May 11, 1941 – Foreign Policy Association – NBC – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Even before America officially entered the War, there was deep concern that a possible invasion of the U.S. could come from either Alaska or Latin-America. Alaska because the Aleutian islands were the closest point and an invasion could be easily staged. South America by way of Axis sponsored overthrows of certain key Latin and South-American countries; countries who may have seemed ripe to be persuaded to abandon any alliances with the U.S. and instead align themselves with Berlin, Rome and Tokyo.
Uruguay was already the scene of a certain amount of sympathy toward the Axis by supplying safe-harbor for the German Battleship Graf Spee, and German submarines were active near the Caribbean and off the Eastern coast of South America, sinking British supply ships at an increasing rate. A plot had already been uncovered laying plans for an overthrow of the Uruguay government, replacing it with a pro-Berlin one.
So it was crucial that the U.S. shore up any diplomatic cracks with Latin-America to ensure the Western Hemisphere was solidly behind the Allied effort to defeat the Axis.
This lecture, given by John I.B. McCullogh editor of the Foreign Policy Association’s Pan-American News tells of the debate going on, not only in Washington but in the Capitols of Latin-American countries over the possibilities of forming an alliance; one of mutual aid and security with the Allies. A proposal was made at the conference in Havana in July of 1940, but the events taking place between July 1940 and May of 1941 were dramatically altering the direction which the war was taking and the issue of how Latin America was feeling about the War in Europe and was there in fact solidarity among the South American countries. That was the big issue since the political makeup of Latin America was running the gamut from Democratic to Authoritarian. Like everything, it was a delicate maneuver hampered only by time and events.
Here is that lecture, given on May 11, 1941 by the Foreign Policy Association in Washington D.C.
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