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Thomas M. Leonard and

Thomas L. Karnes

According to Joseph B. Lockey, the closest student of Pan-Americanism's early days, the adjective "Pan-American" was first employed by the New York Evening Post in 1882, and the noun "Pan-Americanism" was coined by that same journal in 1888. The convening of the first inter-American conference in Washington the next year led to wider usage of the first term about 1890 and popularization of Pan-Americanism in the early years of the twentieth century. While the terms have since become familiar expressions to most of the reading public in the Western Hemisphere, their connotations remain vague. Broadly defined, Pan-Americanism is cooperation between the Western Hemisphere nations in a variety of activities including economic, social, and cultural programs; declarations; alliances; and treatiesthough some authorities narrow the definition to include political action only. However, the specific definition must always be partly in error, and the broad one borders on the meaningless.


Pan-Americanism is more easily traced than defined. In the middle of the nineteenth century, various "Pan" movements achieved popularity as adjuncts or exaggerations of the powerful nationalisms of the times, throwbacks to ancient Pan-Hellenism. Pan-Slavism was perhaps the first to acquire some measure of fame; Pan-Hellenism revived about 1860 and was followed by Pan-Germanism, Pan-Islamism, Pan-Celtism, Pan-Hispanism, and others. Probably all these "Pan" movements share certain predicates: their believers feel some unity, some uniquenessperhaps superiorityand they share mutual interests, fears, history, and culture. In short, their similarities make them different from the rest of the world, and they combine for strength. Pan-Americanism, however, fails to meet most of those criteria and must fall back upon the weaker elements of a common geographical separation from the rest of the world and something of a common history.

From early colonial times, Western Hemisphere peoples believed that they were unique. Statesmen of the Americas, both North and South, were united in affirming that some forcenature, or perhaps Godhad separated the Old World and the New World for a purpose; and this isolation in an unknown land had brought a common colonial experience that deserved the name of "system." Among leaders who saw and described this division was Thomas Jefferson; Henry Clay often argued before Congress for its preservation; Simón Bolívar acted upon it; and President James Monroe's doctrine most fundamentally assumes it.

What were the elements of this American system? First was independence, defined by Clay as freedom from despotism, either domestic or European. Peoples of the Americas believed in a common destiny, a body of political ideals, the rule of law, and cooperation among themselves (at least when threatened from the outside). In later years Secretary of State James G. Blaine saw these factors strengthened by commerce; the Brazilian statesmen Joaquim Nabuco and José Maria da Silva Paranhos, Baron Rio Branco, talked of a common past; Woodrow Wilson thought he saw a unique American spirit of justice.

Americans could not ignore geography. They had moved to, or been born in, an under-populated continent, where the strife of Europe was put aside and mobility, vertical or horizontal, was easily achieved. Nature isolated the American, and that isolation would produce a different people. But the most apparent difference between Americans and their European cousins was in the form of government. The vastness of America enhanced the individual's worth, and the right of each person to have a share in government found fertile soil there. Thus, when the Spanish and Portuguese colonies struggled to gain their freedom in the half-century after 1789, most deliberately chose the unfamiliar republican form of government that would safeguard the rights of citizens to choose those who would govern them. Inevitably some constitutions were copied, but that was the plagiarizing of words; the ideas were pandemic. (That a few nonrepublican administrations arose was a matter singularly ignored and always easily explained away to anyone who pursued the puzzle.) From Philadelphia to Tucumán in the Argentine, new constitutions proclaimed that Americans had a new way of life and a new form of government to ensure its continuance.

Nowhere were these American ideas better expressed than in paragraphs of the presidential address that became known as the Monroe Doctrine. Monroe asserted a belief in the existence of two worlds, one monarchical and one republican; the New World was closed to further colonization by the Old, and neither should interfere with the other. Third parties were not to tamper even with regions in the Americas that were still colonies. Whether the U.S. will to protect this separation was based upon geography or, ironically, the British fleet, the doctrine expressed what Americans believed and would fight to preserve.

At times Americans have been carried away with the enthusiasm of their rhetoric and have found unifying interests where they did not exist. Proponents of Pan-Americanism have often spoken of the existence of a common heritage, a statement with limited application, for in the hemisphere there is no common language, culture, or religion. Contrary to most "Pan" movements, Pan-Americanism has little basis in race or ethnicity, and it scarcely seems necessary to belabor the cultural diversity of the persons who bear the name American. If heritage were the chief basis of community, Spanish Americans would have their strongest ties with Spain, Brazilians with Portugal, Anglo-Americans with Great Britain, and so on. Nor can Pan-Americanism ignore those millions of African heritage or those who are indigenous to the Americas. Language and religion are even more varied than race in the Americas and can offer no more means of unification.

Finally, consideration must be given to the geographical basis for Pan-Americanism. It is a fact that the Americas occupy their own hemisphere and that they had been comfortably separated from the disturbances of Europe by great seas until the mid-twentieth century. Clearly this isolation resulted in some community of interest. The danger lies in exaggeration, for the modern traveler soon learns that in terms of dollars, hours, or miles, much of the United States is far closer to Europe than it is to most of Latin America, and Buenos Aires is far closer to Africa than it is to New York or Washington, D.C. In short, it is a fallacy to contend that the Americas are united by their proximity. The Americas, North and South, occupy the same hemisphere, and that does present an important mythology and symbolism to the world. More than that cannot be demonstrated.

Who are the Pan-Americans? No one has ever established requirements for membership nor set forth the procedures by which a people can become part of the elect. Form of government played a more or less clear part; the American nations all seemed to understand that colonies could not participate in Pan-American movements, but that local empires (the only one bearing that title for any duration was Brazil) were welcome. Nations sent delegates to the various conferences called during the nineteenth century primarily because they were invited by the host, not because of any established rules. Thus, some meetings that are classified as Pan-American might have had delegates from only four or five states. After 1889 nearly all of the republics of the hemisphere took part. The proliferation of new states in the years following World War II is reflected in Pan-Americanism, and former British colonies, no matter how small (and perhaps unviable), seem to have been welcomed into the American family, as has Canada, though generally the Canadians have often pursued their own policies. A nation can also be excommunicated, as Cuba was in 1961. And despite sanctions imposed upon Cuba by the Organization of American States (OAS), it continued to have diplomatic and economic relations with several American states, particularly following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.


Pan-Americanism most often expresses itself through international conferences, very loosely joined in the early years, highly structured in more recent decades. In the nineteenth century, conferences were often called to seek combined action against some specific problem. In the twentieth century, sessions have been scheduled long in advance and have had wide-ranging agendas. Attendance at the latter meetings has neared unanimity; in the early days it was irregular, made the worse by slow communications. The record is filled with accounts of delegations not formed in time or sent too late to take part in the proceedings. A final distinction is clear: while in recent times the impetus usually has come from the United States, during the nineteenth century almost all of the leadership came from Spanish America, often to the exclusion of the Anglo-Americans and Portuguese Americans. Some writers, in fact, seeking to divide Pan-Americanism chronologically, have classified the years 18261889 as the "old," or Spanish-American, period of the movement.

