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Much of what is said about the Alliance for Progress assumes that up to now Americans have been indifferent to Latin America; that, in so far as they have not, the results have been bad-that the record in Latin America is one in which neither our Government nor private interests can take pride; and that the Alliance therefore represents an entirely new departure. One of the most learned men of the New Frontier, former Harvard law professor Abram Chayes, now the State Department Legal Adviser, has said, for example, that the condition of Latin America today "is in some measure a consequence of our own neglect. For most of the 180 years of our history, we looked inward, or eastward across the ocean to Europe, or, latterly, around the world. Only rarely have we looked south and then not always with a benevolent eye."[i] While these generalizations are not baseless, neither are they unquestionably true, and they play enough part in current thinking to be worth some review.
To say that Americans have been indifferent to Latin America is accurate only in a foreshortened or unduly lengthened time perspective. If one takes the whole of American history, from Jamestown forward, one could make such a case. From the seventeenth century until the early nineteenth, North Americans paid little attention to Latin America. Ship captains sailed there, leaving Bibles, Protestant tracts, and, later, copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. A few founding fathers, such as Alexander Hamilton, thought of some day building a rival empire; a few other Americans played host to visitors like Francisco de Miranda who talked of setting Spanish colonies free; and when revolutions for independence actually came, some hailed them and proposed giving aid. Henry Clay, for example, spoke of spiritual links and the great destiny the two Americas could share by building together. But the Monroe Administration was distinctly cool. Engaged in negotiations with Spain about Spanish Florida and western boundaries, it did not even recognize the new régimes until there was danger that the British might do so first.
While the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was in part a restatement of the centuries-old "doctrine of two spheres," proclaiming the political system of the Americas "essentially different" from that of Europe, its emphasis was not on hemispheric solidarity but on United States interests. And the Government, when invited in 1824 to send delegates to an inter-American conference, responded cautiously. Though two men were sent, neither ever arrived: one died; the other stopped in Mexico. To Latin American proposals for mutual defense alliances, the State Department returned abrupt refusals. The policy of non-entanglement was applied to the Western Hemisphere as well as Europe.
The Mexican War, filibustering expeditions such as William Walker's in Nicaragua, and the Southerners' Ostend Manifesto, saying the United States should buy Cuba, were indications that some Americans took a lively interest in some parts of Latin America. Nevertheless, it was not until the 1870s that businessmen began seriously investigating trade and investment opportunities, nor until the late 1880s that the Government got behind them, with Secretary of State James G. Blaine calling a Pan American conference to discuss, among other things, steps for improving commerce.
From that time on, however, public documents and the press contained more and more about Latin America, and, after the middle of the 1890s, no one could any longer speak with accuracy of American indifference to the region.
Restating and reinterpreting the Monroe Doctrine, President Cleveland in 1895 stepped into a boundary dispute between British Guiana and Venezuela, threatening war unless the British Government accepted arbitration. Within less than three years, the McKinley Administration intervened in a civil war in Cuba and fought Spain in order to make the island independent. The United States occupied Cuba until 1903, then withdrew, retaining a naval base at Guantanamo Bay and, by the Platt Amendment, a right to intervene "for the preservation of Cuban independence [and] the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty."
Theodore Roosevelt acquired the strip through Panama where $400,000,000 was spent in cutting an inter-oceanic canal. In 1904 he proclaimed it a corollary of the Monroe Doctrine that, by denying European states the right to act against American republics, the United States necessarily took upon itself the responsibility and duty of ensuring that those republics lived up to international obligations-of serving, in other words, as policeman for the Hemisphere. Although the decade 1895-1905 was also the period of the Boxer uprising and the Open Door notes, Latin America held and kept the center stage.
And this remained true. Headlines went to such events as Roosevelt's mediation between Russia and Japan, the Algeciras conference, and the round- the-world cruise of the Great White Fleet, but the Government and public gave more attention, cumulatively, to the Pan American conference of 1906, Secretary of State Elihu Root's hemispherical good-will tour, the State Department's efforts to promote a Central American federation, and a three- year reoccupation of Cuba, carried out under the Platt Amendment. During the Taft Administration, Nicaraguan, Honduran and Mexican affairs overshadowed all else, and during the Wilson Administration the problems of Haiti and Santo Domingo, where temporary protectorates were established, and Mexico, where tensions persisted for nearly four years, took second place only to the gravest crises rising out of World War I.
