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Remarks Prior to the Departure of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller for Latin America.

May 11, 1969

Ladies and gentlemen:

Governor Rockefeller and members of his party, Mrs. Rockefeller and others, have stopped here at Key Biscayne on the first leg of the continental tour they are taking through Latin America.

They will be in Mexico for a late luncheon, a few hours from now, and then will go to all of the countries in Central America before returning to Washington and to New York.

After that there will be several other trips to Latin America over the next 3 to 4 months which the Governor will be glad to describe.

As I have indicated previously, I consider this to be one of the most vitally important missions ever undertaken by an independent group in behalf of the Government of the United States.

If you look at the members of the Governor's party, some of whom are standing here with us--Mr. Watson, Mr. Woods, and others--it is a group of experts which has never been equaled in terms of qualifications and the broad base of experience. It is a group which is going to Latin America not for the purpose of studying the problem--as the Governor was saying to me a few moments ago, and he is an expert in this field because he first visited Latin America 35 or 40 years ago--Latin America has been studied over the years, and all kinds of study recommendations have been made--but this has the unusual and, I think, very necessary purpose of listening to the leaders of Latin America and coming back to Washington and making recommendations for new directions and new policies.

The group goes with no preconceived prejudices against existing programs, but it has an open mind with regard to new approaches.

The Governor now will be glad to answer any questions insofar as he can on the mission. I want to say that we are grateful that he could take the time to make this trip at this point. It will be vitally important to not only the new relations and a better relationship between the United States and our friends in Latin America, but toward developing new policy directions in this critical area of the world.

Good luck.

Note: The President spoke at 12:03 p.m., at Key Biscayne, Fla. Arthur K. Watson was president of the IBM World Trade Corp., and of the International Chamber of Commerce. George D. Woods was director and consultant to the First Boston Corporation and former President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

A list of advisers who accompanied Governor Rockefeller to Latin America was released by the White House Press Office on May 8, 1969.

The text of Governor Rockefeller's news briefing following the President's remarks is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P. 681 ).

On May 27 a news briefing by Governor Rockefeller on the second of four visits to Latin America was released by the White House.

Richard Nixon, Remarks Prior to the Departure of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller for Latin America. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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