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George H. W. Bush


“I continue to support the appointment of top-flight Hispanics to this Administration”

George Herbert Walker Bush, 1924.  41st President of the United States, 1989–1993.  Typed Letter Signed, George Bush, one page, 8½” x 11”, on engraved stationery of The Vice President, Washington, [D.C.], February 19, 1982.

This is an excellent association letter in which Bush, then Ronald Reagan’s Vice President, emphasizes the importance of both Hispanics in the administration and of the United States’ relationship with the Spanish speaking countries.  He writes to Hector Barreto, the President of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  In part:  “Thank you for your recent wire.  Mike Cardenas was very helpful to me and my office, so on a personal plane I very much regret his departure from the SBA.  /  As you know, I continue to support the appointment of top-flight Hispanics to this Administration.  Perhaps you saw that on the very day Mike resigned from his post at SBA, he President announced he will name Tony Gallegos as a member of the Equal Employment Commission.  /  I'm glad that Philip Hughes of my staff contacted you about helping with the Caribbean Basin Initiative; Ambassador Bob Ryan will be in touch with you to follow through.  You are absolutely right that it makes sense to involve your organization and members in this extremely important priority of President Reagan.”

Bush has a long history of regard for Hispanics.  In 1973, as chairman of the Republican National Committee, Bush announced the formation of the RNC’s Spanish Speaking Advisory Committee as a way to expand and improve party participation by those with Hispanic surnames.  Just over a year later, still under his leadership, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly was formed.  Bush’s Mexican-born daughter-in-law Columba, the wife of Jeb Bush, appeared in a Spanish language campaign commercial during Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign.  As President, Bush appointed three Hispanic cabinet or cabinet-level officers:  Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan, Jr., Secretary of Education Lauro Cavazos, and Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Robert Martinez.  In 1990, Bush, by an executive order, established the first President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and its supporting White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

The Caribbean Basin Initiative, which Bush mentions in this letter, is an American program that provides tariff and trade benefits to several Central American and Caribbean countries.  It facilitates the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies by providing beneficiary countries with duty-free access to the United States market for most goods.

In this letter, Bush sidesteps the resignation of the head of the Small Business Administration, Michael Cardenas.  He refers to his regret over Cardenas’s resignation on a personal planebut says nothing about the reason for the resignation.  The press reported, however, that Cardenas said that White House aides to President Reagan forced him to resign because he would not approve a $32 million no-bid Army contract—a contract with which the Army was not comfortable—with New York-based Wedtech Corp.  According to the Associated Press, Cardenas told a federal grand jury that the Army “was never satisfied with that contract, but there was constant interest from the White House.”  The AP said that Cardenas identified Reagan’s top three aides Michael Deaver, Edwin Meese, and James A. Baker III as the people who, the White House personnel director told him, wanted him to “take another position.”

Bush has signed this letter with a full signature in blue.  The letter has two normal mailing folds, neither of which affects Bush’s 2¼” signature.  It shows some handling, and there are scattered small stains and minor paper loss in the lower right corner.  Small fold splits on the right edge have been archivally repaired.  Overall the letter is in very good to fine condition.




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