After the war and the rejection of the League by the Senate, Latin America regained its previous prominence. In the twenties nothing in American diplomacy took more time and effort than ending occupation régimes in the Caribbean and straightening out the Mexican tangle. In these years, when, as Coolidge said, the chief business of America was business, the relative importance of Latin America was reflected in the fact that it accounted for more direct dollar investment than any other area-$3.5 billion as compared with $1.35 billion in Western Europe.
The thirties saw even more intensified concentration on the Western Hemisphere. The Good Neighbor Policy came at a time when the Government was otherwise conspicuously inactive in world affairs. In this heyday of isolationism, everyone from the President down talked of isolating not just the United States but the whole Hemisphere. Roosevelt said at the beginning of his administration, "among the foreign relations of the United States as they fall into categories, the Pan American policy takes first place. . . .," and this remained true until after World War II began.
The position held by Latin America is perhaps best illustrated by the history of the Standing Liaison Committee. There being then no organization comparable to the National Security Council, diplomacy and military planning were coördinated only by the President. The Liaison Committee was set up in April 1938, so that high State, War and Navy representatives could exchange information and opinions. It held approximately a hundred sessions, mostly in 1939 and 1940, and, at all but half a dozen, questions concerning Latin America received top priority. The existence of German communities in Latin America, the operation of German-owned airlines, activities by German agents and the Nazi and Fascist sympathies of Latin political leaders appeared to worry men concerned with United States security more than anything happening in Europe or Asia, prior to the fall of France. Until some time after that event the principal war plans of the armed services remained Rainbow One and Rainbow Four, looking to defensive fighting in the Western Hemisphere; Rainbow Five, assuming the dispatch of forces to Europe if the United States were drawn into the war, was not accepted by the Chiefs of Staff until the late summer of 1940.
The Second World War, like the first, again pulled American attention to other parts of the globe. Although all but one of the Latin American states became allies, their efforts went almost unnoticed. Hardly anyone in the United States was aware, for example, that a Brazilian division fought in Italy or that Mexican air units helped in the recapture of the Philippines. In 1945 and 1946 Latin America made a momentary comeback, but its affairs were soon eclipsed by the growing tensions in Europe and the Far East, and from 1947 on they won relatively little attention. The only events drawing much notice were those that could be seen in the context of the extra- hemispheric struggle with the Sino-Soviet bloc-the Bogotazo of 1948, the Guatemalan coup of 1954, the stoning of such American dignitaries as Vice President Nixon, and the Communist take-over in Cuba.
Between 1947 and 1960 neither the Government nor the press paid as much regard to Latin America as in the past. Indeed, for a time just before 1960 a reader of the State Department Bulletin or The New York Times might well have felt it the last region of American concern, trailing not only Europe and East Asia but Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Africa. Other indices might have modified this impression. Between 1947 and 1960 U.S. trade with Latin America rose 20 percent and direct investment doubled. Even though not on the front line of the cold war, Latin America received military and technical assistance amounting to something like $100,000,000 a year; legislation for aid to other areas sometimes specified that products be bought in Latin America; and, as Francis Wilcox, former staff chief for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said, "the Latin American segment of our foreign aid programs was far more popular than any other part. . . . Often Senators and Congressmen actively interested in reducing the amount of aid going to Europe, Asia, and Africa would take the lead in supporting amendments designed to increase our assistance to the other Americas."[ii] Latin America was not forgotten.
Whether one judges Americans to have been indifferent depends on perspective. Looking at the last three quarters of a century, one has to say that the Government and people of the United States have shown more concern about Latin America than any other part of the world. Only of earlier times or of the last two decades or so can one speak accurately of neglect and then only of comparative neglect.
Actually, the question of past indifference is hard to separate from the question of how good or how bad has been the American record in Latin America. To recapitulate the signs of past interest is to call to mind what writings on the "Yankee peril" invariably cite-the Mexican and Spanish wars, the Platt Amendment, Panama, Santo Domingo, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala. It is also to be remembered that American companies have been charged with dominating Latin American countries and influencing the American Government to support dictators. Both Latin and North Americans are prone to say of the United States, as Gladstone said of Austria- Hungary, that one can point to no place on the map and declare, There the nation did good.
