252. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • A New “New Dialogue” (U)

You may recall that a couple of months ago President Turbay of Colombia mentioned to our Ambassador his intention of writing a letter to President Carter and to Andean Pact Presidents recommending the beginning of a “new dialogue” in the Hemisphere to construct a “new dimension” in inter-American relations.2 He asked our Ambassador whether President Carter would be interested in receiving such a letter. When Vance visited Quito, Vaky and I pressed both Turbay and his Foreign Minister on what he had in mind.3 Our conclusion was: very little. (C)

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Turbay thought a dialogue on commodities and arms sales was in order since these were the major issues for our countries to address, but he really had nothing specific in mind. And unfortunately, there is very little we can deliver on these two issues. (C)

Of such vague invitations are new slogans in inter-American relations created. As we have often learned, they frequently only lead to increased frustration. On the other hand, we cannot ignore Turbay, and he is awaiting our response. Christopher has sent the memorandum at Tab A,4 and I have attached a memorandum for you to send at Tab I.5 My recommendation is that we try to turn the suggestion for a new dialogue to our advantage by suggesting that we deal with concrete issues of special concern to us at a level below the Presidential.6 (C)


That you sign the memorandum at Tab I and forward that with Christopher’s recommendation at Tab A to the President.7 (U)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 12, Colombia, 1/77-12/79. Confidential. Sent for action. Pastor wrote “Bob” next to his name in the “from” line. Gates initialed the top right-hand corner of the memorandum. At the top of the memorandum, Aaron wrote: “ZB looks good. I just suggest we do it & not bother the President. DA
  2. Presumably a reference to Turbay’s conversation with Vaky. See footnote 2, Document 251.
  3. See Document 251.
  4. Tab A, dated August 28, is attached but not printed. The memorandum summarized Turbay’s proposal and described the mechanisms of a “new dialogue.”
  5. Tab I, undated, is attached but not printed.
  6. Brzezinski highlighted this sentence and wrote in the left-hand margin, “OK give me response to State. ZB
  7. There is no indication of approval or disapproval of the recommendation. In a September 26 memorandum to Christopher, Aaron suggested “that we inform President Turbay that President Carter would respond positively to Turbay’s suggestion for a request for dialogue. The Vice President will initiate this dialogue in Panama on October 1.” Aaron continued, “We should, however, be careful not to raise their expectations about Presidential involvement or about what such a dialogue could produce.” (National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Secretary: Records of Warren Christopher, 1977–1980, Lot 81D113, Box 20, Memos to/from Tarnoff, Wisner, Perry—1979) For Mondale’s October 1 conversation with Andean Pact heads of state in Panama, see Document 49.