The United States and Latin America
ECONOMIC LIFE AND MILITARY SAFETY OF THE HEMISPHERE
By V. M. SCANLAN, Chairman, Executive Committee, First National Bank, Hattiesburg, Miss.
Delivered before the Hattiesburg Rotary Club, October 26, 1943
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 184-189.
IN sorrowful contradistinction to that of North American colonists, the history of the Colonists of the Latin Americas is without the slightest measure of freedom, And is full of all the inefficiency, corruption and poverty, which mismanagement, and oppression could perpetrate.
These Latin Colonies bore their heavy yoke for 300 years. Had we remained under Colonial government as long as did Latin America, we should not have become free till about 1920.
Settlements were slow, and badly directed. The Colonists were given little aid or encouragement. Agriculture for local support and for the benefit of the mother land, and the gathering of raw materials for the enrichment of Spain's economy were the main pursuits.
In their administration, the resident rulers, on the whole, were more often than not weak, corrupt and cruel.
The Spanish aristocracy, and the Church, completely dominated the entire colonial life. Great landed estates, almost feudalistic in character and management, were operated on a grand scale. The country was cursed by caste.
The wealth amassed, and the culture wrought in Latin America by the Spanish ruling classes never reached the great masses. Throughout their entire Colonial period, the masses continued to be but a part of the multitudes, whom grasping, pitiless crowned heads so long ploughed under to enrich their empires.
The Latin American provinces were greatly stirred by the independence of the North American Colonies. Finally, when Spain became immersed in European difficulties, the South American Colonies began striking for their freedom. During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the last vestige of Spanish rule was driven from Latin America, except Cuba and Porto Rico. Brazil did not become independent till 1889.
The story of the struggle of the Latin American Colonies for liberty constitutes a saga, scarcely surpassed by any in the annals of man. Three hundred years of brutal Spanish rule had done its worst for the Spanish Colonies. They were poor beyond measure, with the most limited knowledge and means for waging war. But with the courage and desperation, born of their centuries of oppression, they, fighting sometimes alone, more often together, finally wrung from Spain the complete liberty of all.
Latin America's long struggle for liberty brought forth a group of great men—soldiers, statesmen, scholars and jurists, whose names will forever emblazon the pages of history. The prodigious ability and accomplishments of these illustrious patriots made unerring prophesy of the future greatness of Latin America.
The Latin American States patterned their new governments after ours. They adopted appropriate constitutions for republican states, and organized accordingly their administrative and judicial machinery.
They found themselves even less prepared for self-government than they had been for war. With empty treasuries, credit, and destitute of strong friends; with only a drearyoutline of their internal organizations, and a hazy blueprint of their future; with boundary lines almost everywhere indeterminate and a puzzling composition of races, possessing customs and cultures which rendered uniform government exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, the Latin American states assumed their brave, precarious places as free nations.
For more than a hundred years these republics have been free from external compulsion. Not yet has one of them established a genuinely democratic regime. All of their governments have, from the beginning, possessed the attributes of authoritarianism. By electoral fraud, executive fiat and official domination, the constitutional rights of the people have continuously been defeated or suspended.
This deplorable condition has been implicit in the political life of all the Latin American States, because the masses were not prepared for republican government. They have had the heart-breaking task of repairing the damages wrought by their long centuries of hard colonial life, which denied them every semblance of liberty, stilled the impulses of cohesion and stifled the attributes which inspire the sacred obligations of self-government. They have had to assimilate successive progenies of unrestrained race blending which early attained a majority that has steadily increased, in most of the states, to control the political balance of power, causing disunity and promoting conditions that have conspired to produce strong, arbitrary government.
For the lack of their own capital, these countries have achieved comparatively little industrial development. This has resulted in the continuance of the old Colonial necessity of paying heavy tribute in buying their manufactured requirements abroad, and paying for them with raw materials. This severe barrier to progress has been attended by its blighting corollary in the severe inadequacy of national incomes to provide fiscal necessities, piling onerous duties on their heavy imports which, with their pitifully low wages, made too low the standard of living among their masses.
Again, in their persistent efforts to increase their wealth and progress, these states became prey to foreign capital, which has taken its heavy toll in concessions, monopolies, tariff protection and usurious loans, till their main sources of wealth virtually fell under foreign ownership.