While many Latin Americans, including José de San Martín, Martínez de Rozas, Bernardo O'Higgins, and Bernardo Monteagudo, understood the necessity for Spanish-American cooperation, the "liberator" of Spanish-American independence, Simón Bolívar, is considered the father of the "old" Pan-Americanism. Long before any other leader, he dreamed of a strong league of American states leading to permanent military and political cooperation. Initially, at least, Bolívar thought of a confederation of only the Spanish-American states, if for no other reason than their common heritage and struggle for freedom from Spain. In 1815 he predicted the creation of three Spanish-American federations: Mexico and Central America, northern Spanish South America, and southern South America. But his ultimate goal, what became known as the "Bolivarian dream," was the unification of all Spanish America. In defeat and in victory his plan never disappeared, and in 1818 he (somewhat inaccurately) wrote to an Argentine friend, "We Americans should have but a single country since in every other way we are perfectly united."

By the 1820s the freedom of most of the Latin American colonies seemed assured, and the United States and some European nations began extending diplomatic recognition to the new governments. Bolívar saw this as an opportunity to implement his plan, and in 1822 he persuaded the government of Gran Colombia to send emissaries to the other South American nations, which resulted in general treaties with Chile, Peru, Buenos Aires, Mexico, and Central America. The signatories agreed to cooperate in sustaining their independence from foreign domination. Still, Bolívar sought much more.

The fear that Spain might attempt to reclaim its empire with the assistance of Europe's Holy Alliance provided Bolívar with the opportunity for his grand alliance. In December 1824 he called for an " assembly of plenipotentiaries" to meet at Panama to address the security issue. Bolívar's notice was addressed to "the American republics, formerly Spanish colonies," and therefore omitted several American states. The invitation included Great Britain, signaling Bolívar's understanding that British support was essential for the success of his confederation. He also permitted the Netherlands to send an observer, apparently without an invitation. Bolívar had ignored both the United States and Brazil, which of course, were not "formerly Spanish colonies"; but when their attendance was sought by other Latin Americans, he posed no objection.

Bolívar's classical training caused him to see Panama as the modern counterpart of the Isthmus of Corinth, and parallel to the Greek experience, he selected Panama as the site of the conference. That unsavory location had many defects as a host of an international conference. In fact, every delegate took ill during the sessions, but it did have the advantage of a central location. In June 1826 the representatives of Peru, Gran Colombia, Mexico, and the Central American Federation met and planned the first steps toward Pan-Americanism.

Technically speaking, attendance was much greater, for in time Gran Colombia was to be divested of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama, and in 1838 the Central American Federation was split into its original five parts, which became the republics of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In that sense, the four nations accounted for eleven future Latin American republics. But what of the others? The United Provinces of La Plata already evidenced the isolationism and antipathy to alliances that were to mark the policy of its successor state, Argentina. Even more self-contained was Paraguay, which simply declined to be represented. Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia exhibited some interest but for various reasons failed to send delegates to Panama.

Bolívar not only mistrusted U.S. intentions in the hemisphere but thought its presence would preclude an honest discussion about the African slave trade. For its part, when the invitation did come, the United States, officially neutral in Latin America's wars for independence, could quite properly have declined the invitation. However, members of President John Quincy Adams's administration, led by Secretary of State Henry Clay, were eager to join in any movement toward inter-American cooperation, if for no other reason than economic opportunity. Strong congressional opposition arose. Some of it could be attributed to the Democrats seeking to embarrass the Adams administration, but there were more serious concerns. The isolationists objected to participating in any conclave that might produce a permanent and entangling alliance. Many southerners feared a discussion of the slavery issue. In contrast, representatives from the Northeast saw the need to protect commercial interests against British competition. After four months of debate, Congress approved sending two delegates, but to no avail. One died en route to Panama; the other made no effort to reach Panama, but journeyed instead to Tacubaya, Mexico, where the Spanish-American statesmen planned further meetings.

Rivalries, both petty and large, soon appeared at Panama. Some states professed to fear Bolívar's ambitions; others wanted only a temporary league to complete the independence of Latin America from Europe. Even the role of the British at the sessions was debated. Owing to the local climate and unsanitary conditions, the Panama Congress lasted less than one month, but not before concluding a treaty of perpetual union, league, and confederation; a convention providing for future meetings; and a second convention outlining each participating state's financial support for maintenance of an armed force and the confederation's bureaucracy. The treaty contained thirty-one detailed articles designed to implement the treaty's objective: "to support in common defense the sovereignty and independence" of each state against foreign domination.

After signing the agreements, some of the representatives departed for home; others traveled to Tacubaya, a small village near Mexico City, where they planned to reconvene if their governments deemed the effort worthwhile. Some informal talks were held at Tacubaya, but no formal sessions ever took place, and the Panama Congress had to stand upon its completed work. A dismal fate awaited the Panama Congress treaties across Latin America. Only Gran Colombia ratified them all, despite the surprising opposition of Bolívar.

In only one regard can the Panama Congress be looked upon as a success: the fact of its existence perhaps made the holding of future such conferences a bit easier. Little else was accomplished. Why did it fail so badly? The end of the threat from Spain and the beginnings of civil strife all over Latin America had coincided to make the congress a forum for expressing the new republics' distrust of each other. For the time being, the newly independent nations of Latin America set about the task of nation building. Panama was a noble experiment. Though its aims were obviously far ahead of its time, they were appropriate to any time.

The failure of the Panama Congress also demonstrated that its prime mover, Bolívar, had changed his mind about the vast confederation of states, and would concentrate instead upon establishing a tight federation of the Andes with himself as permanent dictator. This change left a leadership vacuum in Pan-Americanism that was briefly filled by Mexico. Despite rapid shifts from conservative to liberal administrations, the Mexican government for a decade followed a policy of urging the Latin American states to consummate some of the plans drafted at Panama and help protect the region against the possibility of European intervention. Armed with a proposal for a treaty of union, and calling for renewal of the Panama discussions, Mexican ministers were dispatched to several capitals. Mexico was willing that the meetings be convened in almost any convenient spot, but the suggestion received little support. This first bid of 1832 was repeated in 1838, 1839, and 1840, by which time Mexico faced an increasing North American presence in Texas. However, the other nations lacked Mexico's concern, and the proposals did not result in even one conference. Only when the South Americans feared for their own security did they decide to band together again.

The United States also distanced itself from Latin America. President James Monroe's 1823 announcement that the Western Hemisphere was off-limits to European encroachments because the hemispheric nations shared common democratic and republican ideals lost its luster as U.S. diplomats reported back from the region that the Latin American nations were anything but democratic or republican. Nor did the visions of commercial success ever materialize. These same diplomats found the British, who helped to finance Latin America's independence, well entrenched.

The second Latin American conference took place in Lima, Peru, from December 1847 to March 1848. The conference was in response to two threats: the fear of Spanish designs upon South America's west coast and the U.S. incursion into Mexico. General Juan José Flores, a Venezuelan-born conservative, became Ecuador's first president but was subsequently exiled. Flores went to Europe for help and appeared to be successful in raising private troops and a fleet to restore himself to the presidency. Anticipating an invasion by Spain or Great Britain, the government of Peru invited the American republics to meetings at Lima in December 1847. The sessions lasted until March 1848, even though it was known by that time that the British government would prohibit the sailing of the Spanish fleet.