But blanket criticism takes too little account of the intentions of statesmen and the accomplishments of business. The intervention in Cuba in 1898 clearly sprang from humanitarianism. Perhaps the yellow press exaggerated the suffering caused by the prolonged struggle between Spain and the rebels; perhaps people needed some such excitement because of their own inner anxieties; nevertheless, their impulse was to aid the afflicted. The President and his principal advisers did not think that intervention was in the national interest; the large majority of businessmen believed war with Spain would hurt the economy. It was a rampant public opinion that forced intervention.
With intervention came responsibility for seeing to it that Cuba was left with orderly government, with transportation lines, industries and schools restored, with disease controlled and the risks of famine reduced. The passage of the Platt Amendment was not, of course, a pure act of altruism. The Navy wanted a harbor; American property-owners and investors wanted some security; the Government wanted to be sure that Cuba would never become a base for a foreign power. But there were altruistic elements in it. Under General Leonard Wood, the three-year occupation accomplished wonders. Elihu Root, who was the amendment's principal author, felt that Americans owed it to Cubans as well as to themselves to see that what had been accomplished in the island was not wasted. "It would have been a poor boon to Cuba," he wrote, "to drive the Spaniards out and leave her to care for herself, with two-thirds of her people unable to read and write, and wholly ignorant of the art of self-government. . . . Instead of that, we are trying to give the Cuban people just as fair and favorable a start in governing themselves as possible. . . ."[iii]
Roosevelt's taking of Panama had behind it concern for American security and trade, and his method indicated little respect for Latin American sensibilities. Colombia, which then held sovereignty over the isthmus, refused to ratify a treaty ceding a canal zone to the United States. When Panamanian separatists revolted, Roosevelt interposed U.S. forces to prevent Colombia from acting, recognized Panama's independence after a delay of only 76 minutes, and obtained from it the canal rights that he wanted. While his moves had some color of legality, they were morally indefensible, and a subsequent administration, even though of Roosevelt's own party, admitted as much by paying $25,000,000 in conscience-money to Colombia.
Yet even the taking of Panama had more than one motive, and not all were selfish. Roosevelt's anger against the Colombian Government was partly due to a feeling that it was angling for more money and, in doing so, holding up a work important to itself and to the world as well as to the United States. In a private and presumably candid letter to his friend, Cecil Spring-Rice, Roosevelt expressed incomprehension of Colombia's shortsightedness. The treaty they rejected would, he said, "have given them a stability and power such as no other Spanish-American republic possessed between Mexico and Chile," and his own estimate of his actions was that they had been "both wise and right."[iv]
While Roosevelt's corollary to the Monroe Doctrine grew from concern over United States security, behind it also was the idea that the nation had certain obligations to Latin America. The occasion was the signing of a convention by which the United States was to administer the finances of the Dominican Republic. Roosevelt explained to Congress: "Santo Domingo grievously needs the aid of a powerful and friendly nation. This aid we are able . . . to bestow. She has asked for this aid, and the expressions of friendship repeatedly sanctioned by the people and government of the United States warrant her in believing that it will not be withheld. . . ." Elsewhere he spoke of an "international duty" being "necessarily involved in the assertion of the Monroe Doctrine."
When in 1906 he invoked the Platt Amendment and sent in troops to re-occupy Cuba, he did so reluctantly, and when he arranged for their withdrawal he wrote Root: "We must try to make [the Cubans] understand that our purpose is not to interfere with the design of limiting their independence, but to interfere so as to enable them to retain their independence . . . to help them so manage their affairs that there won't be the slightest need of further interference on our part."[v] While he never lost sight of strategic interests and did not, for example, invoke his corollary outside the Caribbean region, he clearly felt that what he did benefited Latin America and answered to some moral obligation that lay upon his country.
In his successors this concept of moral obligation acquired even more importance. While the "dollar diplomacy" of the Taft Administration was long interpreted as diplomacy backing up American investors, historians now generally agree that it was not that at all. On the contrary, Taft and his Secretary of State sought to induce investors to put money abroad in places where, in their opinion, such investment would serve the broader interests of the nation. They urged New York bankers to go into Nicaragua and Honduras in order to prevent British lenders from doing so. In Nicaragua they eventually used warships and Marines, not to protect American investments, but to ensure a degree of political stability that would encourage them. In the long run, of course, they expected to build up markets for American goods, and the source of their concern about Nicaragua and Honduras was the Panama Canal. Nevertheless, one cannot read their public statements without being impressed by the stress they put on other objectives. "If the American dollar can aid suffering humanity and lift the burden of financial difficulty from states with which we live on terms of intimate intercourse and earnest friendship. . .," wrote Secretary of State Philander Knox, "all I can say is that it would be hard to find better employment." The Monroe Doctrine, Knox said, obliged the United States to "respond to the needs still felt by some few of our Latin American neighbors in their progress toward good government, by assisting them to meet their just obligations and to keep out of trouble."[vi] He and Taft plainly thought "dollar diplomacy" a means of contributing to the political and economic uplift of nations to which the United States had peculiar obligations.