This condition has resulted in the plundering of Latin America's resources, the profits from which have been exported to foreign stockholders, money lenders and speculators. It has been one of the main reasons for the economic, and therefore the political, instability of these states. It has lowered the dignity of their governments. It has abridged the independence of their peoples. It has prolonged the illiteracy among the masses. It has contributed substantially to the ugly, persistent record of default in their external loans, and kept most of them in reproach abroad.
On the subject of foreign loans to Latin America, a prominent American is quoted as saying, "Incidentally, one of the reasons Latin America has had difficulties in paying back previous loans has been that the interest and financing charges were often so heavy that it would have been impossible for any industry, in any country, to pay back such loans, regardless of how effectively the money was spent."
It is undoubtedly true that many of the loans .were uneconomic, and were attended by waste. In certain cases, they were marked by ugly stories of graft on the part of Latin state officials. Some of these bond issues were bought by closely organized circles in this country, and were promptly unloaded on the unsuspecting public, which took the losses.
Nevertheless, President Wilson's statement, concerning Mexico, very well covers the case of all the Latin American countries. President Wilson said: "What Mexico needs, more than anything else, is financial support which will not involve the sale of her liberties, or the enslavement of her people. The system by which Mexico has been financially assisted has, in the past, generally bound her hand and foot, and left her in effect, without free government. It has almost, in every instance, deprived her people of the part they were to play in the determination of their own destiny and development."
An unbiased study of Latin America's political, economic rand social life, since its independence, would discover among its inevitable weaknesses and limitations, many strengths and noble virtues. It would constantly reveal her great passion for liberty "in the bloody proofs of her love for it." It would afford comfort in the slow but steady emergence of all her states from the desolation and uncertainty which marked their difficult beginnings. Such a study would reveal, with keen pleasure, worthy progress, in all phases of her life, as she painfully resolved, or modified, her almost insuperable problems, which would have destroyed any people unendowed with genius, and without rich potentialities for self-government. It would catalogue with delight, Latin America's splendid contributions to literature and music; to art and architecture, to all the graces, and would assign their inclusive extent as proof of the intellectual and social powers of Latin America's people.
The study would inspire unrestrained admiration for the courage, resourcefulness and versatility of our compatriots to the South, and disabuse the critical student's mind of many prejudices and predilections, concerning their lamentable experiences.
No sooner than they were released from Spain, well recognizing their feebleness and impotence, the Latin American States began a continued cry for complete unity of the Western Hemisphere republics for their common defense. America's fierce nationalism, and lack of interest in Latin America, caused her to ignore these pleas. The Latin Republics made several attempts at confederation, or alliance, among themselves, all of which came to naught. Thus, the political and economic future of the Latin Americas was left to the vagaries of time, and international politics.
Except Mexico, Cuba, and lately Panama, which peculiar historical events have made very well known, the Latin American countries have remained to the people of the United States almost legendary. In their supercilious sense of superiority, they have continually expressed contempt for their compatriots to the South.
The people of the United States have disregarded the abundant testimony of the actual and potential greatness of Latin Americans. They have found no pleasure nor offered any encouragement in the hard struggle of these neighbors for development and progress, nor have they fairly appraised the development and progress achieved. They have ignored the fact that the mixed Latin American races, far more than in proportion to all their progress, have very well responded to the obligations of citizenship, and have produced a notable share of great men to distinguish themselves in all fields of endeavor, as well as in the public life, both at home and abroad. The people of the United States have closed their minds to the fact that the withholding by their country of constructive, sympathetic support to these peoples, which even for her own self protection she might well have extended, has discouraged them, retarded their progress, and delayed the fruition of both their liberty and freedom. Time has been revealing, and current events are confirming, the disturbing consequences of the failure of the United States to apprehend the significance of the long range relation, established by destiny, between herself and the Latin American states.
The United States has failed and refused to recognize thather own economic and military safety might, in the processes of time, find protection in a strong and friendly Latin America.
With the support of the British navy, the United States established her own safety, during her struggling years, through the Monroe Doctrine, which she has persistently and selfishly interpreted to suit her own purposes. In the face of this great pronouncement, she has seized Latin American territory, successively violated the sovereignty of its states, bullied and brow-beaten its governments, and has permitted England to do likewise.