The United States was invited to send a representative, ostensibly to demonstrate to Europe that all the hemispheric nations would unite against a foreign threat. The Latin Americans also intended to remind the North Americans, then engaged in a war with Mexico, that the conference's fundamental purpose was to demonstrate mutual respect for the territorial integrity of all nations. President James K. Polk refused the invitation to send a delegate and instead dispatched J. Randolph Clay as a nonparticipating observer. Only ministers from Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru participated in the Lima conference, where they concluded four treaties, most of them concerning mutual assistance. Only Colombia ratified one of the agreements. Ironically, Clay, the U.S. observer, expressed great satisfaction with the conference resolutions regarding noncolonization and denying Europe the right to intervene in hemispheric affairs. The conference concluded just as the U.S. Congress was ratifying the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which stripped Mexico of its vast northern territories for annexation to the United States.


What appeared to be the insatiable U.S. appetite for territory prompted two Latin American meetings in 1856. Santiago, Chile, was the site of the third Pan-American conference under Spanish-American auspices. The conference was called because Ecuador proposed granting the United States the right to mine guano on the Galápagos Islands, an action that disturbed Ecuador's Pacific Coast neighbors. The republics of Peru, Ecuador, and Chile sent delegations to Santiago, where they drafted plans for another confederation and agreed upon joint measures for handling "piratical" expeditions. In September 1856 the delegates signed the Continental Treaty, dealing with many aspects of international law, filibustering, and acts of exiles, as well as the usual nod in the direction of a confederation. Significantly, while all of the nations of Latin America were urged to join, including Portuguese-speaking Brazil, the United States was not invited to attend the conference or to join the confederation. But once more failure ensued. The Continental Treaty was not ratified.

Meanwhile the United States, not a European nation, appeared as the chief threat to Latin America's territorial integrity. Its acquisition of more than one-third of Mexico was followed by the presence of filibusters in the circum-Caribbean region. William Walker's filibustering expedition into Nicaragua caused the ministers of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, New Granada, Peru, El Salvador, and Venezuela assigned to Washington, D.C., to sign a treaty of alliance and confederation on 9 November 1856. The signatories pledged themselves to prevent the organizing of expeditions by political exiles against an allied government and, if an attack occurred, to provide military assistance to the aggrieved nation. Hoping to convert this arrangement into a Hispanic-American Confederation, the delegates called for a conference to convene in Lima in December 1857. As in the past, nothing materialized. The Washington agreement was not ratified, and the conference was not convened.

The fourth and last of the "old" Spanish-American conferences took place at Lima, Peru, in 1864. The weakness of many of the Latin American states and the U.S. preoccupation with its Civil War had allowed a series of European flirtations in the American hemisphere. Spain claimed the reannexation of the Dominican Republic in 1861; Spain, Great Britain, and especially France threatened, and then invaded, Mexico; and Spain occupied Peru's Chincha Islands to collect debts, under the pretext that Peru was still a Spanish colony. In response, in 1864, the Colombian government encouraged the Peruvians to invite all former Spanish colonies to a conference at Lima to take up the matter of intervention by foreign powers. In addition to Peru, states attending included Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Venezuela. The United States and Brazil were not invited, ostensibly because they were not former Spanish colonies. The Lima Congress failed to negotiate with Spain for the withdrawal of its troops from the Chincha Islands, and when the delegates turned their full attention to the usual grand treaty of confederation, the failure was just as complete. Once again no nation ratified any of the agreements. The end of the American Civil War and the renewed preoccupation of Spain and France with domestic and foreign problems elsewhere account for the departure of those two nations from their Latin American adventures.

The War of the Triple Alliance (18651870), which pitted Paraguay against a loose league of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, and the War of the Pacific (18791884), in which Chile easily mastered Bolivia and Peru, left bitter residues that in the short run meant the end of any program of Pan-Americanism led by Spanish-American republics. Although a few technical and nonpolitical conferences were held in the next few years, Pan-Americanism was discarded until the United States assumed the responsibility.

U.S. leadership marks the beginning of the "new" Pan-Americanism, dating from the 1880s until its demise in the 1930s. The "new" Pan-Americanism differed significantly from the "old." The four early conferences were dominated by the Spanish-American states and concerned themselves with problems that, while not exclusively Spanish American, seemed to threaten those states particularly. The meetings were usually provoked by the threat of outside aggression, and the solutions sought were political and military in nature. The "new" Pan-Americanism was more inclusive yet less ambitious in scope. It focused on low-profile issues, which contributed to increased conference participation and the building of Pan-Americanism into an institution of imposing size and machinery. Concomitantly, Latin Americans became increasingly vocal regarding U.S. dominance of hemispheric relations, culminating at the 1928 Havana conference.

Credit for inaugurating the series of "new" Pan-American conferences rests with James G. Blaine, who served as secretary of state in the brief (March to September 1881) administration of James A. Garfield. Blaine owed much of his genuine interest in Latin America to his admiration for Henry Clay. Both men envisioned a free-trade relationship among the countries of the Western Hemisphere. While U.S.Latin American trade was nearly immeasurable during Monroe's presidency in the 1820s, by the 1880s the United States faced a healthy unfavorable trade balance caused by its large purchases of Latin America's raw materials and the small sales of manufactured goods to the area in return.

In addition to trade issues, Blaine confronted several ongoing disputes. The worst of these was the War of the Pacific, in which Bolivia had been decisively defeated by Chile, whose troops were occupying Lima, Peru. The Chileans gave every indication of making vast territorial acquisitions at Bolivia's and Peru's expense. In addition, several boundary disputes threatened the stability of Latin America and provoked Blaine into assuming the unpopular role of peacemaker. Blaine's intentions were better than either his methods or his agents, and he incurred significant displeasure from Latin Americans during his brief first term in office. Following Garfield's death, Blaine resigned the secretaryship. Before leaving the State Department, however, he promoted a call for the first International Conference of American States, to be held in Washington, D.C. Blaine's successors, Frederick T. Freylinghuysen and Thomas F. Bayard, had little interest in Latin American affairs. Freylinghuysen withdrew Blaine's invitation for an Inter-American conference in Washington.

The movement was renewed a few years later by the U.S. Congress, when it sponsored a survey of Latin America's economic conditions. With a more friendly atmosphere, the First International Conference convened in 1889, when the secretary of state was again James G. Blaine. All of the American states except the Dominican Republic (its absence was due to U.S. failure to ratify a trade treaty with its Caribbean neighbor) sent delegations of high caliber. With some opposition Blaine was chosen chairman of the sessions, a post in which he demonstrated considerable tact and skill.

In the midst of its industrial revolution, the United States anticipated that the conference would bring economic benefits through a customs union. Toward that end, the Latin American delegates were entertained lavishly and given an impressive and fatiguing six thousand mile railroad tour through the industrial heart of the nation. Understanding the U.S. intention, the Latin American delegates, led by the Argentines, failed to accept Blaine's proposed customs union. As producers of raw materials, the Latin Americans preferred open markets. Opposition also came from some U.S. congressmen, particularly those from the nation's agricultural sectors. Instead, a program of separate reciprocal trade treaties was recommended; a few were instituted, decades ahead of the Good Neighbor program of the 1930s. On the political front, an ambitious arbitration treaty was watered down in conference, nullified by a minority of delegations, and ratified by no one.

The most notable achievement of the Washington conference was the establishment of the International Union of American Republics for the collection and distribution of commercial information. The agency to execute this command was the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics, supervised by the U.S. secretary of state in Washington, D.C. This bureau met regularly and, expanding in both size and functions, became a useful agency to the American states, though a far cry from the Pan-Americanism of Bolívar's day. The date of the union's establishment, 14 April 1890, became known as Pan-American Day.

