47. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas1


  • Meeting the Latin American Experts on the Summit

I met yesterday at my home for lunch with Milton Eisenhower, Adolf Berle, Tom Mann, Jack Vaughn, Linc Gordon and Sol Linowitz to discuss the Latin American Summit.

We had a useful three-and-a-half hour session reviewing the Summit package and joint resolution, discussing the focus of your speech at the Summit and examining some new ideas which you might advance.

These are the highlights:

  • —All thought that the Summit package was well structured to get at the root of Latin America’s basic development problems.
  • —All agreed that time was running short in Latin America and the moment for decisive action was now. The Summit offered a historic opportunity for the Latin Americans to make the necessary political commitments and for you to redefine US policy.
  • —All agreed that we should encourage the Latin Americans to move rapidly down the path of economic integration as the single, most important step they can take to speed up the development process and transform economic and social situations. Our help should be closely geared to their performance.
  • Milton Eisenhower stressed that the Summit gave you the chance to dramatize at the highest level that our relation with the Latin Americans is that of junior partner and that while money is important and we will help, it can only be a supplement to their own commitment and action.
  • Adolf Berle focused on the trade issue, pointing out that if meaningful help for the LDC’s does not come from the Kennedy Round negotiations, we may have to think in terms of extending regional preferences for Latin America.
  • Jack Vaughn observed the need to come to grips with the birth rate and the urban slum problem, but all recognized the difficulties in doing anything meaningful at the Summit in these two areas.

On themes for your Summit speech:

  • Milton Eisenhower suggested that in emphasizing economic integration you point to the dramatic shift in policy which this represents for us. Historically, we have discouraged it. Only in the last ten years has our thinking shifted. You would be the first President to give it a major thrust forward.
  • Adolf Berle said you should point to the progress made in recent years in strengthening democracy and getting governments to work for the people as never before.
  • —Both Eisenhower and Berle urged that you stress that the US is not in the business of building empires but wants to help others in this hemisphere, and elsewhere, to build up themselves. Berle had an excellent quote from Seneca about there being no possibility of lasting friendship except between equals.

In the realm of new ideas, the group thought we should examine these areas:

  • —speeding up a satellite communications system for Latin America;
  • —help in promoting educational TV;
  • —development of research libraries on microfilm;
  • —cooperation in development of “food from sea” resources;
  • —development of protein concentrates for child-feeding programs; and
  • —computerized access to information, perhaps drawing on NIH’s development of an electronic library in medicine.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel File, Inter-American Summit Meeting, Vol. II. Confidential. The memorandum is an uninitialed copy; a handwritten note indicates that it was “sent via wire to Ranch.” According to the President’s Daily Diary, Johnson was at his Ranch in Texas, March 2–6. (Ibid.)