14. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Christopher to President Carter1

[Omitted here are portions unrelated to Latin America.]

Todman Trip to Latin America. Assistant Secretary Todman returned this week from a quick swing through Latin America. In Colombia, President Lopez Michelsen pressed for the helicopters which we promised him in 1975 under our narcotics assistance program, but which we are hesitant to deliver because of reported narcotics-related corruption in the Colombian Government.2 Lopez generally supports our human rights policy but warned that we should not try to be the “world’s moral policeman.” He urges that we internationalize the effort (which of course we are trying to do). Colombian officials pressed their view that we should give special preferences to Latin American goods to offset the preferences the European Community extends to former European colonies.

In Venezuela, President Perez, looking forward to his forthcoming state visit, is anxious to cooperate with us in all areas and to take a strong stand on human rights.3 The Venezuelans stressed that the single most important issue in our bilateral relations is the removal of Venezuela (and Ecuador) from the list of OPEC countries excluded from our system of generalized trade preferences.

Todman talked with President Videla of Argentina who was also visiting Venezuela.4 Videla said that he understood our human rights position and did not argue with its importance, but that Argentina just could not meet the highest standards until it wins the war against terrorism. Videla asked for our understanding of Argentina’s difficulties.

Foreign Minister Silveira stressed that Brazil attaches great importance to the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the United States in 1976.5 He was obviously concerned that ambiguity on its [Page 55] future would not only hinder bilateral problem-solving, but could lead to a further deterioration in U.S.-Brazil relations. Cy will be meeting with Silveira next week during the CIEC meeting6 and will try to put his doubts to rest on this score. Although not discussed extensively with Todman, the nuclear issue remains of primary concern to the Brazilians.

Bolivian President Banzer and other Government officials promised to speed up adjudication of the cases of Americans held on narcotics charges.7 Based on our pledge of assistance, the Bolivian Government is now fully committed to a program of crop substitution for the cocaine-source coca now produced there.

[Omitted here are portions unrelated to Latin America.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 18, Evening Reports (State), 5/77. Secret. Carter initialed the first page of the memorandum. Vance was in Geneva to meet with Gromyko.
  2. Telegram 4247 from Bogotá, May 10. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770164–0874)
  3. Telegram 4808 from Caracas, May 13. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770171–0402)
  4. Telegram 4775 from Caracas, May 13. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770170–0962)
  5. Telegram 3891 from Brasília, May 14. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770198–0899)
  6. The CIEC met in Paris May 30–June 3.
  7. Telegram 3758 from La Paz, May 18. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770177–0194)