Although the delegates to the First International Conference had not scheduled any future meetings, they left Washington with the clear intention of so doing. Nothing happened until 1899, when President William McKinley suggested another conclave. Only then did the Commercial Bureau act. It selected Mexico City as the site for the second conference and handled the drafting of agenda and invitations.


In this fashion the institutionalization of the International Conferences of American States developed. To reduce the appearance of U.S. domination, the conferences were held in the various Latin American capital cities, with the presumed hope of meeting in all of them. The record of attendance was very high, frequently unanimous, and only once were as many as three states absent (from Santiago, Chile, in 1923). The frequency of the sessions varied because of world wars, but four-or five-year intervals were the norm.

The second through sixth conferences (Mexico City, 19011902; Rio de Janeiro, 1906; Buenos Aires, 1910; Santiago, Chile, 1923; Havana, Cuba, 1928) experienced minimal success. The issues recurring most prominently at these meetings were arbitration, hemispheric peace, trade, the forcible collection of debts, U.S. dominance of the organization, and intervention by one state in the affairs of another (and, in the 1920s, arms control). Specific accomplishments of these many conferences were more modest. Resolutions, conventions, and treaties were often debated, but compromise was endless, and major solutions were rarely reached or ratified. One exception was the 1923 Gondra Treaty, designed to create machinery for the peaceful settlement of American disputes. This treaty served as the basis for similar machinery in the later Organization of American States. Major alterations included the substitution in 1910 of the name Pan-American

First Washington, D.C. 18891890
Second Mexico City 19011902
Third Rio de Janeiro 1906
Fourth Buenos Aires 1910
Fifth Santiago 1923
Sixth Havana 1928
Seventh Montevideo 1933
Eighth Lima 1938
Ninth Bogota 1948
Tenth Caracas 1954

Union for the Commercial Bureau, and in popular usage Pan-American Conference replaced International Conference of American States. From time to time some delegates expressed their dismay that Pan-Americanism was taking no steps toward the confederation so often praised, but the majority clearly preferred the use of the Pan-American Union as a sounding board for international public opinion and an agency that moved slowly in the settlement of specific problems.

The growing U.S. presence in the circum-Caribbean region after 1898 gave the Latin Americans cause for concern, and they used the Pan-American forums as the vehicle to chastise Washington's imperialistic policies. Before World War I, at Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires, the Latin Americans insisted on recognition of national sovereignty as a means to thwart U.S. intervention. For the same reasons, they joined the League of Nations following the end of World War I, hoping to use that international forum to curtail U.S. ambitions south of the Rio Grande River. When the United States failed to join the league, the Latin Americans lost interest in the organization, and by the mid-1920s their attendance at annual meetings had dwindled greatly. At Santiago in 1923 and again at Havana in 1928, the Latin Americans vociferously protested the U.S. domination of the hemispheric agenda and its continued presence in several circum-Caribbean countries. Only the efforts of former Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes prevented the passage of a resolution declaring that "no state has the right to intervene in the internal affairs of another." This was the last major U.S. stand on behalf of its interventionist policies.

In addition to the growing Latin American pressure, other factors influenced the United States to abandon its interventionist policy, and with it bring to an end the era of the "new" Pan-Americanism. The roots of the U.S. policy change can be traced to the end of World War I, which left Europe incapable of threatening the Western Hemisphere. Also, within the State Department since the early 1920s there was a growing frustration about the failure of the numerous interventions. The 1924 Democratic Party platform criticized the interventionist policy, a position repeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt, writing in Foreign Affairs in 1928. What did the United States have to show for its interventions in the circum-Caribbean region? the critics asked. As secretary of commerce, Herbert Hoover argued that the larger and more prosperous Latin American states refused to purchase U.S. goods as a protest against its Caribbean presence. And as president-elect in 1928, Hoover embarked on a goodwill tour of Central and South America, a harbinger of forthcoming change. Subsequently, State Department official Joshua Reuben Clark's Memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine renounced U.S. interventions in Latin America's domestic affairs under the terms of the Monroe Doctrine.

The policy shift climaxed on 4 March 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt, in his inaugural address, promised to be a "good neighbor." Originally intended for all the world, in application it came to apply to Latin America. A further indicator of Roosevelt's intention not to interfere in Latin America's internal affairs was the selection of Sumner Welles as assistant secretary of state, a man who believed that hemispheric relations should be conducted on the basis of absolute equality. The policy shift was completed at the 1933 Montevideo conference, where the U.S. delegation approved the Convention on Rights and Duties of the States. It affirmed that "No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another." The Latin American delegates at Montevideo were equally pleased when Secretary of State Cordell Hull announced that their countries need not fear intervention during the Roosevelt administration. Still, the Latin Americans needed to be reassured. Not sharing Washington's concerns about the rising European war clouds, they were not interested in discussing hemispheric defense at the 1936 Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace held in Buenos Aires, and in 1938 at the Lima Conference. Instead, they pressed for, and received, additional U.S. pledges of nonintervention. With these pledges, the "new Pan-Americanism" passed into history.

Roosevelt's words were followed by pragmatic actions. American troops were withdrawn from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. The United States did not interfere in either the Cuban or the Panamanian political turmoil of the 1930s. In fact, a new treaty with Panama provided additional advantages to the isthmian republic. Nor did the United States act when Central American dictators Tiburcio Carías, Maximiliano Hernández-Martínez, Anastasio Somoza, and Jorge Ubico illegally extended their presidential terms. A potentially explosive question raised by Mexico's expropriation of vast foreign oil holdings was treated by the Roosevelt administration as a matter of concern between the Mexican government and the oil companies.

Contrasted with the "old," the "new" Pan-Americanism was marked by more concern for nonpolitical objectives, both technical and social. The "old" had been geographically more restrictive and often purely Spanish; the "new" was deliberately hemispheric in scope, and the leadership clearly rested with the United States. Just as the "new" Pan-Americanism was passing into history, the trajectory of inter-American relations took yet another turn, and again the United States took the leadership role. Confronted with international crisesthe Great Depression, World War II, and the cold warthe United States attempted to incorporate the Pan-American movement into its international policies.

The world was staggering under economic collapse when Franklin D. Roosevelt took the presidential oath in March 1933. World trade had declined by 25 percent in volume and by 66 percent in value since 1929. At the same time, U.S. trade with Latin America had declined more drastically: exports, by 78 percent in value and imports, by 68 percent. Convinced that economic nationalism exacerbated the depression, Secretary of State Hull sought the liberalization of trade polices. Congress consented in 1934 with the passage of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, which enabled the U.S. government to strike beneficial tariff agreements with trading partners. Latin America fit neatly into the plan because it did not have a competitive industrial sector, nor did its major exports compete with U.S. commodities. In comparison, the United States was in a stronger position because it could serve as Latin America's chief supplier of manufactured goods, and given the fact that reciprocal trade agreements ments favored the principal supplier, tariff negotiations would focus only on products that constituted the chief source of supply. In sum, the act gave the U.S. a favorable negotiating position.