Fortunately, in these circumstances, America has never been without a few, strong, wise statesmen who succeeded in preventing the loss of Latin American faith, and the complete alienation of the Latin American States.
Notwithstanding the drab record, marking the relations of the American Republics, the necessity for practical unity has been, without exception, accepted as vital by all. The sentiment for unity and solidarity in behalf of self defense has even grown stronger with time. The survival and growth of this sentiment, and the sustained efforts, by every generation, to promote and crystallize it, constitute almost indubitable prophecy that, in the course of time, the Western Hemisphere, with its total strength and resources, must defend itself from foreign assault.
There is no more engaging account in the history of nations than that of the persistent efforts of America's twenty-one republics, during their long period of turmoil, to hold themselves together. It is profoundly interesting to follow their diplomatic meanderings to save, or soften, some disturbing or hostile situation threatening peace somewhere among them; to review their numerous conferences in behalf of unity; to read their able proceedings, and observe the suspicions, jealousies and fears which marked them; to note, in most of these serious conclaves, that the United States was the greatest source of doubt and fear, and to see, at last the crowning reward of these long drawn out labors for solidarity, in the organization of the Pan-American Union, with its large promise for the realization of the hopes for inter and intra solidarity in the interest of hemispheric protection.
While the United States on account of actual indifference stimulated by uncomplementary trade, has so much ignored Latin America, Eastern hemisphere nations have not done so. England and France have well cultivated a number of these states, greatly to the increase of their influence and trade. Japan developed a great cotton industry in Brazil which brought damaging competition to the North American staple.
Germany and Italy, particularly, have long sought the great economic benefits offered by certain Latin American countries. Undertaking to dominate Latin American trade, and influence its politics, Germany and Italy, for many years, have been making exhaustive studies of Latin American economy and culture. They sent into these states specially trained diplomats and tradesmen, possessing all the arts of blandishment and intrigue. With diabolical cunning, these emissaries set up highly active secret societies, and so-called social clubs, to cultivate political relations, press for trade, and continuously report to their home governments. Germany and Italy organized quasi-governmental departments, specially housed in Berlin and well segregated in Rome, whose responsibility it was to direct Latin American export business homeward and, with carefully prepared propaganda, to attack Latin American democracy. Periodicals and reports touching on almost every phase of Latin American life have circulated in tremendous volume between Germany and Italy, and our Southern neighbors. German and Italian nationals, in large numbers, were steadily induced to infiltrate particular South American States. When the present war broke out, there is said to have been more Italians in Buenos Aires than in any city in the world, except Rome.
When Germany and Italy openly adopted National Socialism and Fascism, their persistent, sinister invasions of Latin America were accelerated and extended. History records nothing to approximate the character or extent of their destructive penetration, both economically and politically, of certain important South American countries. It insolently and skilfully assumed such political proportions, and attained such far-reaching intrigue, as to render it impossible to determine where fair practices ended, and international brigandage began. To a brutal campaign for exchange of goods by barter was joined a well-concealed, powerful attack on constitutional government.
There was much ignorance and consequent indifference on the part of the United States, concerning these dangerous activities. As the result, the Western Hemisphere came to find itself confronted by a situation akin to that created more than 100 years before, by the Holy Alliance, which called forth the Monroe Doctrine.
In 1928, a distinguished Latin American said, "Never have the Latin peoples of America been more bitter towards the United States than now."
This unhappy condition continued, to the increasing encouragement of subversive European propaganda and conduct in Latin America, until the memorable occasion of President Roosevelt's first inaugural address in which he said, "In the field of foreign policy I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor."
President Roosevelt's understanding, conciliatory course towards these Latin American states soon began to oppose the very dangerous foreign influences at work there.
In 1935, when dark clouds were appearing on the international horizon, the President suggested the important Buenos Aires Conference. Every one of the twenty Latin American Presidents, to whom the President wrote, accepted his suggestion.
The President, more surely to counteract the deadly operations of Germany and Italy, attended this great conference in person.
Said on that occasion a not-too-friendly Argentine Newspaper, "He came to tell us what we wanted to hear. He arrived when he was most needed; when we were being coaxed to believe that democracy had failed, and that we must choose between Fascism and Communism, this great man has communicated to us his optimistic faith in democracy."
