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The interest shown in the position of Brazil in international affairs is in itself proof of the presence of a new force on the world stage. Obviously my country did not appear by magic, nor is it giving itself momentarily to a more or less felicitous exhibition of publicity seeking. When I refer to a "new force," I am not alluding to a military one, but to the fact that a nation, heretofore almost unknown, is prepared to bring to bear on the play of world pressures the economic and human potential it represents, and the knowledge reaped from experience that we have a right to believe is of positive value.
We are a nation of continental proportions, occupying almost half of South America, relatively close to Africa and, ethnically, having indigenous, European and African roots. Within the next decade, our population will amount to close to 100,000,000 inhabitants, and the rapid industrialization of some regions of the country heralds our development into an economic power.
At present we are still beset by the evils of underdevelopment which make of the greater part of our country the scene for quasi-Asiatic dramas. We have poverty-stricken areas which are over-populated, and we have vast regions-the largest in the world-still unconquered. And yet, great cities are becoming industrial and trade centers of major significance.
If Brazil is only now being heard of in international affairs, it is because on taking office I decided to reap the consequences of the position that we had achieved as a nation. We had been relegated unjustifiably to an obscure position, while-even in our own hemisphere-there were accumulating errors and problems in our way that jeopardized our very future. We gave up the subsidiary and innocuous diplomacy of a nation aligned with worthy though alien interests and, to protect our rights, placed ourselves in the forefront, convinced as we were of our ability to contribute with our own means to the understanding of peoples.
Before I undertake an objective analysis of Brazil's foreign policy, the reader will, I hope, bear with me in a somewhat subjective statement of views. It will serve to clarify the underlying reasons why we have taken particular positions on world issues.