Good Neighbor Policy Essay Research Paper The

Good Neighbor Policy Essay, Research Paper

The Good Neighbor Policy

The Good Neighbor policy was the idea that the United States should branch away from isolationism and establish relations with Latin American Countries in order to increase trade. The U.S. was especially concerned with trade in Latin America because of the problems created by the war between Japan and China, which began in 1937, the outbreak of World War II in 1939, and finally with the military and diplomatic efforts necessitated by the entrance of the United States into the war in 1941. This new effort was headed by Roosevelt, who acted immediately by giving up the Monroe Doctrine, and dedicating the United States to good relations with Latin America in his first inaugural address.

The extension of U.S. foreign trade was first stimulated by the organization of export-import banks in 1934 through which the government was to make loans to firms intending to increase their sales in foreign countries. Trade was also spurred by reciprocal trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries for the lowering of tariff duties. Between 1934 (when Congress authorized the making of such agreements by the executive without congressional approval) and 1939, Secretary of State Cordell Hull concluded 21 such reciprocal trade agreements. This policy, under the Roosevelt Administration, became known as the Good Neighbor Policy, where amicable relations with the countries of Latin America would result in considerable extension of American trade there. Roosevelt first gave up the Monroe Doctrine as was necessary to proceed with the Good Neighbor Policy and begin rising out of isolationism. Among the measures taken in the Policy were the nullification of the Platt Amendment in 1934, by which the United States since 1902 had exercised a measure of control in the international affairs of Cuba, and the ending of U.S. control over the customs system of the Dominican Republic. Cordell Hull became secretary of state in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him. Hull did much to bring about reciprocal trade, financial, and defense treaties between the U.S. and other nations, particularly of Latin America.

Although Roosevelt proclaimed the Good Neighbor policy, he was deeply influenced by Hoover who took part in initiating good relations with Latin America. Hoover had believed strongly in close relations with Latin America, more foreign trade with the British Empire, and ultimately World Peace. Hoover wanted to persuade Latin American countries that the United States took their interests into consideration as well as its own. To do so, he paved the way for the removal of U.S. Marines from Haiti, and he withdrew them from Nicaragua. As the depression toppled numerous regimes throughout Latin America, Hoover recognized the new regimes without questioning the means by which they came into power. These beliefs of Hoover strongly inspired Roosevelt in his Good Neighbor Policy.

In the end, the Good Neighbor policy helped out the United States in many ways. It not only gained the trade benefits the U.S. needed, but also gained the support of many countries that would later help in the United States. For example, in 1938 Roosevelt calmly accepted Mexico’s confiscation of the petroleum installations of U.S. and British companies instead of retaliating. He was later rewarded several times over for his actions when Mexico loyally cooperated with the United States in World War II, even sending an air force squadron to serve in the Philippines.

Bill Moyers, The Secret Government:The Constitution in Crisis. (Cabin John, MD:Washington DC, 1988) pgs 4, 17-23,101- 105

Lawrence E. Walsh., Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran Contra Matters: Investigations and Prosecutions (Washington, DC 1993)pgs 2, 3, 12

Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne, The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History (New York: The New Press, 1993 ) pgs 4, 338-339, 380-385

William S. Cohen and George J. Mitchell, Men of Zeal: A Candid Inside Story of the Iran Contra Hearings (New York: Viking 1988) 105, 114, 202


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