52. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All American Republic Posts 1

176889. Subject: Summit Assessment. From Gordon.

Following is our summary assessment of Summit outcome. We will send you full sets of Summit documents2 as soon as possible.
Ultimate results of Summit decisions will not be known for number of years and will depend upon degree of implementation of actions agreed at Summit. However, we consider Summit meeting and Declaration signed there definite successes. Our reasons follow.
When President Johnson agreed a year ago to join with Latin American leaders to explore proposed Summit meeting, we saw meeting as opportunity for:
Agreement on a few significant, concrete actions which, building on experience and achievements of first years of Alliance for Progress, could result in needed accelerated economic and social advances in future.
Re-emphasis on cooperative approach, under which Latin American initiative and self-help would be stressed at same time that U.S. would reassure Latin America on its concern and assistance.
Strengthening of personal relations among leaders of Hemisphere.
Substantive content of Declaration of Presidents of America signed at Punta del Este,3 which is result of long and painstaking preparatory process in which every signatory government (except Trinidad and Tobago) was deeply involved, goes beyond what might reasonably have been expected a year ago. It includes:
A stronger, broader, and much more specific Latin American commitment to a Common Market than seemed likely when process began.
Increased attention to multinational projects which will facilitate integration.
Increased emphasis and better focus on two lagging but key sectors of the development process—agriculture and education.
A special emphasis on science and technology which grew stronger as the preparatory process progressed, and culminated in a commitment to an Inter-American Science Program including several specific points.
A useful (although not as strong as we had hoped for at one stage) statement on limitation of military expenditures.
From the U.S., most importantly, (a) agreement to increased assistance in support of the greater Latin American efforts; and (b) in a major new trade policy departure, willingness to consult carefully within the U.S. and with other industrialized countries on generalized trade preferences, for limited time periods, by all industrialized countries in favor of all developing countries.
As stated above, all signatory governments (except Trinidad and Tobago) were deeply involved in preparatory process and final Declaration is truly inter-American document.
Personal relationships developed among Presidents during Summit were in almost all cases very satisfactory and should be helpful in future.
While reactions of other delegations to Summit varied in degree, all but Ecuador seemed agree that meeting had on balance been clear success. President Frei was most categorical and emphatic in so stating. President Diaz Ordaz made statement which probably most nearly expressed consensus when he said that while all might have wanted more from Summit, negotiators had achieved what was possible, and what they had achieved was a substantial advance. Arosemena’s negative position was not supported by any other Latin American President.
Press reaction to the Summit from within the U.S. has been strikingly and almost uniformly favorable. From reports we have had thus far, press reaction from Latin America has been uneven, perhaps reflecting to considerable extent lack of understanding of full meaning of decisions reached at Summit. In particular, many Latin journalists apparently failed to appreciate significance President Johnson’s statement on point 2(b)(6) above.
The job now before all the OAS Members is to follow up on the Summit decisions with sustained action. In some fields, notably economic integration, the lead must be taken by Latin America. In others, such as trade and the regional science and technology efforts, we shall be working jointly with them or, as in the case of preferences, following up ourselves with the other industrialized countries. In the expanded programs in agriculture, education, and health, the next steps should come from the national Latin American authorities concerned. The same is true on elimination of unnecessary military expenditures. [Page 133] In the whole process of implementation, we should maintain the attitude of urgency set forth in the President’s April 13 speech,4 and make clear that we view the Summit objectives as serious undertakings.
You may draw on the foregoing assessment as you deem useful in both official and private contacts.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files, 1967–69, POL 7 IA SUMMIT. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Eaton, cleared by Sayre, and approved by Gordon.
  2. The documentary record of the Punta del Este Conference is ibid., Conference Files, 1966–1972: Lot 67 D 586, CF 151 through CF 162; Washington National Records Center, RG 59, ARA/IPA Files, FRC 71 A 6682, Item 31, Meeting of American Presidents— 1967; ibid., ARA/OAS Files, FRC 71 A 6682, Item 50, Meeting of American Presidents— 1967; and Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel File, Punta del Este, 4/12–14/67.
  3. For text of the declaration, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 673–685, or Department of State Bulletin, May 8, 1967, pp. 712–721. Arosemena refused to sign the declaration, the only attending Latin American head of state to so refuse.
  4. For text of the speech, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, Book I, pp. 446–449. For other statements made during the conference, see ibid., pp. 442–446 and 449–451.