158. Letter From President Lleras Restrepo of Colombia to President Nixon1 2

[Page 1]

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letter of February 18 and for the copy of your message to the Congress on the subject of United States Foreign policy.

I have read your message with interest, and I find it a most useful document, not only as a policy statement for your own countrymen, but as a necessary reference for the international community, which in an increasingly interdependent world will be affected by your nation’s policies, domestic as well as foreign. For those of us that are interested in foreign policy it is very useful to know how the President of the United States views the principle issues, given the role your country plays in world affairs.

Your description of the National Security Council provides one with new insight into the procedures for a systematic and comprehensive process of discussing alternatives, formulating policies and implementing decisions. Certainly, if Presidential leadership is to be effectively exercised in the important field of international affairs, [Page 2] a streamlined policy-making process is most helpful.

Undoubtedly the most pressing problems on the international agenda today are those that pose an immediate threat to world peace: Vietnam, the Middle East and the nuclear arms race. However, as you point out in your message, the most pressing issues are not always the fundamental ones. In my opinion, the fundamental issue confronting the international community over the next decades is the living conditions of two-thirds of humanity that inhabits the under developed world. The search for peace over the next years will have to be intimately linked with a comprehensive development effort requiring substantial assistance from the industrialized nations.

Allow me to give you some impressions on the section of your message devoted to the Western Hemisphere which I found well balanced and realistic. I was particularly pleased with your conclusion about the special relationship that has historically existed between Latin America and the United States. That conclusion has the overwhelming support of history, of geography and of economic reality. Who can ignore the heritage we share of republican forms of government, or the eighty years of common effort in institutional building to bring about the Interamerican System? Improvements in transportation and communications that have brought us ever closer together, are gradually working towards the creation of a single multinational economy in our Hemisphere just as they are producing similar effects in other continents. I would also emphasize as particularly constructive your recommendations to support regional economic integration, and to press for liberalized tariff preferences in favor the developing countries. Your recognition of the need for improved access to the markets of the industrialized [Page 3] nations, and of the growing importance of manufactures as exports from the developing nations is of special relevance to Latin America.

I congratulate to you for this comprehensive document and I appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending me a copy.

With best personal regards,


Carlos Lleras
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Colombia, Vol. 1. No classification marking. For Nixon’s First Annual Report to the Congress on United States Foreign Policy for the 1970s, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1970, pp. 115–190. The document bears Lleras Restrepo’s typed signature. Nixon’s February 18 letter has not been found.
  2. President Lleras Restrepo praised President Nixon’s annual foreign policy report to the U.S. Congress for its recommendations for regional economic integration and liberalized tariff preferences that favored the developing countries.