Richard Nixon photo

Statement on Governor Rockefeller's Report on Latin America.

November 10, 1969

THERE ARE two points I want to stress in connection with Governor Rockefeller's report which is being released today:

First, as I said in my October 31 speech, this report constituted a major contribution to the formulation of our policy for this hemisphere. Both our general conceptual approach and the specific lines of action we intend to follow have been substantially shaped by that report.

Secondly, this report is still very much under active consideration. Many of its recommendations which are far-reaching and complex are still being staffed and examined with a view to their implementation. Therefore, a good many of the things we will be doing in the weeks and months ahead will have had their genesis in this report.

Let me give you an example: In his report, Governor Rockefeller recommends a unique and imaginative technique that might be used in cases where this type of action is indicated in the debt service area. He recommended the possibility of maintaining equivalent local currency payments in instances where the dollar repayments are suspended or stretched out. The local currency would be paid into a fund which could in turn be used for development purposes in that country. Now there are a number of technical points to be clarified, but the concept is an imaginative one, and I believe it is something that can be useful. Accordingly, I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury to undertake an immediate study of this proposal with a view to adopting it as a technique in those cases where it is appropriate. Mr. George [D.] Woods, who was a senior adviser to the Governor on his mission and is former President of the World Bank, will be a consultant to the Secretary of the Treasury for this purpose.

Now let me make a more general point. My speech on October 31 was intended as a philosophical foundation for what I envisage as a continuous process of policy formation over the months ahead. It outlined our view of the nature of our relationship with the other states in the hemisphere; the principles which should underlie that relationship; the policies which should implement it; and the directions those policies should take, together with some concrete examples.

I did not want to promise things which would have been unattainable, such as greatly increased aid levels. On the other hand, I want to do the maximum of what is possible and "doable." This is what I meant by an action program, and we intend now to take such concrete measures in conjunction with the other American nations. We intend to propose over the next several months further concrete actions. We will be discussing and exchanging views with our sister nations on key issues and problems, and jointly we will be developing programs and policies to meet our problems. One of the things I want to explore very carefully when budget considerations make it possible is a program to finish the highway net down the center of the South American Continent. This is a program which I think would have an immense effect economically and be a great boost to integration of the region.

Next week the Inter-American Economic and Social Council will convene here in Washington at the technical level. The United States will be making some specific proposals in a number of fields; we will want to have the views of the other nations, and we will then be developing proposals and lines of action accordingly over the next several months.

Let me give you a concrete example: All of the American nations want to see the early establishment of a liberal worldwide system of generalized trade preferences for all developing countries. I stated in my speech that the United States intended to press vigorously with the developed countries for the adoption of such a system. This week U.S. representatives at OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] meetings in Paris took that position. The United States will work actively now for such a system. I want to say, however, that if for any reason we find it not possible to establish a satisfactory system of generalized preferences within a reasonable time, then the United States will be prepared to consider other alternative actions it can take to assure that the American nations will have preferential access to the U.S. market.

As another example, we are also going to propose to the other American nations at the IA-ECOSOC [Inter-American Economic and Social Council] meetings joint initiatives whose costs we are prepared to share:

--expansion of regional science programs, emphasizing research and training;

--promotion of an intensified hemispheric effort in basic and applied food research;

--establishment of an inter-American science information exchange program.

I am, in short, most serious about undertaking an action program and implementing a mature partnership with the countries of this hemisphere. Our fundamental objective, as Governor Rockefeller so eloquently expressed it, is to help improve the quality of life of the people of this hemisphere.

The Governor knows how personally grateful I am for all of the time and energy he spent on this mission, and how deeply appreciative I am for his insights and imaginative ideas. Let me once more take this opportunity publicly to express my appreciation.

Note: The report of Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York is entitled "Quality of Life in the Americas" (137 PP., processed). The complete text of the report, except for charts, graphs, and index, is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 61, p. 495).

Richard Nixon, Statement on Governor Rockefeller's Report on Latin America. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives