Campaigning Against Latin American Nationalism: U.S. Ambassador John Moors Cabot in Brazil, 1959-1961 Academic Article uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • A recent edited study of U.S. ambassadors assigned to Latin American countries beset by economic and political crises assesses the importance of individuals as determinants of U.S. foreign policy. Although the authors differed in their conclusions, two in particular suggested that even ambassadors who enjoyed great operational independence rarely disagreed with the ideological premises of their superiors in Washington. Historian Louis A. Pérez, for example, portrayed U.S. ambassador to Cuba Sumner Welles as “an active powerbroker” who “operated out of a defined ideological framework, a world view that allowed him to recognize social forces as potential friend or likely foe to U.S. interests.” Welles's attempt in 1933 to remove Cuban President Ramón Grau San Martin, who had abrogated the Platt Amendment, coincided with the State Department's policy of keeping Cuba favorable to U.S. economic and strategic interests. Scholar Jan Knippers Black came to a similar conclusion about the role of Ambassador Lincoln Gordon in the 1964 overthrow of leftist Brazilian President João Goulart. Black found it “extremely difficult to isolate his [Gordon's] imprint on more fundamental aspects of policy … it seems unlikely that U.S. policies and actions would have differed in any significant way, had some other individual been serving at that time and place as ambassador.”

publication date

  • October 1994

has subject area