477. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Komer) to President Johnson1


  • Peruvian President’s Reply to Your Letter

I received the Peruvian Ambassador this afternoon who wanted to deliver President Belaunde’s reply to the letter which you sent to him via Walt Rostow.2

The reply is in Spanish and I have sent it to State for translation. The principal points are:

He is profoundly grateful for your letter.
The conversations with Walt Rostow permitted a fruitful exchange of constructive ideas. Before replying to you, he wanted to talk first with Ambassador Jones.
The opening of the eastern slopes of the Andes offers a new frontier for colonization which will help win the battle over hunger and poverty. U.S. help in the initial phase of feasibility studies, as well as the new phase of actual work, will be of inestimable importance.
The cordial relations between our two countries is reflected in the growing participation of U.S. private capital in Peru. The contribution of these companies is much appreciated.
The only point that causes “certain preoccupation” is the “notorious difference” between the loan assistance given by “Official Institutions” to Peru in comparison to other countries. From his conversations with Rostow he gathers that there is the intention to “balance the flow of assistance” under the Alliance.
There is no reason for concern over the activities of U.S. businesses in Peru, which throughout the history of the country have never [Page 1000] been the victims of arbitrariness or unjust treatment. Where problems have arisen, they have been discussed with a high sense of responsibility and without precipitous action. He is confident that the few cases pending solution will be resolved by harmonious agreement.
He greatly appreciates your personal support for his “Cooperacion Popular” program designed to bring the Indian communities into the mainstream of Peruvian life.
He has sent through Ambassador Jones his pledge of support for the Pope’s peace efforts in Vietnam.

The letter in tone and content is friendly and forthcoming. Point 2 is his way of referring to his understanding with Walt Rostow on the IPC case (Tab A). His reference to wanting to talk to Ambassador Jones before replying to you refers to his desire to review the memorandum of understanding which Walt prepared. Points 4, 6 and 7 are designed to provide additional reassurance.3


Tab A

Memorandum of Understanding Prepared by Walt Rostow and Shown to President Belaunde by Ambassador Jones

The following memorandum will be the basis of my report to President Johnson:

President Belaunde wishes President Johnson to understand that he will try to settle within the next year the IPC case.
Under no circumstances does President Belaunde intend to confiscate IPC. (Ambassador Jones will say that he presumes that this is in response to the formula which we reiterated three times yesterday that the status of IPC “would in no way be further impaired.”)
It is President Belaunde’s judgment that his political possibilities for settling the IPC case would be improved by a resumption of normal aid relations with the U.S. along the lines of the sequence presented to him on Friday afternoon.
With respect to Viet-Nam President Belaunde wishes President Johnson to know that he will continue to support the peace initiatives of the Vatican.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Peru, Vol. II, 1/66–10/67. Confidential.
  2. The letter from Belaúnde to Johnson, dated February 10, included an English translation. (Ibid., Special Head of State Correspondence, Peru—Belaunde Correspondence)
  3. The President wrote the following instruction at the end of the memorandum: “Bob see me.” For an explanation of what Johnson may have had on his mind, see footnotes 2 and 3, Document 479.