In Woodrow Wilson's diplomacy the moral component was still greater. He withheld recognition from Victoriano Huerta's government in Mexico. On a trifling pretext-the refusal of a Mexican colonel to render a 21-gun salute to the American flag-he seized the port of Vera Cruz. From 1913 until well into 1917 his intervention in Mexican politics was assiduous and continuous. Yet there is no doubt whatever that his primary object was, according to his lights, to help Mexico. Huerta had come to power by violence, aided, probably, by foreign interests, and Wilson wished to unseat him. To a friend with whom he had no reason to be anything but frank, he said in 1916 that "his Mexican policy was based . . . upon his belief in the principle laid down in the Virginia Bill of Rights, that a people has the right 'to do as they damn please about their own affairs'. . . . He wanted to give the Mexicans a chance to try." Walter Hines Page, his Ambassador in London, put the policy even more simply when talking with Sir Edward Grey:
"Suppose you have to intervene, what then?" Grey asked.
"Make 'em vote and live by their decisions."
"But suppose they will not so live?"
"We'll go in again and make 'em vote again."
"And keep this up 200 years?"
"Yes. . . . The United States will be here 200 years and it can continue to shoot men for that little space till they learn to vote and to rule themselves."[vii]
Wilson's motives for taking over Haiti and Santo Domingo were less clear. In both cases some influence was exerted by financiers who stood to lose substantially from the near anarchy that had developed. In both cases, however, conditions did so nearly approximate anarchy that, as Wilson said to Congress about Santo Domingo, intervention seemed "the least of the evils in sight." His declared objective was "the establishment of a government that will provide peace, individual guarantees, and opportunity for development, without which no true prosperity can come."
The 1920s saw a gradual shift away from the Roosevelt corollary. The reasons were realistic ones. Interventions were expensive and onerous; they did not make the United States popular in Latin America and, indeed, might be harming trade; and they aroused criticism at home. But once a new policy had been formed it was defended to Congress by President Hoover as a "true expression of the moral rectitude of the United States."
President Franklin Roosevelt characterized his Good Neighbor Policy as "based on an honest and sincere desire, first, to remove from [Latin American] minds all fear of American aggression-territorial or financial- and, second, to take them into a kind of hemispheric partnership in which no Republic would obtain undue advantage."[viii] These same ideals were not only reaffirmed by Truman and, under the label, "Good Partner Policy," by Eisenhower, but were even invoked to explain deviation from strict non- interventionism (reminding one of Talleyrand's remark that non-intervention is intervention under another name). The Blue Book of 1946 was justified as disclosing to the other American republics the conditions which had caused the United States "embarrassment and concern so that it would be clear that the United States was acting in defense and not in derogation of the principles of the inter-American system." Secretary Dulles represented the Arbenz régime of Guatemala as "a danger to all the American states . . . not just a question between Guatemala and the United States." Similarly, with regard to Cuba, both the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations took the position that they were not intervening but upholding the principle of non-intervention.
A good deal of what American statesmen have said, even in private, may have been cant. Policy decisions are seldom prompted by purely altruistic considerations, and, in any given case, historians can always locate evidence that concern for security or economic advantage played a part. Even Wilson's non-recognition of Huerta was so influenced, for Huerta was linked with one group of oil men, mainly English, and opposed by another group, mainly American. While the closest students of Wilson's diplomacy feel that this business rivalry had only minor influence on him, he was at least aware of it.
