On 8 June 1970, in the wake of an earthquake that devastated the South American nation of Peru on May 31st, President Nixon issued a statement expressing the concern and compassion of the American people for the victims this natural disaster. Describing the aid measures that had already been enacted by the United States government, President Nixon also acknowledged the need in Peru for more substantial and enduring support during the process of reconstruction and recovery:
The people of the United States stand ready with the peoples of all the American nations to respond to the requests of our sister Republic of Peru in this time of its great need. We are prepared not only to help with what Peru may need today, but also to aid in the long and arduous task of rebuilding an entire region of that nation.
He then detailed the relief measures to be offered by the United States and discussed the additional support that the federal government would be offering the Peruvian government and the survivors of the earthquake. These measures would not only address the task of the physical reconstruction of Peruvian society, but would also provide support for the Peruvian government and furnish it with the resources necessary for recovery from a disaster of such magnitude.
1. I am directing the establishment of a Special Steering Group, under the direction of Secretary Finch to plan and coordinate all United States Government participation in Peruvian relief efforts and to assure close liaison with the Peruvian Government. The Special Steering Group will include representatives of the State Department, HEW, AID, the Department of Defense, and the Peace Corps.
2. I have asked the Director of the Peace Corps, Joseph Blatchford, working under the guidance of Secretary Finch and the Special Steering Group, to coordinate and organize a program which would provide an opportunity for American citizens, particularly young Americans, to participate in relief and long-term reconstruction efforts to the extent their services can be effectively utilized by the Peruvian Government.
3. I have asked Secretary of State Rogers and AID Administrator Hannah to consider additional ways in which we might cooperate with Peru in meeting the longer-term problems of rehabilitation and reconstruction.
President Nixon also recognized the relief efforts of private United States citizens and organizations, as well as the efforts of other American nations, and to close his statement he expressed his wish that the combined support of all the American nations would assist Peru in its recovery from the devastation caused by the earthquake and lead the nation out of crisis.