The Latin Americans understood the U.S. position, and that understanding contributed to the refusal of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay to reach trade agreements with the United States. The United States managed to conclude agreements only with countries that were heavily dependent upon its markets for agriculture (usually monoculture) exports: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In the end, the reciprocal trade agreements with these countries had little economic impact, but for the Central American dictators the agreements provided an air of legitimacy for their illegal regimes.

Negotiations with Brazil illustrated the need to address another international issue: the threat of Nazi Germany to the Western Hemisphere. In addition to Brazil, influential German communities were located in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay. Over the course of the 1930s the United States viewed these communities as threats to hemispheric stability by spreading German propaganda, sending funds back to Berlin to be used for Nazi purposes, and engaging in espionage and, possibly, sabotage. The increased U.S. concern with Axis influence prompted Washington policymakers to commence western hemispheric defense plans in 1936. For the most part, Latin America's political leadership did not share Washington's concerns, and believed that Roosevelt was using the European troubles to circumvent the nonintervention pledge made in 1933 at Montevideo. Only after the German invasion of Poland in 1939 and the fall of France in June 1940 did the Latin American nations feel a sense of urgency about hemispheric defense. Until then, the United States obtained only an innocuous agreement at the 1936 Buenos Aires conference, reaffirmed at Lima in 1938, which called for consultation when an emergency threatened the hemisphere. The Lima conference was the last regular meeting of the American states until after World War II, but on three occasions the foreign ministers convened to confront wartime issues. Their work proved essential to the continuity of Pan-Americanism at a time when world-scale military agreements took precedence.

The first meeting of the foreign ministers took place in Panama City after the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. To protect hemispheric neutrality, the ministers agreed upon a safety zone south of Canada, extending an average of three hundred miles out to sea around the remainder of the hemisphere. Belligerent nations were warned not to commit hostile acts within this zone. Within a matter of weeks the zone was violated by both the British and the Germans, and frequent ship scuttlings in American waters in 1940 made the zone something of a nullity. More important, however, was the unanimity of the Americans in their resolve to keep the war away.

The second meeting of the Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs (the full title of these sessions) followed the fall of France to the Germans in June 1940. Again at the urging of the United States, the ministers met at Havana, Cuba, in July to discuss the question of European colonies in the Western Hemisphere and the danger of their falling into German hands. They agreed upon the Act of Havana, which provided that if a non-American state (Germany) should attempt to obtain from another non-American state (France, for example) any islands or other regions in the Americas, one or more American states would step in to administer such territory until it was able to govern itself freely or had been restored to its previous status. Fear that the Axis powers might attempt to occupy some of the many possessions in America was real enough; however, no such attempt was made. The ministers also affirmed the Declaration of Reciprocal Assistance and Cooperation for the Defense of the Nations of the Americas, the gist of which was that an attack upon the sovereignty of any American state was to be treated as an attack upon them all, a further broadening or multilateralizing of the Monroe Doctrine in process since 1933.

The third and last wartime meeting of the foreign ministers convened at the request of Chile and the United States as a consequence of the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The statesmen met at Rio de Janeiro in January 1942, by which time ten American nations, including the United States, had declared war upon the Axis powers. The U.S. military services were not anxious for the participation of underequipped and poorly trained Latin American forces in a global struggle. U.S. military officials agreed with many of the ministers that the proper gesture would be the severing of diplomatic relations, which would eliminate the Axis influence in the Americas, and thereby help to reduce the flow of classified information to those governments. However, a strong declaration requiring the American states to break relations (favored by Secretary Hull) was so rigidly opposed by Argentina and Chile that the U.S. delegation, led by Sumner Welles, settled for a milder version that merely recommended such an action. The issue was deeper than one of semantics, for the Argentines were doing more than expressing their usual reluctance to appear to be following U.S. policy. The Argentine military was actually pro-German and gave considerable assistance to the Axis in the war.

The most important agreements at Rio dealt with the elimination of Axis influence in the Americas. With the exception of Argentina and Chile, the Latin American governments agreed to cooperate with the United States in deporting selected German nationals and their descendants back to Germany or to internment camps in the United States. Those who remained behind would be subject to tight supervision of their properties and greatly restricted freedoms. With a few exceptions, such as Brazil, Chile and Mexico, the war impacted adversely upon the Latin American economies, setting the stage for postwar political and social upheaval.

The United States also spread its ideals, values, and culture throughout Latin America via the wartime Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA), headed by Nelson A. Rockefeller. OIAA proselytized the war's democratic objectives through educational programs and dissemination of propaganda literature and Spanish-language Walt Disney films. It sponsored visits by U.S. artists, writers, and athletes to Latin America, and brought many Latin American students and professionals to U.S. institutions for advanced training. Of course, this was Pan-Americanism as seen by the United States, and it did not always achieve universal acceptance. Sometimes too glossy, and frequently expensive, it was reasonably sincere even when some cultural programs insulted the intelligence of the Latin Americans. But under the veneer was a solid construction of goodwill, and the U.S. policymakersSumner Welles, Cordell Hull, Nelson Rockefeller, and Franklin D. Rooseveltunderstood the Latin American need for equality and dignity.


Toward the close of the war, the American states met in the Inter-American Conference on the Problems of War and Peace at Mexico City in February 1945. Uninvited Argentina was conspicuously absent. The diplomats focused their attention upon the place that Pan-American regionalism would have in the plans for the proposed United Nations. Prodded by the United States, the Latin Americans insisted upon their right to protect themselves without having to seek the approval of the UN Security Council. Ultimately this demand was approved in the UN Charter. The conference also recommended that Argentina, after declaring war on the Axis, be permitted to participate in the San Francisco sessions that formalized the United Nations. The delegates drafted the Act of Chapultepec, which required the states to conclude a treaty of reciprocal assistance, a treaty on the settlement of disputes, and a new regional arrangement that would substitute a permanent treaty for the various informal agreements underlying the inter-American association in the past. These objectives were concluded in 1947 at a special conference in Rio de Janeiro and in 1948 at Bogota, Colombia, when the next regular International Conference of American States (the ninth) convened. Significantly, these meetings came at a time when the Truman administration was fashioning a Latin American policy that reflected its larger global strategy of containing Soviet aggression.

The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, signed at Rio de Janeiro on 2 September 1947, committed the signatories to the solidarity sought against external aggression since Bolívar's days. An armed attack by a state against any American state was henceforth considered an attack against all, and each contracting party agreed to assist in meeting the attack. The assistance would be rendered collectively, following a consultation of the inter-American system and in accordance with the constitutional process of each nation, a recognition that not all countries were practicing democracies. The same obligations also applied should an armed attack occur within the region. In 1947, however, influenced by the World War II experience, policymakers focused upon potential external aggression.

The 1948 Bogota conference was nearly destroyed when the assassination of a popular Liberal Party leader was followed by citywide rioting. Nevertheless, the sessions were completed. The treaty for the pacific settlement of disputes was signed, but with so many additions and amendments that several states failed to ratify it. The major achievement was the reorganization of the entire inter-American system by the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), the first permanent treaty basis for the old structure. The charter declares the principles upon which the organization is based and the necessity for such machinery to be welded into the UN framework. Briefly, the OAS accomplishes its purposes by means of the following:

  1. The Inter-American Conference, the supreme organ of the OAS, meeting every five years to decide general policy and action.
  2. The Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, called to discuss urgent matters and to serve as the organ of consultation.
  3. The Council of the Organization of American States, meeting in permanent session and composed of one delegate from each member state. The council takes cognizance of matters referred to it by the agencies listed above and supervises the Pan-American Union.
  4. The Pan-American Union is the general secretariat of the OAS, with a wide variety of functions. In addition there are several organs of the Council, specialized organizations, and special agencies and commissions.