What is important, however, is not the number of considerations that entered into American policy but the fact that, for at least the last 70 years, one among them has been concern for the welfare of Latin Americans. Since the Mexican War, the United States has not deliberately, for its own benefit, done harm to any American nation. Despite a widespread belief to the contrary, it has not in the last century treated any part of the Hemisphere as an area simply for exploitation. In Cuba, Haiti, Santo Domingo and Nicaragua, American occupation authorities were under orders not to allow long-term concessions to Americans. Financial conventions and petroleum agreements contained safeguards for the Latin American signatories, inserted, more often than not, at the insistence of the American negotiators. There have, of course, been diplomats concerned about nothing but the profits of American companies, and there have been times when the State Department paid little or no heed to the interests of Latin Americans. On the whole, however, the American Government has been mindful of these interests and has acted in what it thought to be a spirit of benevolence and even, on occasion, of self-sacrifice.
The reason why this is so easily forgotten is, in the first place, that the underlying attitudes are now out of date and, in the second place, that this benevolence was largely ineffectual, at least over the long term. American statesmen, from Blaine to Hoover and perhaps beyond, looked upon Latin Americans with contempt or at least condescension. Conceiving themselves bearers of "the white man's burden," they assumed that they were able to decide what was best. Such an assumption provoked resentment even in the Philippines where outright colonial rule brought significant economic, social and political progress. In the Western Hemisphere it provoked even more outrage, for there the results of American efforts to promote prosperity and democracy were the Cuba of Machado, Batista and Castro; the Dominican Republic of Trujillo; the Nicaragua of the Somozas; and Haiti. With some justice, it can be said of the United States Government that there is no place on the map of the Hemisphere where one can point and say, There it did good. On the other hand, one can point to a number of places and say, There it meant to do good, but failed.
This applies, of course, only to the Government. American business activity in Latin America has not characteristically been benevolent in motive. The great oil, mining, fruit and shipping companies have been out to make money, and, just as in the United States before the advent of government regulation, they have crushed competition, corrupted politicians and committed such crimes as legal persons can. Paying more attention in recent years to public relations, they have begun to advertise the fact that many pay wages above the average, have worker welfare programs better than those even in most state-owned enterprises and offer education and training to recruit local nationals into both technical and managerial posts. United Fruit is disposing of its plantations, making generous loans so that its workmen can buy land and contracting to buy their produce. Creole Petroleum pioneered in arranging to split its profits with the Venezuelan Government. Originally to be a 50-50 division, it has since become more nearly 30-70, with Venezuela getting the larger share. But such measures have been calculated either to up production or forestall nationalization and have been justified to stockholders in those terms.
When we look at what corporations have done, we see nevertheless that they have put up docks and warehouses, railroads, airfields, telephone and telegraph lines, power stations, oil wells, mines, mills, factories, automobile and machine-tool dealerships and even Sears Roebuck department stores. They have cleared jungles, put in roads, broken up pastoral societies, and generated envy of and desire for the products of industry. In some instances, just by being rich and powerful and foreign, they have aroused the sense of "they" and "we" fundamental to national self- consciousness and lacking in so much of the artificial nationalism of Latin America. Whatever the undesirable by-products, it is probably fair to say that without these companies Latin America would not be what it is today and, economically if not politically, might be much more nearly in the condition of Africa-undeveloped rather than underdeveloped. In appraising the American record in Latin America, one ought to judge by either intentions or results. If by the one, the Government comes off well; if by the other, business does.
The general impression that the whole record is bad may grow from belief that good works depend on good intentions and vice versa. It may also rise, however, from the fact that we lack any frame of reference for judgment. The greater approval commanded by our performance in the Philippines is due not only to statistical evidence but to the fact that it shines by comparison with the performances of other colonial powers. The relation of the United States to Latin America, on the other hand, has not been that of ruler to ruled. Not only have all the republics of the Hemisphere remained technically sovereign, but, except for brief periods of military occupation, all have retained full control of the administration of justice, taxation, education, defense-in short, of all functions that, in colonies, are seldom entrusted to natives. Yet some of these republics have been in actuality a good deal less independent than a nation in the French Community or, certainly, a Dominion in the British Commonwealth, for in the Caribbean area the United States long stood ready to use Marines; there and elsewhere its economic position has been substantially that of a colonial mother country; and even now, as Guatemala and Cuba have shown, it claims certain tutelary rights. The only comparable system is the Soviet bloc, but, even there, points of similarity are fewer than points of contrast, and in any case little satisfaction can be derived from a conclusion that our record in Latin America is better than the Soviet Union's in Eastern Europe. Lacking comparative examples, we judge interrelationships among American states against some set of ideals, to which, of course, they will not measure up.
