160. Memorandum of Meeting1 2

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  • The President
  • Ambassador Douglas Botero Boshell Ambassador of Colombia
  • Ambassador Emil Mosbacher, Chief of Protocol
  • Mr. John H. Crimmins, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
  • Mr. Viron P. Vaky, NSC

The Ambassador handed the President two letters—one on his Foreign Policy Report and one on coffee.

He then referred to President Lleras’ conversation last year regarding military equipment, and stressed the need for a modest arms modernization program. The President asked if Colombia had submitted its request, and the Ambassador replied that this would be done as soon as the President-elect had reviewed the list.

The President then spoke at length about congressional opposition to arms sales. He noted that he did not always agree with this opposition because he felt that there was a legitimate need for arms for internal security. A nation such as Colombia, which was democratic and whose requests for arms acquisition were reasonable and modest should be able to acquire such arms. He said the United States would view Colombia’s request promptly and sympathetically.

The Ambassador referred briefly to the coffee question, noting that a just price for coffee was essential. The President noted that we were also concerned with a just and reasonable price, and observed that high prices created consumer resistance.

Finally, the Ambassador expressed the hope that bilateral economic assistance would not be terminated before multilateral assistance had filled the gap. He merely made that statement and did not seek to elaborate. After making it he ended the conversation.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Colombia, Vol. 1. Confidential; Exdis. The meeting took place in the Oval Office. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the meeting lasted from 12:39 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) On April 20, Kissinger sent a memorandum to the President recommending he meet with Botero, because President Lleras “has been most helpful to us this last year, and has strongly supported our positions and policies.” (Ibid.)
  2. President Nixon and Ambassador Botero discussed the need for a modernization program for the Colombian military and Congressional opposition to arms sales.