In the 1960s several amendments were made to the OAS charter, the most fundamental being the replacement of the Inter-American Conference with an annual general assembly.

The final measure that incorporated Pan-Americanism into the U.S. global strategies came with U.S. congressional approval of the Military Assistance Program (MAP) in 1951. Since the end of World War II in 1945, the Truman administration had pushed Congress to approve MAP, designed to harmonize military equipment, training, and strategy throughout the hemisphere. Congress consistently resisted, on the grounds that the United States would be blamed for securing the positions of Latin American dictators. But with a global cold war, Congress relented. From 1951 through 1960, the U.S. materiel supplied to Latin America focused upon the need to resist external aggression in general, and to protect the Panama Canal and Venezuelan and Mexican oil supplies, in particular. In addition, Latin American military officers received training at U.S. military bases and institutions, most notably the School of the Americas in the Panama Canal Zone.

During the period 19451951, administration spokesmen continued to espouse traditional Pan-American ideals, such as the need for political stability, faith in democracy, and promises of nonintervention. While preaching these ideals, the United States ignored Latin American demands for an end to dictatorships and an improvement in the quality of life for the less fortunate. Until the mid-1950s, communism in Europe and Asia appeared more important.

In Latin America the tendency to indict social and political reformers as communists intensified as the cold war took root. Fearing the personal consequences of changes to the established order, Latin America's political leadership and socioeconomic elites came to accept the U.S. view that these reformers were Moscow-directed communists and that they were part of the Soviet scheme for world domination. The test case became Guatemala, where reformers Juan José Arévalo and Jacobo Arbenz introduced social programs that challenged the local elite's privileges. Arbenz's nationalization of United Fruit Company lands convinced Secretary of State John Foster Dulles of the need for action. In 1954 he took his case to the tenth inter-American conference at Caracas, where he sought a multinational blessing for a unilateral action. Dulles denied the existence of indigenous communist movements and asserted that every nation in the hemisphere had been penetrated by international communists under Moscow's direction. He called for decisive action, presumably under the terms of the Rio treaty, to eliminate subversive activities in the hemisphere. In effect, Dulles sought to Pan-Americanize the Monroe Doctrine in order to prevent what he alleged was Soviet penetration of the Western Hemisphere. Dulles did not single out Guatemala, but all present understood it was the target. Following the vote, Dulles left Caracas just as the conference began its discussion of Latin America's social and economic distress.

At Caracas, the U.S.-sponsored resolution was approved by a 171 vote, with Guatemala dissenting and Argentina and Mexico abstaining. A month later the Central Intelligence Agency sponsored an "invasion" of Guatemala by loyalist forces that ousted Arbenz and restored the traditional order. The United States manipulated events at the United Nations to prevent international scrutiny of its actions. Under Article 51 of the UN Charter, regional organizations were permitted to deal with regional problems before the United Nations intervened. In this case, the United States convinced the Security Council that the OAS had the Guatemalan situation under control.

The U.S. actions fueled anti-American sentiment across Latin America. Coupled with its failure to address the region's socioeconomic problems, the intervention in Guatemala reaffirmed Latin America's view that the United States did not intend to treat its southern neighbors as equals. Security from foreign intervention remained at the heart of Pan-Americanism, but since the late 1930s only the United States had determined the parameters of the threat.

The rise of communism as a threat in Latin America unquestionably provoked the feeling among many Americans, both North and South, that the Pan-American movement needed a long-range program to improve the economy and quality of life across South America. The first organized economic assistance to Latin America had been a part of the Good Neighbor program of the 1930s. Other precedents rested with the Point Four and mutual security programs during the Truman administration. Still, these programs did not address the disparities that characterized Latin America's socioeconomic landscape. In 1958, when Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek suggested some kind of "Economic Pan America," he unknowingly forewarned of Latin America's impending social revolutions. In response to Kubitschek's appeal, the OAS and the United Nations developed financial assistance programs for the hemisphere, and the Eisenhower administration initiated the Social Progress Trust Fund, but little was accomplished until the success of Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba, which by 1961 destroyed Cuba's traditional political, social, and economic orders.

To meet the challenge, in 1961 President John F. Kennedy implemented the Alliance for Progress, which pledged a U.S. contribution of $1 billion per year over a ten-year period to modernize Latin America's economic and political systems. In effect the alliance was an admission that previous private and public investment and technical assistance programs alone were insufficient for the steady development of the region. The Latin Americans were to raise a total of $80 billion in investment capital over that ten-year period. Machinery for the alliance was established in 1961 at Punta del Este, Uruguay. The aim was to increase the per capita wealth of participating Latin American states by 2.5 percent each year for ten years. The revolutionary elements of the alliance, the vast amount of cooperative spending, and the strict requirementssuch as tax reform, a commitment to land distribution, and broadening the democratic processin order to qualify for alliance assistance raised the expectations of many Latin Americans.

For the most part, expectations were not realized. Despite advances in gross national products and progress in land tenure patterns, education, and health care, the same people who were in power in 1960 remained the most privileged in the 1970s, and the socioeconomic gap between them and the poor had not narrowed. There was sufficient blame to go around. Latin American elites refused to accept economic and political reforms. Latin Americans wanted a larger share in the decision making; the U.S. government wanted to give them less. As the fear of Castroism diminished by the late 1960s, owing to the bankruptcy of the Cuban economy and the emergence of military governments throughout Latin America, so did regional interest in socioeconomic reform. U.S. administrators and members of Congress became frustrated with Latin America's graft and corruption. Latin America's blip on the U.S. radar screen disappeared with the continuing crises in the Middle East and in Vietnam. Subsequently, the Watergate scandal preoccupied the Nixon administration until its downfall in 1973 and marred the brief presidency of Gerald Ford. Although aid to Latin America continued in reduced form after 1970, the U.S. Congress continually asked questions about the validity of any foreign aid program. In the vacuum created by the U.S. absence, the Latin American governments either turned inward or looked beyond the Western Hemisphere for economic assistance.

If the spirit of mutual respect projected in the early days of the alliance was jeopardized by the program's inadequacies, it was destroyed by unilateral U.S. political decisions: the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961; the Cuban missile crisis in 1962; the landing of U.S. marines in the Dominican Republic in 1965; and the sale of U.S. arms to Latin America's military governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For all intents and purposes, a Pan-American consciousness did not exist by the mid-1970s.

President Jimmy Carter came to Washington in January 1977 determined to repair the damage done to Pan-Americanism during the previous fifteen years. He set the tone by negotiating treaties with Panama that returned the canal to that country in 2000. He made friendly gestures toward Cuba, which had been ousted from the inter-American system and had been experiencing a U.S. trade embargo since 1961. His human rights policy gave credence to the ideals of Pan-Americanism, but prompted the military governments in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile to produce their own armaments, and forced the besieged Central Americans to purchase their equipment on the world market.

