519. Notes of Meeting1


  • The President
  • Secretary Rusk
  • Secretary Clifford
  • General Wheeler
  • CIA Director Helms
  • Walt Rostow
  • George Christian
  • Tom Johnson

[Omitted here is discussion of other subjects.]

Secretary Rusk: … We recommend that the USA now recognize Peru, if you approve.

The President: What does that do?

Secretary Rusk: Colonels have it in Brazil and Argentina.

The President: What if we didn’t recognize Peru?

Secretary Rusk: It would complicate ourselves. But we have recognized 50 countries where coup d’etats have taken place.

Secretary Rusk: We are denied AID for Peru.

CIA Director Helms: Sugar quota would fall off once the Hickenlooper Amendment takes over.

Secretary Rusk: We don’t get anywhere by not recognizing them. This is the 62nd coup I’ve lived through since I’ve been Secretary of State and Dick Helms did not cause a one of them—contrary to popular belief.

We can’t impose our will over other countries. They will conduct elections in Peru.

We went two years without a coup in Latin America.2

[Omitted here is discussion of other subjects.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson Meeting Notes. No classification marking. Drafted by Tom Johnson. The meeting was held during lunch.
  2. At the end of his notes, Tom Johnson recorded the President’s decision on Peru as follows: “Recognize him [Velasco] as soon as you want to.” Rostow later told Benjamin Read that the President had given Rusk a “reluctant go-ahead to recognize, if that’s what he [Rusk] wants to do.” (Note from Bromley K. Smith to Lois Nivens, October 22; ibid., National Security File, Rostow Files, Meetings with the President, January– December 1968 [1])