Georgetown forum; U.S. commitments to Latin America
U.S. commitments to Latin America the topic for the eleven hundred thousand seventy seven consecutive broadcast of the Georgetown University radio forum. Another in a series of educational and informative programs from Washington D.C. The Georgetown forum was founded in 1946. This is Wallace Fanning speaking to you by transcription from the Raymond Rice studio on the campus of Georgetown University a historic Jesuit seed of learning in the nation's capital. Today's discussion will be U.S. commitments to Latin America. But dissipating our Dr. Thomas Dodd assistant professor of Latin American history at Georgetown and Dr. Norman a bailee professor and chairman department of Latin American area studies City University of New York at Queen's and a research associate at Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies. In his address before the Organization of American States last month President Nixon emphasized the need
for a careful review of United States policies toward the Latin American republics. To demonstrate this cautious approach policy the president dispatched Governor Rockefeller of New York going to fact finding missions in the last three weeks. To some observers of the recent Rockefeller trips have demonstrated that the United States outbursts reflect local issues as they relate to U.S. policy actions rather than a hemispheric wide hostility to the Yankee Republic. In considering a future direction in policymaking some students of Latin American affairs believe that the United States should develop a more bilateral approach in her relations with other American republics and reduce our emphasis on a hemispheric policy role. Today on the Georgetown University forum our panelists discuss the feasibility of this suggested approach to our foreign policy and commitments to Latin America. Now President
Nixon who was not then president made Latin American tour some 11 years ago. Governor Rockefeller for the president has just made more presence with much the same reaction we're going to ask of Dr. Dodd how he would compare the two trips. Well certainly it seems to me that the Nixon trip the late 1950s emphasized discontent and feeling ill feeling towards the United States and the consequences of it were the emergence of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Alliance for Progress shortly thereafter and I think perhaps the Rockefeller or the recent Rockefeller trip emphasizes the disillusionment on the part of people over the expectations of what something like the Alliance for Progress. I was going to produce we're going to bring to that part of the world. And I think this is important to note that what these people expected or hoped would happen in
the early 1960s simply did not fulfill or achieve those goals that the alliance said it would do or expected to do in that early period. So I think that the Rockefeller trip the recent trip is indicative of this feeling in part. I would think Dr. Dowling. Seems to me that one of the most interesting things about the comparison between the Nixon trip and 1058 and the recent Rockefeller trips to Latin America is the similarity of the reception that the two men are getting if anything the Rockefeller trips are awakening more opposition than Nixon did at least in the case of Nixon's trip. The opposition was on the part of the let's say the populace in certain countries. In the case of the Rockefeller trips he has been officially requested by two of the Latin American countries through their governments one a military dictatorship the other one a constitutionally elected government not to visit their countries. So it seems to me that there's actually been a
deterioration in a sense over the intervening 11 years. And yet these 11 years with the years of the as Tom said of the formation of the Inter-American Development Bank of the Alliance for Progress program of the upgrading of Latin America and U.S. foreign policy of the spending of billions of dollars. In U.S. aid in Latin America now when the Nixon trip took place in 1958 the immediate reaction on the part of most Americans I think both in the government and out of the government was that the reason for it was that the United States wasn't paying sufficient attention to Latin America that it wasn't sufficiently important in the foreign policy calculations of the United States. That not enough aid was being given to Latin America. Well certainly in the intervening decade the United States has paid much more attention to Latin America has given immensely more in aid to Latin America. And yet we see that the Rockfeller
reception is no better and possibly worse than Nixon's was 11 years ago. So I think we have to we have to say that the programs. Of the intervening decade have at least to some extent failed. And I think this is widely recognized in this country it's widely recognized in Latin American official and unofficial circles so that it seems to me that the thing we have to look at today in the light of the Rockefeller reception in Latin America is what has gone wrong. In other words have U.S. commitments to Latin America not been sufficient or have they been sufficient but in the wrong direction because if you're doing something wrong it doesn't help to do more of it. In a sense it only makes matters worse. And perhaps this is what's happened. Tom maybe you have a comment on it let's find out how much identify our commitments. First of all doesn't the Alliance for Progress pretty well encompass our commitments of the
last decade or so. But it seems to at least encompass or include some of the objectives which United States United States officials have said yes the need for improving the social conditions of the standard of living in these various American republics to the south and run there is only you know. The further you are or when any structure within these various republics impede or inhibit the improvement in the condition of people who live there this will inevitably I think aggravate and make more clear the disparity and standard of living between say the United States of America and her sister republics to the south and I think this places us in a very precarious position and I'm troubled by something that well in the Alliance for Progress itself we have an we that is in the United States had committed ourselves to support and to improve the lot and condition of these
people to the south our neighbors but yet at the same time I'm afraid that we have have not demonstrated the dissatisfaction with the efforts to impede and to carry out the various provisions of the alliance. And in an international basis I think this is quite a great deal of trouble there's an inconsistency here. You may demonstrate and I feel that we have not been firmly not with in some areas he has I think what I would say specifically. And that the Dominican crisis of 1965 I think this hurt us in this part of the world. It seemed totally inconsistent with our our supposedly hear of support in the Alliance for Progress as a partner in that and the condition of the people in this part of the world. It was inconsistent to them and I think that the residue of our what I consider to be a mistake there is now developing and appearing in the recent Rockefeller Commission. Dr. Bailey.
Yes I think it mustn't be overlooked that the decade we're talking about saw two events political events take place that have undoubtedly very severely affected the effectiveness of the U.S. economic and social commitments in Latin America I'm referring to the whole Cuban crisis which developed of course after Nixon's trip in 58 and the Dominican crisis that was mentioned by Tom in 1965. Whether rightly or wrongly and I think it's certainly a questionable point. The United States is accused in most of Latin America of having pushed Castro over the brink of communism and extreme radicalism and so forth. I myself don't happen to think that this is true although I don't think the United States helped very much to see that it did not happen. But the important thing here is not whether it's true or not the important thing is this is widely believed in Latin America. It
is also almost universally believed in Latin America and again I'm saying this without any prejudice as to the correctness of the Assumption. But it's almost universally believed in Latin America that the rebels in the Dominican Republic in 65 were not communists and were simply trying to put through a democratic social revolution of the Mexican Bolivian type and that this process was violently halted by the United States through military intervention. I think that that would be hard to find a thousand. Educated men in Latin America who would believe the opposite. I think it would be difficult to find that many so that undoubtedly these political events had an effect on reducing the effectiveness of the economic programs. Nevertheless I think we can also look at the commitments United States made which were really three pronged one was in connection with bilateral aid
under the Alliance for Progress program where the United States committed itself to a billion dollars a year of aid over a 10 year period and then later President Johnson made it an open ended program. Secondly I support by the United States for the movements for economic integration in Latin America the central market common market in the Latin American Free Trade Area. And thirdly the establishment of the Inter-American Development Bank as well as support for the establishment of the Central American bank for economic integration. Now perhaps we should look at all three of these programs and I think undoubtedly the most successful in terms of not awakening anti-American feeling of the feeling in Latin America that they have been quite successful are the two banks in particular the Inter-American Development Bank. I think one of the reasons for this. One of the reasons why the in American Development Bank is popular by and large in Latin America whereas us. Bilateral assistance
under the Alliance for Progress program and a number of other programs. Point four and so on are not particularly popular and are not looked upon as a success and Latin America is twofold. First of all and something United States really can't do much of anything about the Inter-American bank is looked upon as an into American institution whereas U.S. bilateral assistance is looked upon by many people in Latin America as a political weapon that the United States wields over Latin America. If you don't behave we will take away or aid this whole IPC controversy with Peru right now the Peruvians very specifically whether Makybe under Machiavellian auspices or not is unimportant but they very specifically said you say Aha. If we don't do do exactly what you want us to do then your threat is to pull away or aid. Well go ahead. You know that and that sort of thing. But the other reason I think the American Development Bank has been considerably more successful is that the bank has been a great deal more flexible
in its approach to problems of Latin American development than has the Agency for International Development of the United States government. Now I'm not going to go into the reasons for this I'm not sure I know all the reasons for it. Perhaps it has to do with one being part of. Program which encompasses other parts of the world may have to do simply with a very large and somewhat stilted bureaucracy on the part of a id I don't know. These are some possibilities but the inner American Development Bank does look at new approaches or tries new things their pre investment study program for example their recent change of policy whereby they intend to deal more intensively with local groups and corporations so forth within these countries directly and not going through governmental governmental agencies or what have you may have an important influence in this regard. And recently Raul pre-Bush formally head of the Economic Commission for Latin America the United Nations and after that head of the United
Nations Conference on Tariffs and Trade. Who is now a consultant to the American Development Bank was asked by the head of the bank and other persons such as Donal Plosser secretary general of the OAS to present to the meetings that are going on now in Trinidad. Some ideas as to what might be done in terms of changing previous policies Well this is the kind of approach this is the kind of flexibility which I think the US government could well study their signals I think to wise don't you think so really. When men like Raul predication and Carlos sons they saw chairman of the Inter-American Committee for the Alliance for Progress. Both of them did I think just a week or so ago suggested the need emphasizing here the extra financing and and channeling funds through the bank that you just mentioned and I think I think these are signals for the United States to function or at least to
look towards the American Republics through these Inter-American agencies as you say because they are really in every sense of the word bodies in which all of the republics have representatives on the monitors and the bilateral approaches you mentioned as the Peruvian case has been and now still it is a bilateral problem and I think the preparation. Statement a short while ago and Carlos I was there some commodity urging here external financing going through the Inter-American agencies as a signal for us that perhaps it is multilateral ization at least going through these agencies rather than just being concerned with the bilateral arrangements which can be useful too but I think the others if you want to get involved on the Internet we have certain sure that's perfectly all right and very useful. So I can say for instance I would agree completely with that I can't see how it could have hurt and I can see how it might have helped a great deal to turn the IPC controversy with Peru over to one of the Inter-American agencies such as the American
Peace Committee it was something that some kind of arbitration or conciliation agency of the Organization of American States to examine the case. This would certainly have been more acceptable to Peru than simply threatening them with cutting off aid and so forth which it's a deadly as in law. And yet the United States government didn't do it so that we didn't have our cake and we didn't need it either. In a sense it is the prove your case. So we we need to cut off aid Norwood did we get any kind of propaganda a public relations advantage in Peru. Now I see you know one thing that hasn't been mentioned here is that public awareness in this country at least up the situation. It did not manifest itself until some of our boats had been fired upon. This this was this was that this is what makes it a very difficult thing to understand you know. Well that's really a different controversy entirely if there is a there are two we have at the moment two problems with proof. But it's a mistake to to lump the two together. Who
knows if it is same thing. Yes but when when we get the reports you know the news reports from the scene they are lumped together and frantically and this is this is you know this is why it's very important that that we understand that you make the distinction for us. Well the fishing dispute has to do with the decision on the part of Peru as well as the other incident it's not just prove the other music States of South America Chile and Atlas. To establish a 200 mile territorial limit of territorial waters this is my own personal opinion as is unjustified and can't be defended on any extension of international law. However asides are part of our part on their behavior and certainly the firing on undefended unarmed teen of boats and so forth can't be defended either in international law or under humanitarian considerations. Nevertheless this is precisely the kind of dispute leading even to to the
firing of weapons on the kind of US field that the an American peace committee was set up to to deal with it this far as I know there's been no move on the part of the American government to involve the Organization of American States in the dispute whatsoever and I think this has been a great I think it's a tragedy really because the Peruvian that the the International Petroleum Company issue embodies have been lumped together because one has not been handled properly through the machinery that has been created in existence for some time for handling this kind of a problem of international law and so forth and regrettably again this whole problem of the bilateral ization of relations rather than making it an interim her condition or at least bringing it to the court of Inter-American opinion and for adjudication. Let me ask suffering the consequences of it. Would you gamble. For me your personal suspicions as to why we have not why we have not taken cases it is right to the Inter-American system why would our government avoid doing this.
Well I can only guess but I would say perhaps one reason odd is that both of these disputes arose at a time when the United States had almost no governmental structure to deal with these things. That is the the post that had been filled in the Johnson administration were empty people had not yet been found to fill these polls. The United States was much more concerned at that time with events in Southeast Asia the Middle East Europe and so forth the president was involved in his trip to Europe and this and on the other thing he was waiting for the Rockefeller trips to take place and that may have simply been one aspect of it that there was nobody who could take the ball and run with it. And maybe in another that we could not be sure exactly how much support we would would have in that and here situation when we presented the case before when he had a body like this to be highly doubtful as to where some of the republics would be
would want to risk getting their wrists slapped. Maybe this is guesswork again. And this I know. That's possible Tom although I think in the fisheries dispute we would have had a lot of support from other countries in Latin America haps you know certainly sewn up the West Coast but Mexico and going online and involved for a long time and shooting up each other's shit I mean we're not going to tell them they are going to employ you then your discussion thus far has been the question of our commitment whether they were the right ones and whether they were sufficient. And I judge from what you've said thus far that both of the members of the panel feel that they were neither completely correct nor completely sufficient as has had a fair evaluation. Well I I think they were correct and that is the deals that set out by Kennedy President Kennedy were sufficient I think it was a very high note and encouraging milk when he
announced the lines for progress at the White House so before the various emissaries and diplomats accredited to Washington from Latin America which I would like to mention at this point I think the Latin Americans have not. Sparrows do or have not seen really an articulate person like Kennedy Any his style and his approach to this and you know it's very important to the various Latin American republics to have someone who can articulate and who can reach some very deep emotions which they feel and I think he touched that told it was a peak and it was quite another matter then and how you implement it and carry out the provisions of it. I think on that point we may have missed a very important item the significance perhaps of the economic integration movement the Central American Common Market Latin American Free Trade Association we may have. But
again this is hindsight second guessing and I hate to emphasize the other but it seems to me that perhaps rather than working in the hemispheric wide project like the alliance that we might have given some attention to encourage regional integration as I said like the Common Market Central American common market the Latin American Free Trade Association. Well actually a dumb move this may have been and this wasn't really our fault and I felt the United States was in favor of a regional rather than hemisphere wide associations. It was a precious Act which I was pushing very strongly for an association that would cover the entire hemisphere they were even opposed to American common market and I was the one regional market that did get through to get through. Yeah it's interesting that now what I would consider the natural economic forces are showing up in that within the last American Free Trade Area you know developing more meaningful economic groupings such as the Andean bloc and the River Plate Basin Authority so that
I think in this case we can stop using United States is a whipping boy because they wasn't basically he was his fault that this was going to say that no I didn't. Perhaps I was too harsh there but it seems to me that we didn't raise certain alternatives to weigh in overall hemispheric view that there are such things as these regional interests MBNA interests which of course only came to us recently in the Common Market there but I think perhaps if we take a second look and examine regional movements may be encouraging that you're anonymous. Leads me to this question. Do you feel that perhaps we have proven over the last decade or so that there is no single policy that can can be effective for all of the Latin American nations as far as our government is concerned in its relations with them.
