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

SUBJECT

  • Peru Coup

Contrary to our latest intelligence assessments, the Peruvian Army moved early this morning to oust President Belaunde and install a [Page 1058]“Revolutionary Junta”.2 Unhappiness over the IPC settlement was one obvious motive.

No violence or active resistance has yet occurred, but some could develop during the day. Early reports suggest the Navy and Air Force were not fully supporting the Army.

President Belaunde was arrested by the Army at his palace and flown to exile in Buenos Aires by the military.

We will soon have to face the question of recognition of the Junta, but should not do so until the dust settles.3 Full consultation with the other OAS governments will be required. Meanwhile, our AID Mission Director—now here on consultation—will remain here and AID will suspend plans for new aid to Peru.

The last coup in Latin America occurred June 1966 in Argentina.

Walt
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Peru, Vol. III, 10/67–11/68. Confidential. A copy was sent to George Christian. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Another copy indicates that the memorandum was drafted by Lewis. (Ibid., Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 97)
  2. President Johnson was informed of the coup d’etat at 6:30 a.m., when a briefing officer in the White House Situation Room forwarded a cable from the Embassy. The officer noted that he had briefed Rostow. (Note from Wotring to the President; ibid.) The cable in question, flash telegram 7639 from Lima, 030859Z, stated: “Apparent golpe in process, but have no details.” Embassy reports on the progress of the coup are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 PERU.
  3. In telegram 249329 to Lima, October 3, the Department reported: “Although we have not said so publicly, overthrow of Peruvian Government has effect of suspending diplomatic relations with GOP. We are assessing details of this general problem and in meantime know you will observe the cautions about contact with revolutionary forces.” (Ibid.)