While we are able to answer such reproaches as we hear from Filipinos, we have no intellectual defense against Latin American criticism and therefore accept most of it as justifiable. In actuality, a great deal of this criticism has its roots in emotions rather than in the realities of inter- American relations. Much of it was uttered well before most of the episodes usually cited to explain Yankeephobia. A great outburst came around the turn of the century, before Panama and the Roosevelt corollary, and the leaders in the attack were mostly from countries then outside the U.S. orbit. José Enrique Rodó, whose Ariel is the most often quoted of such works, was an Uruguayan; Manuel Ugarte, whose writings are almost equally well known, was an Argentinian. By the end of Theodore Roosevelt's Administration, indictments were issuing from Mexicans such as José Vasconcelos and Carlos Pereyra, and from the Nicaraguan, Rubén Darío, and the Venezuelan, Rufino Blanco Fombona. An equal number, however, were coming from writers in lands still beyond the American touch. One thinks of the younger Argentinian, José Ingenieros, and the Peruvians, Francisco García Calderón and José Carlos Mariátegui. Actions by American officials and businessmen undoubtedly helped to keep anti-American feeling alive and give it vigor, but they did not necessarily cause it.
Although some severe criticism of the United States came as a result of the Mexican War, it did not last long. Indeed, in 1848, the year when the war ended and the United States annexed the territories that became New Mexico, Arizona and California, the foreign minister of Colombia (then New Granada) proposed to the other Latin American republics a concerted effort "to establish and maintain very meaningful relations with . . . Washington," the object being to benefit from "the inestimable treasures of experience and completely democratic civilization which the Anglo-American Union has within it."[ix] The conception of the United States as Caliban, menacing the political, moral and intellectual integrity of Latin America, came later, at about the time when the United States began to be recognized in Europe as a great power, and what was said by Rodó and others bore striking resemblance to what had been said earlier about Britain, when she had been the mistress of the trade lanes and the symbol among nations of strength, wealth and arrogance.
Thereafter, criticism abated only during the 1930s. While this may have been due to the Good Neighbor Policy, it may equally have been due to the Great Depression and the fact that the United States seemed temporarily an object for pity. Events have undeniably promoted ill feeling. Nevertheless, it is probably true, at least to some extent, that Latin American criticism of the United States is independent of what happens or has happened and arises simply from discrepancies in wealth and power and from cultural conflicts that are inevitable between peoples who speak different languages and have different historical traditions. While it cannot be ignored or wholly discounted, neither ought it to be taken at face value. The fact is that, since there are really no standards for objective judgment, the American record in Latin America cannot be pronounced good or bad. As much can be said on the one side as on the other. There is simply no hard basis for the common assumption that it has been shameful.
This brings us to the question of whether the Alliance for Progress is something new and different. Looked at only in the context of the years after World War II, it certainly seems so. Both the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations were cool toward suggestions of a Marshall Plan for the Hemisphere and insisted that nearly all of Latin America's needs could be met by private capital or loans from existing agencies. Not until 1959 did the United States agree to the establishment of the Inter-American Development Bank. Not until 1960 did President Eisenhower propose a $500,000,000 appropriation for a special social development fund. From these meager beginnings it seems a long step to President Kennedy's call for "a vast coöperative effort, unparalleled in magnitude and nobility of purpose, to satisfy . . . basic needs . . . for homes, work and land, health and schools," the ten-year program outlined in the Charter of Punta del Este, and Secretary Dillon's pledge of a U.S. contribution on the order of $1 billion a year. This seems a reversal, a new start, a change, as Ambassador John Dreier has written, "of tidal character."
But if one sets the Alliance in the context not just of the last decade and a half but of the 140 years of inter-American relations, it seems less startlingly new. From Blaine's time on, American statesmen were interested in Latin America's economic progress. When attending the Rio Conference in 1906, Secretary Root declared: "We wish to increase our prosperity, to extend our trade, to grow in wealth, in wisdom, and in spirit, [and] . . . our conception of the true way to accomplish this is . . . to help all friends to a common prosperity and a common growth, that we may all become greater and stronger together." Speaking at a Pan American financial conference in 1915, Wilson said that to promote one another's prosperity, the two halves of the Hemisphere needed more ships in which to exchange their goods, more vehicles and better routes of trade, and, he added, "I am perfectly clear in my judgment that if private capital cannot soon enter upon the adventure of establishing these physical means of communication, the government must undertake to do so." In 1931, after speaking similarly of economic interdependence, President Hoover remarked almost apologetically that Americans "hold to the theory that commercial enterprise, except as a rare emergency action, is essentially a private undertaking, and that the sole function of government is to bring about a condition of affairs favorable to the beneficial development of private enterprise. It is the failure to comprehend this conception. . . ," he went on, "that sometimes leads the thoughtless to assume the existence of an international indifference which does not in fact exist."[x] When talking of future developments under the Good Neighbor Policy, President Roosevelt came even closer to saying what the Kennedy Administration has said about economic aspects of the Alliance for Progress.
