Inequality defines the world order. "Collective disparities of wealth and power," argued Robert W. Tucker, "determine the structure of the international system."* Throughout the twentieth century, and especially since World War II, the gap between rich and powerful states and poor, weak areas has widened. A debate has evolved between industrially advanced nations and those of the underdeveloped world. Third World nations have accused the United States and other advanced capitalist states of nurturing an international system which serves the interests of the rich at the expense of the poor. The United States contends that the existing capitalist world- economy is the best of all possible worlds.
The basic issues comprising this conflict between the developed countries of the Northern Hemisphere and the relatively impoverished nations of the Southern Hemisphere took distinctive form during the 1940s. The decade began with a destructive world conflict and ended with a potentially fatal Cold War. It encompassed the end of a global depression, the reconstruction of war-devastated industrial societies, and the discontent and hope of poor, agrarian nations. During the 1940s the United States emerged as the supreme productive, commercial, and financial power in the world. American policymakers recognized and seized the opportunity to create an American order. They actively sought global political leadership for the United States. An important ingredient of Pax Americana was the stabilization, integration, and development of the Third World. The issue of economic development became an essential element of American postwar policy toward the nations of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
This study examines the development component of United States-Third World relations during the 1940s. By outlining both the internal and external American discussions concerning development and the international debates over the issue, the study identifies and analyzes those policies that have come to dominate the American approach toward Third World economic development during the last half of the twentieth century.____________________