Assistant Secretary

Bruce L. R. Smith

in Lincoln Gordon

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print April 2015 | ISBN: 9780813156552
Published online January 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780813165455 | DOI:
Assistant Secretary

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Secretary of State Rusk visits Brazil in November 1965 and discusses whether Gordon should stay at his post. They tentatively agree that he should stay one more year, but on a home visit in December and January the president abruptly decides he will shift around a number of his appointees. President Johnson was impressed by Gordon’s role during the Dominican Republic crisis in securing Brazil’s commitment to “internationalizing” the crisis, leading an OAS force to administer the country and organize new elections. LBJ calls Gordon while he is attending a seminar at Harvard and offers him the post of assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs. Gordon starts his new assignment within days on an acting basis and is confirmed in February 1966. His first major assignment is to help persuade the president to accept a genuine presidential election in the Dominican Republic and to see completion of the transition and return to a civilian government. Gordon picks up the idea of a summit of the Americas—a meeting of the presidents of the hemisphere, such as Kennedy originally wanted—to reaffirm and reinvigorate the Alliance for Progress. President Johnson is enthused by the idea and urges Gordon to bring it to fruition. Gordon spends the rest of 1966 in arduous negotiations with the OAS, Latin American leaders, and certain factions within the US government (although the US Treasury throws up numerous roadblocks to the plan). By the end of the year he has succeeded in completing most of the arrangements for the meeting of the presidents, which will take place in spring 1967.

Keywords: Lyndon Johnson; Alliance for Progress; American Foreign Policy; Cold War

Chapter.  10221 words. 

Subjects: Political History

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