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


  • Your 11:30 Meeting Today on Peru

The purpose of the meeting is to review the modalities of the proposal (Tab A) for persuading Peru to drop the Mirage deal.2

Those attending will be:

  • State: Secretary Rusk, Covey Oliver
  • DOD: Paul Nitze, Paul Warnke
  • CIA: Dick Helms
  • WH: Rostow, Bowdler

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I suggest you follow this agenda:

1. Workability of the Proposal.

Comment: Covey Oliver has been checking with Northrop on the availability of F–5’s, commercial credit for their financing and the training of Peruvian pilots. You might ask him to report on his findings.

2. Your Emissary to Peru.

Comment: Dr. Eisenhower told Covey Oliver last Friday3 that he could not undertake the assignment until after Friday. Covey was getting in touch with him again to establish how soon after Friday he would be available.

Others who might do the job are listed at Tab B.4

An essential element of the approach to Peru is to make it as free from publicity as possible.

3. Advisability of Using Brazil to Help with Peru.

Comment: I sent you a CIA report on Saturday from a reliable source that President Costa e Silva had decided not to purchase Mirages.5 We have not been officially informed of this decision. You might ask Secretary Rusk and Dick Helms how we might get the Brazilians to so notify us so that we in turn could ask President Costa e Silva if he would help in persuading President Belaunde not to go through with the Mirage deal.

W. W. Rostow 6
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 49. Secret. According to the President’s Daily Diary the “off record” meeting was held in the Cabinet Room, 11:35–11:55 a.m. (Johnson Library) Sayre was added to Rostow’s list of attendees. No other record of the meeting has been found.
  2. Not attached. Reference is probably to a paper drafted by Bowdler and forwarded to the President under the cover of a November 2 memorandum from Rostow. Rostow presented Johnson with two alternatives: (a) send a high-level representative to Lima—a man “who would carry more punch”—to determine whether Belaúnde and the Peruvian military were willing to negotiate; or (b) send a lower-level official “who could make the same soundings with less risk of publicity.” The President indicated he would “prefer to have [a] meeting first” with representatives from DOD, State and CIA. (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Peru, Vol. III, 10/67–1/69)
  3. November 3. Johnson also raised the idea with former President Eisenhower: “[Belaúnde] is insisting on buying all these French planes, and we’re in a hell of a mess, his country is in bad shape, and I thought he [Milton Eisenhower] could go down there” and give them “a fair evaluation of the problem.” Eisenhower thought his brother “might be susceptive” to the idea. (Ibid., Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of telephone conversation between President Johnson and Eisenhower, November 4, 1967, 10 a.m., Tape F67.14, Side B, PNO 3) An informal transcript of the conversation is ibid., Chron Series.
  4. Not attached. Reference is probably to a memorandum from Rostow to the President, November 4, which contains a list of possible high-level envoys, including: Cyrus Vance, George Ball, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton, Clark Clifford, and Lincoln Gordon. Johnson approved the recommendation to schedule a meeting at 11:30 a.m., November 6, without indicating his preference as emissary. (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Peru, Vol. III, 10/67–1/69)
  5. [text not declassified] (Ibid., Brazil, Vol. VII, 3/67–11/68)
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.