Petersen, Gustav H.
April 1973
Foreign Affairs;Apr1973, Vol. 51 Issue 3, p598
This article focuses on United States' foreign policy on Latin America. The present vacuum received more or less official sanction with President Nixon's low profile speech of October 31, 1969, partly based on the poorly conceived and ill-starred Rockefeller mission. This speech marked a turning point in our attitude toward Latin America. Up to that time, we had asked ourselves what we could do to help the less-developed countries, in particular, Latin America, with which we were assumed to have special relations. President Nixon expressed the view that Latin America should no longer look for substantial aid and offered increased trade instead. He emphasized that the Latin American countries should follow a more independent line, and that the northern and southern part of the Hemisphere should cooperate. But both continents should essentially be guided by their own interests. The formation of the Andean Group, whose governments contain quite different social systems, is at least a beginning in showing that political cooperation may be possible, particularly in the realm of external affairs. Further political co-operation might result if the United States would throw its full support behind an independent, united Latin America. It may well take a traumatic historic event to catalyze these ideas, just as it took World War II to start the Common Market. What we do need, however, is a new direction, a new polar star, which can lead us out of the aimlessness of our present Latin American policy.


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