The Buenos Aires conference was productive of much good. It provided for consultation among the American republics "in event of war, or a virtual state of war, between the American States" or "in the event of an international war outside America which might menace the peace of the American Republics." Best of all, the President's dramatic trip to Buenos Aires aroused in the United States, for the first time, a widespread interest in Latin America. This conference promises to be the turning point in the long, unhappy relations between the United States and the Latin Republics.
The Eighth Pan American Congress was held at Lima, December, 1938, in response to the growing threat of European war. Action of great importance was taken at this conclave. There, the Buenos Aires declaration of hemispheric solidarity was more definitely stated; and what Buenos Aires failed to do to set up the machinery to assure solidarity, Lima set to moving.
Whatever else may be said concerning Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the United States, his action in placating and drawing together the Pan American republics by hisenunciation of The Good Neighbor Policy will be memorable in Western Hemisphere history. Fortunately, he declared himself in sufficient time to accomplish the rapprochement of these countries that enabled them to receive, almost as one, the shock of a global war, which would soon engage them for their survival.
True to the recent re-affirmation at Lima, of their sentiments concerning the safety of the hemisphere, when war broke out in Europe in 1939, delegates of the American republics promptly got together in Panama to consider the effect of the conflict on their interests. In 1940, they met again, at Havana, to determine any action necessary for their mutual protection.
Next, their foreign ministers met in Rio Janeiro, in January, 1942, a little more than a month after Pearl Harbor. The conference unanimously adopted recommendations for the severance of all relations with Japan, Germany and Italy. With two exceptions, action was taken on these recommendations almost with their adoption.
Even before this meeting, the majority of these governments had already broken relations, and a number of them had entered the war against the Axis powers. Valiant, little Costa Rica even declared war ahead of the United States.
To the fullest of their limited capacity, these countries have, ever since, been making available to the United States, by every possible means, their great store house of undeveloped natural resources, many of them strategic, and unobtainable outside the Orient. They have helped to guard the Panama Canal. Some have assisted with their small navies and air fleets. Some have provided air bases, the joint use of defense areas and joint water patrols. All but Argentina, have proved in every-day cases their loyalty to the United States. Thus was the back door of this country closed to her powerful enemies.
The foreign policy of the United States has been nearsighted, ambiguous and incontinuous.
For nearly eighty years her Monroe Doctrine assured undisturbed peace and comfort, concerning foreign relations. Except for a short war with Mexico, and her Civil War, she devoted this period, while, as somebody put it, "She was favored by God and neglected by Europe," to extending her territory and exploiting her great natural wealth.
Throughout this period, with all the improvidence and waste of unrestrained prodigality, she dug up her metals and minerals, slashed down her forests, and raped her virgin soil. With outright abandonment, she lavishly exported to hungry buyers her precious raw materials, and extravagantly imported what she required, or coveted, from abroad. She became easy, guileless debtor to foreign creditors for exorbitant loans to supplement her stupendous development.
She remained untutored and uninformed, concerning the activities and intrigues of international diplomacy, and paid no attention to world trends.
The Spanish American War drew her, still crude and unsophisticated, closely towards the category of first class nations.
In a decade thereafter she began to realize that, in her rapid march to wealth and power, she had made grievous draft on the great diversity of resources which Nature had so lavished upon her. She discovered also that maturity was bringing vast, complex changes to her economic and social life.
Soon came the first World War. It found her unprepared. Her foreign policy simply declared that she was "too proud to fight." But she fought. When she did, she astonished the world and herself with her enormous powers.
The results of this war definitely moved her from second-rate nation to leading world power, and from debtor tocreditor nation.
She found herself too unsophisticated to play her new role. She took a good beating at Versailles from old world diplomacy. Then she reduced her army to a cadre. Next, moved by her idealism, without regard for her far flung exposures, and the loss of her naval supremacy in the Pacific, she destroyed the best of her navy, and induced her friends to do likewise. Then she unctuously resigned herself to safety. Soon, she entered upon another of her cycles of prosperity, which included the gold-plated 1920's, during which she almost broke herself in an orgy of home and foreign spending, lending and speculating, finally paid for most of the war, and for much of the rehabilitation of Europe. It is said, on good authority, that in the last thirty years the United States has lost forty billion dollars in her European enterprises.
