490. Notes of Meeting1


[Omitted here is discussion of other matters.]

On the subject of supplying supersonic fighters to Peru, it was agreed that the Peruvian government wanted these planes primarily for prestige value and not for any practical defense purposes. The President cited a ticker item which said Congress had proposed that the U.S. would not provide aid to any country with supersonic planes.

Secretary Rusk pointed out that the proportion of aid funds committed to defense has been steadily dropping in Latin American countries. The President said a briefing should be arranged on the subject, especially with the Congress in mind.

Secretary McNamara pointed out that the total number of tanks in Latin America is less than the number in Bulgaria alone. The Secretary said the number of aircraft in the 21 Latin American countries is less than the number operated by Sweden alone.

Secretary McNamara said that the politicians do, however, depend on the Army.

The President asked, “Isn’t there some way we can show the Congress what happened in Venezuela?” Secretary Rusk said that he and Secretary McNamara had talked to the Congress many times about this. Secretary Rusk said there is a very real guerrilla problem there.

The President said it seemed to him as though it would be a wise course to get out some of those old Cuba speeches and show the Congress what could happen if we aren’t able to help these countries. The President said there will be many other Cubas in Latin America unless we do. The President said Assistant Secretary Oliver thinks we should give the $15 million in aid to Peru.

[Page 1021]

Secretary McNamara said he would give the $15 million in aid if they met the conditions which have been set forth. Secretary Rusk said Peru would not buy the conditions.

The President said that Rusk and McNamara and Rostow should get together and clear up this matter and come back to him with a recommendation.2

[Omitted here is discussion of other matters.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson Meeting Notes. Literally Eyes Only. Drafted by Tom Johnson. The meeting was scheduled as a substitute for the Tuesday luncheon meeting. (Rostow to Rusk, July 18, 11:25 a.m.; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls 7/1/67–7/24/67)
  2. No evidence has been found that Rusk and McNamara submitted a written recommendation to the President.