The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editors are convinced that this volume, which was compiled in 1994–1997, meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the 5 years (1964–1968) of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The subseries presents in 34 volumes a documentary record [Page IV] of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Johnson’s administration. This volume documents U.S. policy toward South and Central America, and Mexico.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XXXI

The editors of the volume sought to include documentation illuminating the foreign policymaking process of the U.S. Government, emphasizing in particular the highest level at which policy on a given subject was determined. The documents selected include memoranda and records of discussions that set forth policy issues and show decisions or actions taken. The focus is on the development of U.S. policy and on major aspects and repercussions of its implementation rather than on the details of policy execution.

The volume features eleven bilateral and two regional compilations, demonstrating the breadth of the U.S. Government’s relations with the countries of South and Central America. Many of the bilateral compilations document the Johnson administration’s responses to a series of crises: the 1964 Panama Canal flag incident; the 1964 coup d’etat in Brazil; the 1964 Presidential election in Chile; the 1966 coup in Argentina; the 1967 hunt for Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Bolivia; the 1968 coups in Peru and Panama. The bilateral compilations also show how the administration tried to address more fundamental problems: the Panama Canal treaty negotiations; the insurgencies in Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela; the authoritarian regimes in Brazil and Argentina; the continuation of covert political support in Bolivia and Chile; economic assistance to Brazil, Colombia and Chile; the protection of American business interests in Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, and Chile. The Latin America regional compilation emphasizes the broader themes of the administration’s policy in the hemisphere: the Alliance for Progress; the threat of Cuban subversion; the Punta del Este conference. This regional compilation also highlights how personalities affected policymaking, especially the working relationship between President Johnson and Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Mann. The Central America regional compilation examines how the United States exercised its influence in the region, from elections in Costa Rica and Guatemala to authoritarian regimes in Honduras and Nicaragua. Given subsequent events, including the assassination of Ambassador Gordon Mein in August 1968, the compilation also emphasizes the U.S. response to the escalation of violence between the insurgents and the Government in Guatemala.

The volume’s principal focus is on the President, since Lyndon Johnson made the major foreign policy decisions during his administration. The editors sought to document his role as far as possible. Although the foreign policy record of the Johnson administration is voluminous, only the most important internal discussions between [Page V] Johnson and his advisers were documented. The record of Johnson’s involvement as well as that of Secretary of State Rusk in the policy process often had to be pieced together from a variety of sources.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. The amount of material omitted from this volume because it was unrelated to the subject of the volume, however, has not been delineated. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

The first footnote to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document. Every effort has been made to determine if a document has been previously published, and, if so, this information has been included in the source footnote.

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Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other firsthand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.

The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume.

Declassification Review

The Information Response Branch of the Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 1997 and was completed in 2003, resulted in the decision to withhold 12 documents in full, excise a paragraph or more in 10 documents, and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 52 documents.

On the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, the Office of the Historian is confident that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide a substantially accurate account of the major decisions and actions that constituted U.S. foreign policy toward South and Central America (and Mexico) during the Johnson administration.

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The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library of the National Archives and Records Administration, especially Regina Greenwell and Charlaine Burgess, who provided indispensable assistance in the process of research. The editors also wish to acknowledge the assistance of historians at the Central Intelligence Agency, especially Gerald Haines. Dallas Lindgren of the Minnesota Historical Society provided important documentation from the papers of former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

W. Taylor Fain, Jeffrey Soukup, David H. Herschler, and David C. Geyer collected the documentation for the volume. Under the general supervision of General Editor Edward C. Keefer, David Herschler selected and edited the documents on Panama and Bolivia; David Geyer selected and edited the documents in the remaining compilations. David Geyer also prepared the lists of names, sources, and abbreviations. Vicki E. Futscher and Rita M. Baker did the copy and technical editing and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the final declassification review. Max Franke prepared the index.

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

August 2004