Courtesy Reuters

Good Neighbors in the War, and After

ADOLF HITLER, a Latin American diplomat has suggested, deserves a statue in the patio of the Pan American Union in recognition of his services in promoting hemisphere solidarity. When his submarines attacked and sank our merchant ships and the merchant ships of many Latin American republics within gunshot of American shores, they drove home the need for common action against a common foe. And the action of his Japanese allies further emphasized that need. By seizing the Philippine Islands, British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, Japan forced us to look to the resources of this hemisphere for most of our supplies of strategic materials. Finally, by cutting off the Latin American countries from their overseas markets and sources of industrial products, Germany and Japan compelled them to turn to us for salvation from economic disaster. All the American states are now facing a common problem -- how to make the most effective use of their combined resources for mutual aid.

Fortunately, our relations with our neighbors in this hemisphere were better in December 1941 than they had been for many years; in this respect we were not caught unprepared. Beginning at Buenos Aires in 1936, a series of inter-American conferences had strengthened the ideological basis for mutual assistance and had prepared mechanisms for joint defensive action. At Havana in 1940 representatives of all the republics joined in declaring that an act of aggression against one American state by a non-American Power would be considered an act of aggression against all. Acting on this declaration, all nine of the Central American and Caribbean republics declared war on the Axis Powers within a week after Pearl Harbor. Mexico joined the belligerent group in June 1942, and Brazil in August. The remaining republics, except Argentina, have broken diplomatic relations with the enemies of the United States.

Full economic coöperation was pledged to the United States by the Latin American republics at the Rio Conference in January 1942, particularly in the direction of supplying us with the maximum

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