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Braden, Spruille (1894–1978)

Braden, Spruille (1894–1978)

Spruille Braden (b. 13 March 1894; d. 10 January 1978), U.S. mining entrepreneur and diplomat. Born in Elkhorn, Montana, and educated at Yale, Braden managed numerous copper-mining and business ventures in South America, particularly in Chile. By the early 1930s, he was owner or director of power and light companies in South America and of diverse North American firms. He served intermittently as a diplomat in the 1920s and turned to full-time public service in 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt named him ambassador-delegate to the Chaco Peace Conference. Braden was among the first to sound the alarm over Axis incursions into the Western Hemisphere. As ambassador to Colombia (1938–1941), he struggled against German-controlled airlines in that country (and against the Germans' partner, Pan-American World Airways). He gained further fame for his anti-Axis operations as ambassador to Cuba (1941–1944).

The apogee and collapse of Braden's career came in 1945–1947. In 1945 he was named ambassador to Argentina, with which the State Department had been feuding since Argentina's refusal to join the hemispheric anti-Axis front in 1942. He clashed with Colonel Juan Perón, Argentina's emerging strongman, as well as with the Rockefeller (that is, Latin Americanist or liberal) faction of the State Department and with the British, both of whom urged conciliation with Argentina. Braden rallied the Argentine opposition to Perón and later attempted to use Argentina's flirtation with the Axis (documented in the Blue Book) to influence the election of 1946. These acts were considered violations of diplomatic norms and were also failures: Argentina was admitted to the United Nations at the San Francisco Conference (1945) and Perón was elected president (1946). Confirmed as under secretary of state for American Republic affairs late in 1945, Braden imposed his anti-Peronism on U.S. foreign policy; however, this policy became irrelevant in the cold war. The ensuing stalemate between Braden and Ambassador George Messersmith in Buenos Aires was resolved in June 1947 when Secretary of State Dean Acheson dismissed the ambassador and allowed Braden to resign. In retirement, Braden became a vocal cold warrior.

See alsoPerón, Juan Domingo .


Spruille Braden, Diplomats and Demagogues: The Memoirs of Spruille Braden (1971).

Roger R. Trask, "Spruille Braden Versus George Messer-smith: World War II, the Cold War, and Argentine Policy, 1945–1947," in Journal of Interamerican Studies 26, no. 1 (February 1984): 69-95.

                          Ronald C. Newton

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