The United States in 1967 promised "a substantial contribution to a fund that will help ease the transition into an integrated regional economy."35. The purpose of that adjustment or "buffer" fund was "to contribute to the solution of problems in connection with the balance of payments, industrial readjustments, and retraining of the labor force."36. The U.S. commitment to provide balance-of-payments support could easily be translated into support for a Latin American payments arrangement. The benefits resulting from a relatively small commitment--the U.S. contribution to the European Payments Union did not exceed $350 million --could be very high.
The payments schemes that have been initiated in the region can be used to test the strength of the Latin American integration movement. The United States could offer to match contributions substantially in excess of the $50 million already committed by the area's central banks ($30 million in LAFTA plus $20 million in CACM) as an inducement to Latin American countries to raise their own contributions.
Multinational projects eligible for aid would include roads, communications networks, and other infrastructure works and industrial undertakings involving two or more countries. Assistance could be given by the United States directly to a multinational scheme; it might be more desirable, however, to pass funds through such regional agencies as the Inter- American Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration that are better suited to handling multinational undertakings.
Assistance to regional institutions responsible for coordinating integration programs may be even more important than project aid. It would consist of contributions to special regional funds for balance-of-payments assistance for countries that suffer transitory foreign-exchange difficulties due to their lowering of trade barriers, industrial reorganization loans for industries gravely affected by international competition that need help to____________________