What is different about the Alliance in these respects is simply its magnitude and the assumption, founded on recent experience, that the United States Government can make funds available for a variety of purposes-not just for the improvement of ports, highways and air facilities or for hemispheric defense.
The emphasis in the Alliance, of course, is less on economic than on social progress. But even here there are at least echoes from earlier decades, for one professed aim of Theodore Roosevelt, Taft and the Presidents of the 1920s was that Latin America should become more democratic, and even Coolidge acknowledged that this involved raising the "economic power of the masses of the people." Henry L. Stimson, after supervising the Coolidge Administration's intervention in Nicaragua, came back and wrote a book about his experiences. In it he summarized Nicaragua's problems:
Her industries and manufacturies are undeveloped; her artisan population is scanty; there is almost no middle class between the cultivated leaders of politics and the ignorant peons or peasants; though she is preëminently an agricultural country, even her agricultural methods are primitive and obsolete. . . .
. . . Nicaragua to-day lacks one of the principal foundations for a democratic government in that she has no well-developed middle class of artisans and workers from whose influence and out of whose problems come the usual activities of democracy.
Such a middle class cannot come into existence until the industries of the country are developed. These industries cannot be developed without capital, and capital can be obtained only by foreign loans coupled with a reform of their fiscal system, including particularly their system of taxation.[xi]
While Stimson did not mention land reform or speak of taxation as a means of redistributing income, he clearly had in mind social change such as that called for in the Alliance for Progress, and his contention was that the United States should help to bring it about.
There is a continuity in American policy. In one form or another, one can trace back at least 80 years the idea that the United States owes it to itself and to Latin America, as the Punta del Este Charter puts it, to "accelerate economic and social development, thus rapidly bringing about a substantial and steady increase in the average income in order to narrow the gap between the standard of living in Latin American countries and that enjoyed in the industrialized countries." One can also trace back at least to the first Roosevelt what Secretary Rusk described in his Johns Hopkins lecture of 1962 as the second part of the Kennedy Administration's "grand design" for the Hemisphere-"the building of free, politically stable, and independent nations."[xii]
Even the dilemmas go back into the distant past. When trying to promote prosperity and political stability in the Hemisphere, the United States Government did arouse Latin American fears. Yet when the United States renounced intervention in the Good Neighbor Policy, it also renounced the use of influence for goals it thought desirable. The new policy precluded pressure on such régimes as those of Batista, Trujillo, Sonioza, Pérez Jiménez, Rojas Pinilla and Odría, and by the end of the 1950s Latin Americans were condemning the United States for its failure to combat feudalism and dictatorship.
In the Alliance for Progress, the American Government faces the choice on the one hand of stirring nationalist resentment and, on the other, of tolerating or ignoring conditions which it is the object of the Alliance to change. By making the utmost use of the O.A.S., the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America, and the council of "wise men" created by the Punta del Este Charter, the Administration seeks to evade this choice. But political parties in Latin countries have already begun to make issues either of the fact that conditions attach to U.S. aid or the fact that aid has been given without fulfillment of the reforms listed in the Charter.
The aims of the United States in the Alliance for Progress are traditional, and so are the dilemmas. Yet the Alliance is not just an upswing in a recurring cycle. Even if one looks at it with a long perspective, there are respects in which it may actually mark "a change of tidal character." The change, if it comes, will not, however, be America's but Latin America's.
In the Charter of Punta del Este, what is striking is not that the United States promises coöperation. This promise has been made before. Nor is it, to a historian, the pledge of Latin American states to pursue economic and social reforms. Land reform, tax reform, expanded education, improved public health facilities, better utilization of resources, integration of Indian populations and all the rest have been the professed goals of many presidential candidates in Latin America. Though many of these have taken office, not much has been accomplished, and whether the Charter, abetted by the carrot-and-stick of U.S. aid, will change this or not remains to be seen.