If Carter had nudged toward closer cooperation with Latin America, President Ronald Reagan took several steps backward. His insistence that the Central American civil wars of the 1980s were yet another Soviet effort to extend communism in the Western Hemisphere fell on deaf ears in Latin America. Not only did Reagan fail to gain the support of the OAS, but his position was openly challenged by the Contadora GroupColombia, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuelawhich received encouragement from the "support group" of Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Uruguay. The Latin Americans perceived the Central American crisis as a local one, caused by the socioeconomic and political disparities that characterized the region, not Soviet interventionism. These nations were determined to bring peace to the embattled region at the expense of the United States. Their efforts led eventually to the successful peace initiative by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sánchez, who received the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Other U.S. unilateral actions that damaged inter-American relations included its invasions of Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989) and the threatened invasion of Haiti (1993). In tightening its embargo against Cuba in the early 1990s, the United States placed itself outside the hemispheric trend, which included the opening of trade relations between Cuba and several Latin American countries and Canada.

While U.S. Cold War policies gave credence to the charges of U.S. hegemonic influence over hemispheric affairs, they also severely damaged the spirit of Pan-Americanism. And the political purpose of Pan-Americanism, hemispheric security from a European threat that dated to the days of Simón Bolívar, disappeared with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

As the twentieth century came to a close, three issues dominated the hemispheric agenda: illegal drugs, migration, and commerce. Because these problems are multinational, each provides the opportunity for reviving the intention of Pan-Americanism: cooperation among the nations of the Western Hemisphere. While drugs have corrupted governments and terrified society in such places as Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru, all hemispheric nations pay a heavy social and economic price for drug use. Rather than find a common ground for cooperation, the United States and Latin America place responsibility at one another's doorstep. Washington policymakers appear determined to eradicate drugs at the sourcethe remote areas of Colombia and the Andean countriesand to punish those nations that serve as transit points for the entry of drugs into the United States. In contrast, the Latin Americans charge that if U.S. residents cut their demand, there would be a concomitant decrease in the production of illegal drugs.

Migration, particularly of Latin Americans to the United States, is a most vexing problem. Given the fact that since the mid-1980s democratic governments have taken root across the region, save Cuba, immigrants can no longer claim to be escaping political persecution, the most valid reason for seeking asylum in the United States. Instead the new migrants are seen as economic refugees, and therefore are not admissible under current U.S. law. The United States also focuses its attention on the poor and unskilled immigrants, not the skilled or professional workers who are absorbed quickly into the North American economy and society. The unskilled workers are viewed as a threat to U.S. workers and a drain upon state and federal social programs that sustain them. On the other hand, Latin American nations fret at the loss of skilled and professional workers, but not the loss of the unskilled (because of limited economic opportunities for them at home). Furthermore, these workers remit badly needed U.S. currency to their relatives at home, and these monies become an important part of smaller nations' gross domestic product.

One way to address the drug and migration problems in Latin America is economic development, and since the 1980s these nations have become increasingly involved in the global economy. At first, regional cooperation appeared to be the best route. Toward that end several regional economic organizations were formed. The Central American Common Market (CACM) dates to 1959. Others include the Andean Pact (1969) and the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) of 1972. Each took on new significance with the globalization process that began in the 1980s. The most promising organization appears to be the Southern Cone Common Market (MERCOSUR). Established in 1991, it brought together Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay for the purpose of establishing a customs union similar to the European Union. By 2000 Chile and Bolivia had become associate members in anticipation of full membership at some point in the future. The United States joined the parade in 1993 when Congress finally approved the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), linking it with Mexico and Canada in what is to be a free market by 2005. But the United States would go no farther. Congress denied President Bill Clinton "fast track" negotiating privileges to reach an accord with Chile that would bring the latter into the NAFTA accord. The latter congressional action may be symptomatic of the basic problem that has plagued the Pan-American movement since its inception in the early nineteenth century: national interest.

In June 1990, President George H. W. Bush launched the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative, its ultimate goal being a free trade zone "stretching from the port of Anchorage to the Tierra del Fuego." Shortly thereafter the NAFTA agreement was concluded, prompting many analysts to predict that it would become the vehicle to expand free trade throughout the Western Hemisphere. President Bill Clinton kept the initiative alive when he convened a meeting of thirty-four heads of state (only Cuba's Fidel Castro was not invited) in Miami in December 1994. This was the first such gathering since 1967. In the end, the signatories designated 2005 as a deadline for the conclusion of negotiating a Free Trade Association of the Americas (FTAA), with implementation to follow in subsequent years. Advocates hailed the agreement for its high-minded principles and ambitious goals. Critics lamented its vagueness and its drawn-out timetable. The pledge of free trade was repeated when the heads of state gathered again in Santiago, Chile, in 1998 and Quebec City, Canada, in April 2001. In between, technical committees have been working on the details of a free trade pact. Still, national interests stand in the way. Given the history of inter-American relations, Latin Americans question the sincerity of the U.S. commitment to hemispheric free trade. Brazil has made clear its intention to unite all of South America into one trading bloc before dealing with the FTAA. Mexico has signed a trade agreement with the European Union, and the MERCOSUR partnership is seeking agreements with Europe and South Africa. Chile, the unabashed example of free market reforms, pursues its own global strategies.

The world has changed drastically since the Latin Americans sought security from European intervention in the nineteenth century. It also has changed from the early twentieth century through the end of the cold war, when the United States single-handedly worked to keep the Europeans out of the Western Hemisphere. With the end of the Cold War, the need for hemispheric political security disappeared, at least momentarily, and with it, the original reason for the Pan-American movement. But the realities of the new worlddrugs, migration, and commerceprovide the opportunity to revive the Pan-American spirit. The challenge before the nations of the Western Hemisphere is great: Can they overcome the national interests that have plagued the relationship in the past?


Aguilar, Alonzo. Pan-Americanism from the Monroe Doctrine to the Present. New York, 1968. A critical Latin American assessment of Pan-Americanism.

Burr, Robert N., and Roland D. Hussey, eds. Documents on Inter-American Cooperation. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1955. Includes well-selected and well-edited documents from 1810 to 1948.

Gellman, Irwin F. Good Neighbor Diplomacy: United States Policies in Latin America, 19331945. Baltimore, 1979.

Gil, Federico G. Latin AmericanUnited States Relations. New York, 1971. A dated but popular survey of the subject, providing broad, not intensive, coverage.

Gilderhus, Mark T. Pan-American Visions: Woodrow Wilson in the Western Hemisphere, 19131921. Tucson, Ariz., 1986.

. The Second Century: U.S.Latin American Relations Since 1889. Wilmington, Del., 2000.

Harrison, Lawrence E. The Pan-American Dream.

Boulder, Colo., 1991. A most critical assessment of U.S. aid policies to Latin America.

Inman, Samuel Guy. Inter-American Conferences, 18261954. Washington, D.C., 1965. Gives accounts, both personal and official, by perhaps the most zealous specialist on Latin America and includes intimate information available from no other source.

Johnson, John J. A Hemisphere Apart: The Foundations of United States Policy Toward Latin America. Baltimore, 1990.

LaRosa, Michael, and Frank O. Mora, eds. Neighborly Adversaries: Readings in U.S.Latin American Relations. Lanham, Md., 1999. Updates the volume by Burr and Hussey.

Lockey, James B. Pan-Americanism: Its Beginnings. New York, 1920. A good starting point for understanding the concept of Pan-Americanism that provides a detailed, sympathetic study of the movement from independence through the end of the Panama congress of 1826.

