Neutral America (1939-1941)
To be good neighbors is not enough. . . . Inter-Americanism demands more: it makes it impossible for any of us to ignore the fate of our neighbors.
LUIS QUINTANILLA, 1943
IN VIEW OF THE PORTENTS of impending world conflict, the American republics were seriously remiss in not having devised cooperative defense plans by 1939. Urgent proddings by the United States, as early as 1936, had been dismissed in Latin America as "crying wolf" for selfish Yankee gains. In spite of sage counsel, the Latinos decided against taking out war insurance, and so it was that not until the holocaust had actually flared were they disposed to consider the nature and extent of their cooperative security action. This, fortunately, the American nations were able to do in a succession of consultative meetings of their foreign ministers.
Thus it was that the consultation procedure agreed. upon at Buenos Aires and Lima paid off in rich dividends of inter-American security action during the war. The encomiums pronounced by commentators in 1936 and again in 1938 concerning the value of consultation seem to have been fully justified by the record of inter-American security cooperation during World War II. Moreover, the various declarations of principles of American solidarity were proven by the common measures taken during the course of the war to be more than pretentious verbiage. The war presented an exceptional opportunity for testing the substance of inter-American solidarity as well as the strength of the security structure, particularly in an extracontinental crisis. In both respects the results were gratifying.
While paying tribute to the contributions of the consultation procedure to security during World War II, we should not fail to note that the new Latin-American policy of the United States contributed much to confirming Principles of inter-American solidarity. With respect to the benefits of the Good Neighbor policy, it can be asserted