit meeting. (Gordon)
Implications of the Summit for U.S. Policy. (Gordon)
[Page 105]

For your information, Latin Americans’ preparations for the Summit are now going rather well. We have put ourselves in the position where we do not have to decide what add-ons to the Alliance for Progress we shall make until we can see how seriously the Latin Americans are prepared to move forward. Our Latin American experts are thinking in terms of an add-on of perhaps $200,000, partially through the IDB, which would put additional resources into international projects and integration, on the one hand, agriculture and education, on the other.

W. W. Rostow 3



For Gordon–Linowitz–Rostow Talks With the President

1. General Political Situation

1966 has been a banner election year: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay.
Except for the Argentine setback, representative democracy has been considerably strengthened through the electoral process and with it the promise of greater political stability.
Soft spots continue to be: Haiti, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Panama.
So-called “arms race” centering around recent subsonic aircraft purchases by Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela is a real—but exaggerated—problem.

2. General Economic Situation

Most encouraging trend is that the hemisphere is moving out of the economic crisis stage and can now increasingly devote its attention and energies to development.
  • —All the major countries have passed the economic crisis stage; the ones still caught in it are small countries: Ecuador, Uruguay, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Panama.
  • —The new political and economic stability is fostering:
  • —institutional reform;
  • —steady increase in tax revenues;
  • —greater attention to development planning;
  • —more diversification;
  • —increase in important private investment projects;
  • —movement toward Latin American economic integration.
But the base for this progress is still fragile:
  • —problems of inadequate exports;
  • —inflationary pressures remain;
  • —rise in population;
  • —impact of any deflationary trend in the US and Europe;
  • —growing urban unemployment;
  • —backwardness of agriculture.
The Alliance for Progress at a crossroads:
  • —has had another year of solid accomplishments, although we will fall short of 2.5% GNP per capita;
  • —but economic and social progress must be accelerated if the present gains are to be consolidated;
  • —Alliance goals and requirements which the President will wish to keep in mind as he reviews the FY 1968 budget.

3. Special Issues

Summit Preparations:
  • —Status of OAS work;
  • —Status of our preparations;
  • —Linowitz trip to Central America;
  • —Projected Gordon–Linowitz trip to South America, following which they wish to report to the President on Summit prospects and obtain his approval of time and place for the Summit and of our program and its budget implications.4
Dominican Republic
  • —Political polarization process and what we propose to do to arrest it.
  • —Present economic situation and outlook for 1967.
  • —Duvalier has weathered another crisis, but the situation remains explosive.
  • —Status of our contingency planning.
Panama Negotiations
  • —Status of the negotiations.
  • —Outlook for negotiations of satisfactory treaties with the Robles Government.
Visits by Latin Americans
  • —President Frei.
  • —President-elect Costa e Silva.
Amistad Dam Visit
  • —Scenario.
  • —Themes for remarks.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 15. Confidential. The President was at his ranch, November 19–December 9 and December 16–January 2.
  2. December 3; the meeting was evidently held aboard Air Force One during a brief trip on December 3 to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, where Johnson inspected construction of the Amistad Dam and met informally with President Diaz Ordaz. According to the President’s Daily Diary Johnson “went to a back cabin of the plane and was not seen in the front again until after landing.” (Johnson Library) Passengers on the flight included Rusk, Gordon, Linowitz, and Rostow. Tom Johnson reported that “the President spent much of the flight in conversation with Secretary Rusk.” (Memorandum from Johnson to Marie Fehmer, December 3; ibid.) No substantive record of the meeting was found.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  4. Gordon and Linowitz toured Latin America for consultation on the OAS summit and reported to the President on December 19. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) The President gave Senator Mike Mansfield (D–Montana) the following account of the meeting: “They’ve covered most of the countries—I think all but a couple of them, Ecuador and Bolivia—and they’re pleased with the situation generally. They’re particularly pleased with Carrillo Flores and Diaz Ordaz and what they said to them and so forth. They think that the summit’s going to come off in good shape. They pretty well got an agenda, pretty well agreed upon, pretty well decided that it’s not going to be a place to express your envies or jealousies or to demagogue or campaign.” (Ibid., Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of telephone conversation between President Johnson and Mike Mansfield, December 20, 12:16 p.m., Tape F6612.05, Side A, PNO 4)