Her prideful ventures into imperialism carried her into the Pacific Ocean. Well to expose herself there, she annexed some island bases, several of which she promised Jaoan she would not seriously fortify, and did not so fortify. Vociferously proclaiming, and vigorously pressing her Open Door Policy, she stationed her garrisons in China, and her gunboats on Chinese rivers, all without troubling sufficiently to arm herself to support her voice or her action.
She continued vigorously to maintain her Monroe Doctrine, while she interposed herself in the Orient.
While she had long confessed her necessity and determination to defend the Western Hemisphere, she did nothing to help develop Latin America's man power, or its matchless natural resources, for the hemisphere economic or military defense.
She has encouraged all her trading abroad merely for profit, which to her has exceeded the importance of Pan-American defense. She has consistently ignored the vital necessity of securing sure and undisturbed accesses to strategic and critical materials to replace, or supplement, her own exhausted, or fast dwindling resources.
Without thought of consequences, to meet new trends of her economic demands, she practically geared her economy to the Far East.
When the present war broke out in Europe, the first cry was "complete neutrality," chorused by "cash and carry," which was soon followed by the repeal of her neutrality act and that move was quickly superseded by "Lend Lease."
After gradual expansion in the Orient, and many adventures in her pin-pricking diplomacy there, she failed to interpret, and adequately to prepare for, Japan's intentions. Finally, came disastrous, humiliating Pearl Harbor, and the tossing of the United States, poorly prepared, into a global war, with Japan soon controlling the Orient. The United States today finds herself, while fighting for her own and Western hemispheric existence, barred from the natural resources and raw materials on which even her normal economy had come almost entirely to depend. Latin America, with her limited means, is right now struggling frantically to provide, from her great undeveloped sources, a life-saving share of the numerous strategic and critical products, now lost to us in the Orient, or insufficiently producible at home.
This country of ours will, before long, emerge from a war that will change the complexion of world affairs. She will have to abandon the policy inherited from Washington, concerning foreign entanglements. She must assume new and undreamed of responsibilities. She will exorably be forced into the treachery-hid abysm of old-world politics, for which she has shown so little genius. In this enforced adventure, he is going to gamble with her own safety, and, therefore, with the safety of the Western Hemisphere. All the Americanstates now envisage many issues more than sufficiently portentous sternly to warn them to unite their spiritual and material powers, and develop their economies to meet any international eventuality.
They who would surrender their faith to a durable peace, after the titanic struggle now waging, must be optimists of the arch-type. Who is not mindful of the long catalogue of conferences, compacts and treaties which, for centuries, have pretended to promote and pledge European peace? Who is not informed concerning international greed, and the intrigues and brutality of world diplomacy, which, in response to whim or convenience, have so often declared sacred covenants to be scraps of paper, and invoked war for the accommodation of deliberate differences? Who has failed to remember the diabolical hypocrisy, and infamous self-seeking among the victorious powers of Europe which pretended to promote peace after the Napoleonic wars? Have any forgotten Versailles, where certain powers grabbed all they could, and continued to grab thereafter? Who does not remember Munich, where valiant, little Czechoslovakia, in the presence of unequivocal guarantees, was sacrificed on the; altar of French and English expediency?
They yield themselves to consummate stupidity who, without complete and unfailing readiness for self-defense, would lodge the safety of the United States and the Western Hemisphere in any international determination for durable world peace. Nevertheless, in final hope to prevent or control the further butchery and plundering of mankind, the ancient venture into old world covenants for international tranquillity, always shamefully abortive, will be tried again, this time with the support of the United States and Latin America.
Despite the doubtful prospect, the United States and Latin America, with desperate hope and faithful purpose, will be prepared to commit themselves to some international program for world peace. Nevertheless, the Pan-American states should definitely determine, in the circumstances, that, henceforth, they will be fully prepared to defend themselves alone against all attack. To such an end, hemisphere populations and resources should, with unprovoking effect, be made ready, and kept ready for the common defense.
Such a policy has its corollary in sufficiently gearing the hemisphere economy to the Latin American republics for the steady and well-coordinated development of their peoples, and their enormous, long-neglected resources to supplement those of the United States. Such action should be a Pan-American family affair.
History reveals that practically all wars have been wars of aggression. It also reveals that the quest for raw materials has inspired most aggressions.