Mecham, J. Lloyd. The United States and Inter-American Security, 18891960. Austin, Tex., 1961. One of the foremost studies of Pan-Americanism, providing a detailed, chronological approach to all the major conferences.

Merk, Frederick. Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History: A Reinterpretation. New York, 1963.

Pastor, Robert A. Condemned to Repetition: The United States and Nicaragua. Princeton, N.J., 1987.

Paterson, Thomas G. Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution. New York, 1994.

Perkins, Whitney T. Constraint of Empire: The United States and Caribbean Interventions. Westport, Conn., 1981. A crisp analysis of the circum-Caribbean region.

Rabe, Stephen G. Eisenhower and Latin America: The Foreign Policy of Anticommunism. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1988.

Scheman, L. Ronald. The Inter-American Dilemma: The Search for Inter-American Cooperation at the Centennial of the Inter-American System. New York, 1988.

Scheman, L. Ronald, ed. The Alliance for Progress: A Retrospective. New York, 1988.

Schoultz, Lars, ed. Security, Democracy and Development in U.S.Latin American Relations. Miami, Fla., 1994.

Sheinin, David, ed. Beyond the Ideal: Pan-Americanism in Inter-American Affairs. Westport, Conn., 2000. An important collection of essays that demonstrates the utilization of Pan-Americanism beyond the security issue.

Smith, Peter H. Talons of the Eagle: The Dynamics of U.S.Latin American Relations. New York, 1996. A broad survey that includes the Latin American response to U.S. hegemony.

Weintraub, Sidney, ed. Integrating the Americas: Shaping Future Trade Policy. New Brunswick, N.J., 1994.

Whitaker, Arthur P. The Western Hemisphere Idea: Its Rise and Decline. Ithaca, N.Y., 1954. A stimulating study of Pan-Americanism as an idea and of how time has destroyed much of the buttressing hemispheric relations.

See also Dictatorships; Intervention and Nonintervention; Narcotics Policy; Recognition.

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Pan-Americanism, movement toward commercial, social, economic, military, and political cooperation among the nations of North, Central, and South America.

In the Nineteenth Century

The struggle for independence after 1810 among the Latin American nations evoked a sense of unity, especially in South America where, under Simón Bolívar in the north and José de San Martín in the south, there were cooperative efforts. Francisco Morazán briefly headed a Central American Federation. The United States was looked upon as a model, and recognition of the new republics was a part of U.S. foreign policy. Henry Clay and Thomas Jefferson set forth the principles of Pan-Americanism in the early 1800s, and soon afterward the United States declared through the Monroe Doctrine a new policy with regard to interference by European nations in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere. Initially welcomed, despite establishing U.S. hegemony, the doctrine later was seen by many Latin American nations as a mask for U.S. imperialistic ambitions.

In the 19th cent., Latin American military nationalism came to the fore. Venezuela and Ecuador withdrew (1830) from Greater Colombia; the Central American Federation collapsed (1838); Argentina and Brazil fought continually over Uruguay, and then all three combined in the War of the Triple Alliance (1865–70) to defeat Paraguay; and in the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia. However, during this same period Pan-Americanism existed in the form of a series of Inter-American Conferences—Panama (1826), Lima (1847), Santiago (1856), and Lima (1864). The main object of those meetings was to provide for a common defense. The first of the modern Pan-American Conferences was held (1889–90) in Washington, D.C., with all nations represented except the Dominican Republic. Treaties for arbitration of disputes and adjustment of tariffs were adopted, and the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics, which became the Pan-American Union, was established. Subsequent meetings were held in various Latin American cities.

In the Twentieth Century

In the early 20th cent., U.S. manipulation to secure the Panama Canal and its intervention in the affairs of other Latin American states, combined to create Latin American resentment toward the United States. There was progress, however, in the codification of international law, acceptance of peace machinery, and creation of scientific and social agencies. Troubles nonetheless continued to flare. A major war was fought (1932–35) between Bolivia and Paraguay over the Chaco (see Gran Chaco). Strained relations between the United States and Panama were temporarily resolved by a treaty signed in 1936. Although it still restricted Panama's sovereignty, it ended the American right of intervention.

With the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt a policy of determined cordiality toward Latin America—the "Good Neighbor" policy—bore fruit. As World War II approached, the nations of the Western Hemisphere drew closer together. Conferences held in 1936 and 1938 provided for consultation in case of outside threat. Accordingly, after the outbreak of World War II the Inter-American Neutrality Conference was held (1939) in Panama. A conference of foreign ministers at Havana produced (1940) the Act of Havana, declaring against changes of sovereignty in the Western Hemisphere. Most of the Latin American nations (with the notable exception of Argentina) supported or actually joined the Allies after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

A significant step was taken at the Inter-American Conference on the Problems of War and Peace in Mexico City in 1945. The Act of Chapultepec, adopted there by 20 republics, called for joint action in repelling aggression against an American state, including that by another American state. Acceptance by Argentina established machinery to enforce peace in the Western Hemisphere. This was formalized by the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (the Rio Treaty). In other fields, too, cooperation advanced, as in commercial and financial matters (e.g., the Inter-American Bank). As a consequence of the growing awareness of interdependence the Bogotá Conference of 1948 produced the Organization of American States (OAS) to promote hemispheric unity. In the late 1950s the United States took steps toward an international price agreement on agricultural products and minerals, a measure long advocated by Latin American republics plagued by one-product economies. The Inter-American Development Bank began operations early in 1960.

Since the 1960s one of the most persistent issues facing the inter-American system has been the Communist government in Cuba and the strong opposition to it in the United States. Fidel Castro's support for Communist guerrilla forces in other Latin American countries led, in 1962, to Cuba's expulsion from the OAS. The vote, however, was not unanimous; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico abstained. Nonetheless, in the same year Latin American nations backed the United States in its blockade of Cuba following the construction of missile bases there. By the 1990s, however, almost all Latin American countries had resumed trade and diplomatic relations with Cuba. In 1989, in yet another clash with Panama, the United States invaded to remove its de facto leader, Manuel Noriega, and to establish an elected government, despite the OAS's calls for U.S. withdrawal.

With the introduction of the Alliance for Progress in 1961, the United States undertook a long-term plan of economic assistance. In partial recognition of the weakness of this program, the Declaration of the Presidents of America was signed (1967) in Punta del Este, Uruguay, expressing commitment to Latin American economic integration, i.e., the creation of a common market (see Central American Common Market; Latin American Integration Association). Although economic cooperation has not proceeded as quickly as originally planned, there has been progress toward the lowering of trade barriers in both North and South America, especially with the creation of Mercosur in 1991 and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1992. These developments kept alive hopes for ultimate inter-American economic integration, and in Apr., 2001, 34 Western Hemisphere nations committed themselves to the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas, but negotiations toward its creation subsequently stalled.


See J. L. Lockey, Pan Americanism: Its Beginnings (1920, repr. 1970); W. S. Robertson, History of Latin America (3d ed. 1943); A. P. Whitaker, The Western Hemisphere Idea, Its Rise and Decline (1954, repr. 1965); A. Aguilar, Pan-Americanism from Monroe to the Present (1965); R. B. Gray, ed., Latin America and the United States in the 1970s (1971); J. E. Fagg, Pan-Americanism (1982).

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