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General Matthew B. Ridgeway said in 1947 that programs of the United States government abroad consist of military, economic and political elements that are inseparably related to each other. A military program, he explained, may serve other than military ends. The validity of the General’s observation is substantiated by the Mutual Defense Assistance Program (MDAP) for Latin America. Under the program the United States signed bilateral Mutual Defense Assistance (MDA) Agreements with twelve Latin American states between 1951 and 1955. These stipulated that the United States would provide the second party with grant or free military assistance in order to improve hemispheric defenses against external attack. The Latin American signatories, in turn, would adopt policies and programs designed to foster Inter-American economic cooperation in the Cold War. Both parties pledged to support world peace and the United Nations, and generally to promote Inter-American solidarity—essentially political functions. Thus. MDAP substantiates the General’s observation, in so far as a program may be said to exist in diplomatic agreements.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Edwin Lieuwen

Second Committee Member

Robert Rozeboom Dykstra

Third Committee Member

Albert Richard Lopes



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