To all important peoples the concern for raw materials has always constituted their paramount concern. The causes of the war raging today, if traced to the ultimate, would lead to raw materials. They measure all of man's development. They involve national life and death. As starving animals kill for food, so will strong nations, suffering acutely for strategic, or critical materials, wage war unto death. Latin America will always be a shining mark for European Cupidity.
Latin America, with her nearly eight million square miles of territory and 125 million people, is the only region on earth whose great diversity of rich, natural resources is almost untouched, and where fair development may now be carried on with anything like equal footing
A high authority states that the last century has seen the disappearance of more of man's natural resources than in all previous time, and that the United States consumes more non-reproducible materials than any other country in the world.
As the result of the rush for wealth of her people, the United States is becoming economically poor.
Authorities have said our known petroleum supply, at the rate of extraction when the war came, would not last more than ten years.
The end of our once enormous Minnesota iron ore deposits is well in sight. We were formerly heavy exporters of copper; now we import as much as we export, and importations will, from now on, rapidly increase. Our supply of lead will soon be exhausted. Our bauxite of economical grades is almost gone. Our mercury has practically disappeared. Except for the remnant in the Northwest, our great stands of virgin timber have disappeared. So it is an impressive list of non-reproducible resources, either now exhausted, or of insufficient quantities, many of which are in fast dwindling supply. The number of vital mineral, products, of which we still have a sufficiency, is said to be less than the number that must be imported, and this disparity will continue to grow.
Our overworked soil has given up much of its virgin fertility, and must be nurtured increasingly with fertilizers to coax its declining yields.
Of the imposing number of basic materials which we once considered inexhaustible, we now seem to have left in superabundance little more than coal, sulphur and phosphates, All this reminds us that we are well on the way in the direction of the "Have Nots."
Moreover, all these shrinkages in our natural wealth are seriously affecting our national economy, and reflect, even though obscuring conditions, the stern fact that we are in social decline.
Time appears to have conclusively proved that, for hemisphere military safety and continued economic progress, the United States must now turn definitely to the aid of Latin America.
Mr. Vallosinor, the Director General of the Bank of Mexico, said recently: "I think the future of the United States is irrevocably linked to that of Latin America. It i» up to them whether they want to be linked to a poor Latin America or a rich Latin America." Mr. Vallosinor was both shrewd and wise. He might just as well have said that the American republics would now have to depend, as never before, upon each other for their assured economic progress and preparedness to defend themselves militarily against all comers in this rapacious world.
These twenty-one republics are washed by the same oceans in their unbroken continuity. They enjoy the same heritage of liberty. They are striving for the incomparable blessings of Democracy. They have constantly understood, and have continuously confessed their political inter-dependence. They believe that they are bound by common destiny; that in their unity and combined strength is lodged the safety of constitutional government in the Western Hemisphere. It is historically extraordinary that these states, throughout their existence, really should have known and cared so little about each other.
Hemisphere economic life, and military safety appear to have come now positively to require all the hemisphere sufficiency that combined hemisphere resources, brains and energy can provide.
Pan-America is an area of nearly eleven million square miles. It is incomparably rich in diversity and quantity of natural resources; rich in fauna and flora; rich in climate, which ranges through more than 100 degrees of latitude, offering in its extent perfect congeniality to nearly all thefoods, food stuffs and raw materials essential to man's most progressive economy.
While we have been rapidly exploiting the rich blessings conferred on us so bountifully by Nature, we have entirely ignored the enormous deposits of strategic and critical materials and the heavy actual and potential production of vital commodities in Latin America. We have even suffered ourselves to be lured to the Orient, as the sole source of a number of our absolute necessities, many of which, with our timely and considerate assistance, Latin America fully, or in large part, could have supplied to us for her defense and our own.
Without care for our future safety, and governed entirely by immediate availability and lowest market price, we have been buying our strategic and critical necessities in hazardous regions all over the wide world.
In her heavy purchases in the Orient of certain commodities, all of which are absolutely necessary both to her normal economic life and to her military defense, all either adequately or importantly producible somewhere in the Southern republics, the United States, and these republics themselves have long been systematically chiseled by foreign monopolies, with the aid of their governments, through air tight cartels.
South America is the home of rubber and the cinchona tree originated in the tropical areas of the Andes. The money that has been taken from us and Latin America in piratical overcharges by the Anglo-Dutch cartels, would have produced, in South America, rubber and cinchona industries which, for the benefit of the whole world, would have rendered impossible the hard and fast monopolies in those vital products, and left us millions.