What impresses a historian most about the Charter is that Latin American governments there speak of coöperating with one another. In the past, while each Latin American state has had its link with the United States, few have had links with one another. They have not even had many rivalries; despite the violence of their internal changes, they have seldom fought one another. Although both politicians and intellectuals make use of Bolivarean language about the spiritual unity of the Americas, they have not in the past talked of governments working together for positive ends. Raul Prebisch and his disciples in ECLA were almost the first to make such a suggestion. The Caracas meeting of 1954 was the first inter-American conference at which it was broached. By 1958, accords had been signed for a Central American free trade area, and President Kubitschek of Brazil proposed "Operation Pan America," the forerunner of the Alliance for Progress. The Charter is, however, the first expression of the ideal of coöperation subscribed to by all Latin American governments.
Whether all these governments will actually work together is, of course, problematical. It is more realistic, however, to expect this than to expect far-reaching internal reforms, for the immediate advantages to the people who wield power in Latin America lie in increased trade rather than land redistribution or higher income taxes. In the Charter itself, Title III and Title IV, "Economic Integration of Latin America" and "Basic Export Commodities," have less pie-in-the-sky eloquence in them than any other sections except Chaper IV of Title II, which, in precise words and not in the subjunctive mood, sets forth what the United States is to contribute. In presenting the Charter to President Kennedy, Secretary Rusk spoke of "the overriding importance of economic integration," and he and Secretary Dillon and some of the wise men have on other occasions emphasized this priority.
Even for this goal, the role of U.S. assistance is not, of course, a negligible one. The difficulties of economic coöperation, even among highly developed states, are evident in the recent history of Europe. In Latin America they are magnified many times by backwardness, lopsided development, rapid population growth and other factors. Outside sums much larger than those thus far discussed may well prove necessary to permit even modest steps forward. And if the United States turns out this time to be thoroughly in earnest in its benevolent aims, major sacrifices may be called for, particularly in the subsidization of imports and the opening of the domestic market to competing Latin American products. To achieve economic integration in Latin America, let alone the peaceful social revolution of which the rest of the Charter speaks, will be an immense undertaking.
And, though economic integration may seem a less glamorous goal than social revolution, it is in itself almost a grandiose concept. If the Charter of Punta del Este proves to be more than splendid rhetoric, it augurs a time when all Latin American nations will have given up to one another some of that sovereignty they have so far jealously treasured, when they will play coöperative and competitive roles in a common market, when there will be inter-American institutions insuring and protecting the flow of capital and credit, when, in short, their economies will be joined to one another at least as closely as will be those of nations in the new Europe and perhaps as closely as are the states of the North American Union. Ortega y Gasset commented in "Invertebrate Spain" that the Hispanic nations have shared a past but not a future. The Alliance offers Spanish and Portuguese America, and perhaps also English-speaking America, a dazzling future.
[i] Department of State Bulletin, July 30, 1962, p. 192.
[ii] Foreword to John C. Dreier (ed.), "The Alliance for Progress: Problems and Perspectives." Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1962, p. v.
[iii] Philip C. Jessup, "Elihu Root." New York: Dodd, 1938, v. 1, p. 288.
[iv] Elting E. Morison et al. (eds.), "The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt." Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951-54, v. 3, p. 651.
[v] Ibid., v. 6, p. 1138.
[vi] Henry F. Pringle, "The Life and Times of William Howard Taft." New York: Farrar, 1939, v. 2, p. 678-79.
[vii] Ray Stannard Baker, "Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters." New York: Doubleday, 1927-1939, v. 6, p. 74; Burton J. Hendrick, "The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page." New York: Doubleday, 1922-26, v. 1, p. 188.
[viii] Bryce Wood, "The Making of the Good Neighbor Policy." New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, p. 130-31.
[ix] Robert N. Burr and Roland D. Hussey (eds.), "Documents on Inter- American Cooperation." Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1955, v. 1, p. 99.
[x] William S. Myers (ed.), "The State Papers and Other Public Writings of Herbert Hoover." New York: Doubleday, 1934, v. 2. p. 8-9.
[xi] Henry L. Stimson, "American Policy in Nicaragua." New York: Scribner, 1927, p. 121-3.
[xii] Department of State Bulletin, May 14, 1962, p. 788.