301. Letter From President Carter to Peruvian President Morales Bermudez1

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your kind and perceptive message of April 18.2 Your distinguished Ambassador delivered it to me on May 3, when we met at the White House to discuss the new U.S. commodity policy on sugar.3

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You are gracious to refer to the new phase in my country’s overall policy toward Latin America. When the economic policies of the United States affect Latin American countries, I intend to see that our countries consult; the talks with sugar-exporting nations are one illustration. This is one of the ways I hope to improve discussions between the industrialized and developing countries on the economic relationship between us. Peru has been a leading participant in this “North-South” dialogue.

As you mention, the United States views human rights as one of the elements that determines our relations with other nations. As Secretary Vance has pointed out in a recent speech,4 we take both civil rights and economic rights seriously. These are all part of what you describe as the ultimate goal of the state—establishing a more just society, economically, politically and socially.

I share the concern you mention about arms. As you know, the United States believes that, both to maintain peace and advance development, the countries of our hemisphere should limit the acquisition of arms, both conventional and nuclear. In my speech before the OAS on Pan American Day,5 I referred to the Ayacucho Declaration and the resolution of the signatories to “put an end to the purchase” of offensive weaponry. I hope that intention will become reality soon. If the countries of your region would put an end to “armamentismo,” they would do a service to the region, and to the world.

I agree with you that our two countries must keep in touch, up through the highest level. As you know, I am sending Mrs. Carter as my personal representative on a tour to Peru and several South and Central American and Caribbean countries, for substantive discussions with their leaders. I am pleased your Government has consented to receive her, and I hope that she will have a chance to meet and talk with you.6

Thank you very much for inviting me to visit Peru. I would like to accept and certainly hope that I shall be able to visit your country sometime in the future.7


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 16, Peru: President Francisco Morales Bermudez Cerutti, 5/77-6/80. No classification marking. Dodson wrote in the top right-hand corner: “Handed by D. Aaron to Minister Igor Velazquez at 2:35 p.m., 5/5/77.”
  2. Not found.
  3. According to his Daily Diary, Carter met with Latin American ambassadors on May 3 from 2:15 to 2:43 p.m., “to discuss import relief for the domestic sugar industry.” The meeting took place in the White House Cabinet Room. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary)
  4. For Vance’s April 30 speech at the University of Georgia Law School, see Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, Document 37.
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, Document 33.
  6. See footnote 2, Document 302.
  7. Carter did not visit Peru during his presidency.