Well I'd go even farther than that I go too far though and I decentralized things even more I think in many of the Latin American countries even a government to government approach will be by and large unsuccessful. One can mention for example look Colombia now 80 percent of the governmental costs of Colombia go into. Overhead administrative costs. That is of every dollar the United States gives in aid that isn't specifically directed to a specific project to the Colombian government. 80 cents goes to paying various Colombian bureaucrats and so on. Now this to my mind is not an efficient way to run an aid program nor does it really help the local people in any meaningful fashion unless you know constant increase in the number of people on the public payrolls was considered a contribution. I would say that one of the most important things that the United States could do
if it decided to take such a policy step in Latin America is to direct more of its programs to specific local groups in Latin America I'm talking both about social programs and economic programs. I'm talking about level you at the community level community who has educational groups corporations and the economic level and so on in order to bypass if you will the. Official agencies and the problems of the official agencies having this would also eliminate if this were done would eliminate the problem the United States gets into that it's quote unquote supporting a particular government. In other words if you say I'm not giving this money to the government of X I'm giving this money to such and such a group which is going to exist whether it's this government or that government or some other government. And here the only question that occurs to me is how could any government really tolerate another government dealing directly in this
matter with that status in the Senate because ignoring it you know the fact that I would be very dangerous I think the Nixon administration has emphasized or at least they've raised the question here of stepping up private investment but that doesn't necessarily solve the problems either in fact it may complicate it but it seems to me that if Private investment is going to be emphasized then it should be broke. Bring into focus here the importance of ownership down there by these people in various investment projects that we make up here in the United States and that area that's important. You see I've never subscribed to the theory that Testament simply revolutionized brings the prosperity that you hope for unless it was plugged into something that can be profitable in that area for all of those people. So essentially on the local by the local people for example I've always been interested with the success of the company
and how effective will develop it seems can ruin him and his business that is the Peruvians had investment themselves and the commodities that were produced and sold in that area. I think this is very important perhaps Sears Roebuck this is an old local problem to advertise companies here but really I have not heard of demonstrations in front of these stores where investment has been made but emphasizing local participation or ownership or have some partnership in risk and also have the dividends of success and they think through a long way then towards changing our image. I think they certainly would also be a much more efficient way of transferring technology to the Latin American countries which are very much afraid at this time of ending up as scientific and technological backwater forever really. You see that in popularity the Servan-Schreiber book in Latin America the American challenge. Thank you very much gentlemen for your discussion of U.S. commitments
to Latin America. My thanks to Dr. Thomas Dodd assistant professor of Latin American history at Georgetown University and to Dr. Norman a bailee professor and chairman department of Latin American area studies City University of New York at Queens and a research associate at Georgetown University Center for Strategic and International Studies. You have attended the weekly discussion program the Georgetown University radio forum broadcaster which was transcribed in the Raymond Rice studio on the campus of historic Georgetown University in Washington D.C. next week you will hear discussed India and the United States in the 70s. A panel at that time will consist of the Honorable M. Ross Gautreaux minister of the embassy of India Dr. John Willett gate assistant professor of South Asian history at Georgetown and Dr. Brenda Leslie Austin director of the Office of Research and Analysis for Near East and South Asia U.S. Department of State.
This program has been presented in the interest of public education by Georgetown University. Your moderator. WALLACE banning this program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
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- Episode Description
- This program features a discussion with Dr. Thomas Dodd, Georgetown University; and Dr. Norman A. Bailey, City University of New York.
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- Moderated by Wallace Fanning, this series presents a panel of guests discussing a variety of topics. The radio series launched in 1946. It also later aired on WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C. These programs aired 1968-69.
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- Global Affairs
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Guest: Dodd, Thomas
Guest: Bailey, Norman A.
Moderator: Fanning, Wallace
Producing Organization: Georgetown University
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University of Maryland
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- APA: Georgetown forum; U.S. commitments to Latin America. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-p26q3q06