This is a reproduction of an April
19, 1996 letter from
the Vietnam Verterans of America to the Chief Executive Officer of Proctor & Gamble.
21 November 1995
Edwin L. Artzt, Chief Executive Officer
PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY
Procter & Gamble Plaza
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Tel: (513) 983-1100
Dear Mr. Artzt:
Please consider participating in a boycott against Brazilian coffee, or if business considerations prevent this, then please consider donating funds to my cause.
I am cognizant of the issues here that bear on PROCTER & GAMBLE. Brazil is the largest importer of coffee, providing the US with something in excess of 400 million pounds yearly. PROCTOR & GAMBLE is the nation's largest roaster with such brands as Folger. And so on, with a lot of factors that cannot be ignored. As I present my case, please keep in mind that I am aware of your concerns, and take them as seriously as you do.
My cause is concern about the out-of-control use of torture in Brazil, largely by the Government there, and bringing pressure on that Government to stop this practice. As time passes, I believe that the extensive use of official torture in Brazil will lead to a dictatorship worse than the one there now, and institutionalized genocide. I believe this may become a public issue in this country and generate public concern, which speaks to PROCTER & GAMBLE's public image, since you would not want to appear to be supporting a nation perceived as a prime violator of human rights. It's not like I'm stroking you here, since PROCTER & GAMBLE recently withdrew all its advertising from several nationally syndicated television talk shows out of concern for how the content of those shows might impact on the reputation of the supporting advertizer -- you. It would be a stupid firm that ignored public perception, since the public buys the product. I think it would be fair to say that a significant share of PROCTER & GAMBLE production is sold at retail.
I realize that your flagship coffee product, Folgers, may be exceptionally important to your bottom line, and if that is the case, I realize that pragmatic business considerations would prevent your boycott of Brazilian coffee if coffee from Brazil cannot be replaced with coffee from other countries without doing injury to the well-known taste of Folgers.
I would like to point out that as human rights in Brazil become worse, the American Government may attempt economic remedies, and your company then would be in a good position if you previously have shown concern, and made a stand in support of the cause of human rights in Brazil. In the case of public and institutional emotions turning against Brazil, as might well happen, again, your timely action now will put you in a favorable light later. This is the argument I planned to present to a number of the more important PROCTER & GAMBLE stockholders, when I realized that it was fundamentlly unfair to appeal to stockholders before making my case directly to you, Mr. Artzt. Your concern with how support of talk shows taints PROCTOR & GAMBLE was the clincher -- my thinking now is that you are the only person I need deal with at PROCTER & GAMBLE, and I do have some confidence that you will make some kind of response, or have your staff respond to my concerns.
Give this some thought, and get back to me on it when you have a moment to do so. With much appreciation, I am...
John Gregory Lambros
Certified mail # 209 886 034
PS: The United States Bureau of Prisons has a commissary in each of its many prisons and prison camps, through which it retails quite a bit of product, including coffee. Most of these commissaries sell Taster's Choice. However, these commissaries solicit information,from prisoners as to which products they want to buy, and then provide the desired products, rather than carry products that do not sell, and sit on the shelves. Your support of the cause of human rights in Brazil definitely will elicit prisoner support of your products, certainly including Folgers, which likely will become the main coffee sold throughout the Bureau of Prisons system.
For more information write (snail mail) JOHN GREGORY LAMBROS directly at:
JOHN GREGORY LAMBROS
Prisoner No. 00436-124
U. S. Penitentiary Leavenworth
PO Box 1000
Leavenworth, KS 66048-1000
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE IN MY BOYCOTT OF BRAZILIAN PRODUCTS.