History ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 9-3-1976


In 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull began a new kind of diplomacy in Latin America known as the Good Neighbor Policy. One key person they chose to implement this policy was Spruille Braden, a former mining engineer and financier who had spent much of his life in Latin America.

Braden was first named as a delegate to the 1933 Monte­video Conference. From late 1935 through 1938, as U.S. delegate to the Chaco Peace Conference, he helped achieve a lasting peace between Bolivia and Paraguay. As ambassador to Colombia from 1939 to 1942, he was instrumental in re­organizing Colombia's airline and ridding it of allegedly . Nazi personnel. While ambassador to Cuba during World War II, he pressured the Batista government into close collaboration with the Allies.

Braden was a blunt, tough, outspoken man, whose charisma and prior achievements made him a logical candidate, in April 1945, to handle U.S. relations with the Argentine revolutionary government. After four controversial months as ambassador there, he was named assistant secretary of state for American Republic Affairs, a post he held from November 1945 until July 1947.

Because the swiftly changing world political and security situation in 1945 and 1946 created a policy and administrative vacuum, Braden largely determined U.S. policy for Latin America during this critical period. He continued his personal feud with Argentina's dictator, Juan Peron, blocked the proposed Rio Conference for the negotiation of a mutual defense pact, and fought Latin American fascism and nationalism. When the United States became increasingly concerned, in 1946 and early 1947, about USSR influence and intentions and the need for Cold War diplomacy, Braden refused or was unwilling to change his priorities. In mid-1947 he was dismissed.

This study attempts to assess the impact of Braden's charismatic style of diplomacy upon U.S.-Latin American relations. By examining his despatches, memoranda, and speeches and comparing these to his published memoirs, testimonies, and postgovernment activities, it examines whether Braden promoted or undermined the Good Neighbor Policy. Also ana­lyzed is his pregovernment life and its effects upon his thinking and actions as a diplomat.

Braden's convictions were formed by the free enterprise doctrines successfully practiced by his family and friends during the first three decades of this century. His public responsibilities never altered these convictions. He re­mained convinced that the free enterprise system was the only road to peace and prosperity, the only way to raise living standards and establish democratic governments in the hemis­phere.

Braden's effect upon U.S.-Latin American relations was most significant from 1935-1947. He preached the "two-way street" of the Good Neighbor Policy, yet he insisted that the Latin American nations follow U.S. guidance. He denied them the respect he required them to accord the United States. Because of his attitude, much of the good will and better relations which had grown among the American nations from 1933 to 1945 were lost in the immediate postwar period.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Edwin Lieuwen

Second Committee Member

Noel Pugach

Third Committee Member

Michael Conniff

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