Economic Foreign Policy of the United States

By Benjamin H. Williams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
POLITICAL ENCOURAGEMENT TO CAPITAL EXPORTS

American capitalists and diplomats have on many occasions joined in their efforts to create better opportunities for the making of investments abroad. The motives behind this partnership are economic and political, and it is sometimes difficult to determine which of the two is the primary moving force. At times the Department of State has been stirred into activity at the behest of banking groups. The desire to overthrow barriers erected against foreign capital by nationalists in backward countries, the prospect of rich concession contracts, or the fear of the consequences of destructive insurrections are reasons which have caused the sending of telegrams to Washington or the hurried visit to the national capital of attorneys for financial interests. At other times, the first request for action has come to the bankers from the Department of State, which has sought to bring about the investment of American money as a counteractant against foreign influence. Loans in the strategically important area of the Caribbean and Central America have been requested in order to preempt the territory as against the citizens of other strong creditor nations. Key investments, such as those in the building of railroads or the organization of treasury service banks in backward countries, have been considered desirable for political purposes. Loans which involve the collection of the revenues of weaker governments have been urged for the purpose of advancing policies. Whether the profit to be obtained by the American capitalist or the additional control to be secured by the government is the dominating motive, the international financier and the diplomat have been joined together. While the two parties may have their controversies, there seems to be in this field no likelihood of that divorce of business from government which is so urgently recommended by conservative groups in domestic politics.


PROTECTION AS AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO CAPITAL EXPORTS

The protection of capital after it has gone abroad will be taken up more fully in later chapters, but the effect of such action in

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