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Latin America perspectives a series of information and comment about Latin America with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. These programs are recorded by station w s r u FM. Here now is Dr. Gardner truth at times is stranger than fiction but there are those moments when fiction can be more palatable more forceful than fact. Indeed many of the fables that we now have in literature may well have started out in the oral tradition as story type complaints against conditions against ogres and Giants all of whom were not so imaginary. Not all of whom were so deep in the forest but who rather were plaguing the lives of common folk in more recent times in the world that is the Western Hemisphere. Spanish American literature has given us a great deal too that suggests that there is a double take. A second reason for reading many of
the things that have been put on paper. There was a time in Colonial Spanish America for example when it was. Not at all the thing to do to criticize the political policies to suggest programs do indeed suggest that you had ideas that should be foisted upon a government. There was no easier road for an editor to the jail house than to make such statements that suggested that he was on his own. Politically there was no faster way of having the keys or even the press itself from your office removed so that your paper your pamphlet did not again appear in public for some time. We have not had that measure of censorship in the United States. We have had not had that reason for couching with a novel. The story the criticism that you would like to get across as a message concerning the problem of the times but now in
this country we have a novel with a message a novel that is more important for the truth it presents than it is for the story in which that truth is couched. I refer to the novel the triumph by John Kenneth Galbraith published by Holton Mifflin Company. John Kenneth Galbraith as you well know has had a distinguished career as a professor at Harvard University as a leader of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has one who ably represented this country in diplomatic service in India during days of President Kennedy's administration. Now the man of many talents demonstrated on many fronts has turned to the novel as the format in which he wants to get a message across. One that he apparently believes he could not get to an equivalently large and liberal segment of the
American public were he to take to the journals that would normally carry yet another assessment of our diplomacy and the manner in which we conducted. First a word about the story the Triumph. Setting is in an imaginary country in Central America named Santos the capital of which is the town of florists there and a dictator named Martinez is suddenly toppled from power and consternation reigns in Washington as assessments are made of the situation. Martinez had been a bulwark against communism. He had been one with whom the United States had gotten along for a long long while. We have a provisional president named Iraq come to power and there are programs that suggest that changes are in store for the country of practice Santas
the development of the entire novel then relates to the American U.S. reaction to a revolution in an imaginary Latin American state. And the ultimate resolution of the matter. Indeed the Triumph can be as a title turned two ways. One to suggest it is a triumph for American diplomacy and the other to suggest it is a triumph for our revolutionary fervor. It takes a reading of the book and I do recommend it to determine which of these interpretations is the more valid one. But one suspects that behind the telling of the story and it is told with careful delineation of the characters with the full statement of the problems with a great deal that commands Galbraith in this new area of his writing. With all of this one suggests that there
is something other than an assessment of the book as a novel. That is an order that the message is the more important the fundamental thing and therefore deserving of attention. There comes a time in the volume when one of the Latin American characters speaking says I still believe you're a great country meaning the United States has one redeeming quality which will save us now. Our idealism it is usually said the diplomat replied Oh no no your untimely ness the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was made tolerable by its inefficiency. You buy your delays. We have a great deal of delay in this account. We will have delays of evaluation. We are going to make sure about the new administration on so many counts that indeed there is counter revolution before we can assess revolution. And one
can gather from this early moment and this statement that I just indicated concerning the clash of idealism and untimely us that one of the basic criticisms that Galbraith has concerning our diplomatic establishment is that there is a great deal of time lost that a great deal of the passage of time also amounts to a dissipate of the fundamental idealism. There comes a time when with the new administration to be assessed that of the short term liberal dictator who has come to power who indeed wants to be democratic in due order that the United States must work out a package arrangement and it is called Bad by the assistant secretary of state. 10 million for new budget support he says. Same for new arms small arms riot control ammunition some quartermaster
stuff military advisors stepped up counterinsurgency training for the army some helicopters for greater mobility and a strong letter pledging personal support from the president. This is the package arrangement that the United States would then present to every scene. In diplomacy according to the assistant secretary of state who becomes a prime roadblock to liberal outlook and fast action. In diplomacy according to Batman Nothing is more important than continuity of policy. The world is filled with men he says who are skillfully biding their time in order to make capital out of American mistakes. Accordingly it is often better to continue error than to draw attention to it by changing course. And it follows that diplomacy is best practiced by people who have a resistance to novelty and no undue flexibility
of mind. Here there again is a massive condemnation of the routine nature of the imaginative but who Galbraith the experienced diplomat seems to characterize too much of the United States program and practice of diplomacy. Indeed when the State Department is trying to assess the man who has newly suddenly been thrust into the provisional presidency of this imaginary Republic of Cueto Santos the dossier on the man reads in part mightiness the dictator has just been thrown out frequently describes him as a communist. Believed to have associations with identified communist agents has put out a comprehensive political programme including land reform elections economic development free education friendship with all nations higher prices for sugar and coffee. Full employment public water supplies sewage disposal Housing Urban Development peace and educational
television. These ideas are supposes to condemn the man and yet it's interesting to note that what Galbraith has listed here in terms of land reform elections economic development housing and numerous other points that I won't repeat. He has enumerated the fine points of the idealism inherent in the policy that we call the Alliance for Progress. He is saying that the man with the Alliance for Progress program as really a part of his Latin American outlook should be helped and we should hasten to help him instead of having the endless delay that indeed erodes the following that he has and causes him in time to be tossed to the political docks. Another statement that suggests there is an underlying meaning that Galbraith wants to get across out of his own experience is this
some American officials we must face that are not easy to reassure. If you are not a communist they suspect you of being a fellow traveler. If you are not a fellow traveler they suspect you of being a stooge. If you are too smart to be a stooge they suspect you of being a stalking horse. Yep assured on all these counts they will still conclude that you are an opening on the left and soul for endless number of reasons that can ins step by step fashion be adopted. There can be an automatic and continuing opposition. It's obvious to from what God has to say about any idea. Officials on occasion that he has met some men who were a bit too old a bit too lacking in ability a bit to completely American to realize that what they were doing abroad must fit within the stream of that nation's experience and desires.
He also castigates the type of educator who on occasion going out with a lot of glib phraseology talking about two track systems and achievement scores and verbal aptitude tests and motivation and advancing mechanisms. The man who in the glibness out of his US experience is totally unaware of the cultural background and the present and future need of the land to which he goes. We have then in the US a statement by John Kenneth Galbraith a massive condemnation of what becomes the conservative and inelastic practice of the conduct of foreign relations by the United States. He wants in place a liberal and he lastic outlook. He wants a dynamic in policy as it is formulated and has it is implemented for decades now and especially since World War 2. The winds of change have been blowing
through Latin America. John Kenneth Galbraith also would like to have some winds of change blow through the United States Department of State its formulation of policy its execution of policy. Those who read the trial of John Kenneth Galbraith novel published by Holton Mifflin Company can be instructed as they enjoy the reading. This was another programme in the series Latin America perspectives with Dr S. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Join us for our next program when Dr. Gardner will comment on another interesting aspect of Latin American affairs. These programs are recorded by station WFIU FM and are made available to this station by the national educational radio network.
Latin American perspectives II
Episode Number
Episode 3 of 38
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3544. This prog.: The Triumph by John Kenneth Galbraith
Global Affairs
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Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-3-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:54
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives II; Episode 3 of 38,” 1968-03-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2024,
MLA: “Latin American perspectives II; Episode 3 of 38.” 1968-03-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Latin American perspectives II; Episode 3 of 38. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from