12. Minutes of a Cabinet Meeting1


[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Latin America.]

The talking papers for Latin America read like the same papers we have gotten for years. The gap in the papers was they didn’t deal with expropriation. All these other things will take 25 years to work out. State people don’t realize this. The wooly heads think if only the government would put more into Latin America, everything would be okay. We could put ten times in and it wouldn’t do it. The future of Latin America will be determined to an extent, not by the tip of the iceberg—the governments—but by what private enterprise does. And the investment climate—because of expropriation, government policies, etc.—is bad. We will go through the motions in Latin America and offer them trade preferences. But what good are they if they can’t produce competitively?

Look at Argentina. It is where we were in the 30s. Back when they had a responsible government they had a higher standard of living, but now they are in bad shape. Until they get stability—Brazil has had it, even though we don’t like it—the investment capital is not going to go in.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Latin America.]

  1. Summary: Nixon commented on the situation in Latin America, expressing the view that the region’s future depended on private investment.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Presidential/HAK Memcons, Box 1028, Memcons, 1 Jan 1974–28 Feb 1974, HAK and Presidential, 1 of 3. Confidential.