The United States and Inter-American Security, 1889-1960

By J. Lloyd Mecham | Go to book overview

XII Weakening Solidarity: The Economic Factor (1949-1960)

To allow the Hemisphere to become even poorer is to weaken the Western Cause. . . . Let nobody be deceived; it is impossible for people to join in the same effort, to fight the same battle, while their living standards are so unequal.

PRESIDENT JUSCELINO KUBITSCHEK, 1958

A T MID-CENTURY the United States found itself, as we have seen, in the unenvied but not too unfamiliar position of being the object of Latin America's criticism and resentment. Dissatisfaction with an apparent trend of United States policies had been accumulating for several years, but when the advent of peace after World War II raised questions of social and economic adjustment, the conviction began to crystallize among the Latin neighbors that the rule of "all for one, one for all" should include economic cooperation as well as the political and military. Definitely from that time forward the problems of the economic aspects of inter-American cooperation and solidarity challenged the political for primacy in Pan American deliberations. Since inter-American economic cooperation means generally assistance by the United States, our discussion of the economic factor in continental solidarity and security must perforce be concerned largely with the role played by the United States.

Emergence of the economic factor . The refusal of the United States at Mexico City in 1945, at Rio de Janeiro in 1947, and at Bogotá in 1948, to commit itself to large-scale economic assistance, or indeed to offer any substantial tariff relief on vital Latin-American products, caused inter-American relations to operate under the cold clouds of disappointment and disillusionment. The self-conscious nationalism of the Latin-American countries had made them more eager than ever to develop their own industries and thus avoid the economic dislocations they suffered as a result of World War II. Strongly desiring assistance from the United States, they became increasingly critical of the

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