We have been getting nearly all of our heavy requirements of tin from the Far East. Bolivian semi-refined ore is shipped to England, finally refined there, and is then re-shipped to the United States. Why can we not escape the toils of the rapacious cartel which supplies us with this important metal, by turning to Bolivia for it?
So with the list of other strategic and critical materials, too long to go into here, for which we have consistently been paying through the nose; materials which, in adequate or heavily supplementing quantities, could have come from Latin America.
Any who would check our War Department's list of lacking strategic and critical materials,—that is, materials necessary for the National defense, which we do not possess, or do not possess in adequate quantities—would be shocked by our deficiencies, and comforted by the number of these vital resources possessed by our sister republics.
When she emerges from her present troubles, this country of ours should move to assure the unity and action of the American republics essential to the undoubted security of Pan-America. This undertaking would propose, with due understanding abroad, such integration of the Pan-American states as would render available their conjoined strength in man power and natural resources for the common defense.
Efficient economy is necessary to successful democracy.
Selective development of Latin America for the common defense would be the nucleus of the industrial unfoldment which would loose the pitiless chain of circumstances which has always bound her. It would progressively strengthen the economy of her states. It would induce their greater cohesion. It would increase both their interstate and foreign trade. It would bring relief to their monetary problems, stabilize their exchange and restore, or strengthen their credit. It would raise the standards of living which have sapped their masses.
Such practical development would lift the vision of her peoples to heights which would draw them on to the accomplishments of which they are so capable and so worthy. It would nourish the spirit of democracy where it languishes for the blessings of equal freedom and opportunity, and where democracy must survive if it continue to live in the Western Hemisphere.
The United States should lead the way to this practical move. She should first unequivocally declare her respect for the sovereignty of all the Latin American states, and their right to an equal share in all foreign political and military concerns affecting the hemisphere. She should generously collaborate in a patient survey of their resources to determine, anywhere, the feasibility of the needed development. Then, with all consistent practicality, with capital and management equitably arranged, she should enter with any of these neighbors upon an economically sound program for such development as would combine their resources with our own for mutual defense, prepared and trained to share in the common hemisphere defense. Nevertheless, such a movement wisely conceived on the part of the United States, should undoubtedly, render more complementary its trade with Latin America and increase friendships there. Any effort towards such development should possess no political aspects. Neither should there be any thought of monopoly, nor any distrubance of the trade of any Latin American state with other nations. The undertaking should concern itself throughout Pan-America solely with the fact that the United States can no longer count herself sufficiently strong, economically and militarily, surely to protect this hemisphere, without the aid of a more fully developed and industrialized Latin America.
Latin America wants no United States hegemony. She does want United States friendship and consistent aid. It might be urged that any undertaking to develop Latin America would be too expensive; that it might prove entirely uneconomical, or for other reasons impossible. There can be no answer to such questions without trial of the plan. In the same way, with large initial hazard and expense, and with great ultimate profit, we have achieved much of our own development. The fact remains that to the United States, there is now surely preserved on the outside this single source of defense materials. Fortunately, it is a friendly source bound to us by the sentiments of democracy and the sacred necessities of mutual self-defense.
Such an undertaking, by reason of its large proportions and its purposes, might contain serious political implications for all parties. Therefore, it would call for sponsorship by the governments involved, first to assure adequate guarantees to our Southern neighbors of equitable participation by themselves and their nationals in management and profits, and next to assure due protection to the interests of the United States, since governmental support of the program would inevitably be necessary.
The multiplied billions we are now frantically spending for war materials, that we should have made ready in our own hemisphere, would have developed many Latin Americas.
"America," said someone "is Liberty's natural climate." Let us hope to see all the Americas, while they gather their strength for the common defense, pull together to present to the world a framework of international cooperation, accomplished with the highest faith, the greatest justice and the utmost good will. In the language of another, "America occupies, in solitary grandeur, the entire Western Hemisphere. She is free, horizontally and vertically, East, West, North and South, from ocean to ocean and pole to pole." She is free. It is for our generations to keep America free, and to hand her down, bulwarked still by the power of her great soul, and of her material might to those who succeed us, and they to others and they yet on and on to others, till all mankind is free.