John F. Kennedy photo

Statement by Senator John F. Kennedy on Article in "Vision"

October 28, 1960

Senator John F. Kennedy, Democratic Party candidate for President, has spelled out the tenets of his policy toward Latin America in an exclusive release to "Vision," foremost Spanish-language weekly news magazine with heavy circulation in Latin America.

Senator Kennedy's statement, the first from either candidate to cover the subject in such detail, appears in the October 7 issue of "Vision" and is now released for publication by all North American newspapers. The statement is as follows

The people of Latin America, and the people of North America as well, look back with deep nostalgia at the days when Franklin D. Roosevelt's good-neighbor policy brought us together in a hemispheric harmony unparalleled anywhere or anytime on earth. This happy relationship prevailed for 20 years; our hopes, our interests, our democratic aspirations coincided.

Now, in 1960, much seems to have gone wrong between us.

The United States of America, long regarded with affection and with trust by its friends to the south, finds itself the target of bitter attacks. At the very least, those Latin Americans who yearn for a renewal of our old ties - and I strongly believe that they are in the great majority - are uneasy and disheartened at the turn of events. This discomfort is shared by many of us in the north.

The blame for this grievous state of affairs lies heavily on a Republican administration in Washington which, since 1952, has been indifferent to Latin American problems and neglectful of them. No nation or group of nations likes to be taken for granted, any more than does an individual. Yet this is the approach which has characterized our policymakers over the past 8 years.

Their blunders have pained and dismayed as many of their own countrymen as people of good will in the Southern Hemisphere. Dictatorial regimes wholly abhorrent to the basic concepts we share have been condoned and armed; some of their leaders have been bemedaled. Legitimate democratic movements have been ignored or supported less than wholeheartedly. Too little and too late has been the nature of the aid the Republican administration has seen fit to proffer - despite the fact that Latin America's crucial economic problems have been evident for a long time.

To belabor the point is not necessary. The grim fact is that we have lost 8 years of a hemispheric relationship that once served as a model of felicitous conduct between nations. The happy fact is that we can recapture this relationship, given the good will and the cooperative efforts of both sides, which I am convinced are abundantly available.

In this joint endeavor to reconstruct our ties, a return to the good-neighbor policy will not suffice. The world has moved fast and far since that policy was undertaken, and new times require a new set of attitudes The peoples of the Americas must become not just good neighbors but associates in the full sense of the word, in developing the vast potential as yet untapped in the Western Hemisphere.

Among the steps to which serious consideration and study should be given are these: the strengthening of the Organization of American States, including the possible use of its Commission on Human Rights as a tribunal for the presentation of cases of victims of the Latin American dictators.

The setting up of a consultative system among the Americas on all-important hemispheric problems to provide frequent meetings on questions the OAS does not cover, and among the major American nations on issues of world urgency, thus making a reality out of United States recognition of the juridical equality of the American Republics.

A cooperative effort to promote Latin American economic growth, the first element in the program to be the pursuit of practical agreements for stabilizing commodity prices, trade, and currency convertibility.

The overall coordination of economic aid on a hemispheric or even country-by-country basis, with one initial aim - the removal of certain bottlenecks now blocking Latin American economic growth.

Also in the economic sphere, an increased flow of technical assistance, development capital, private investment, and agricultural surpluses, perhaps through the large-scale "Operation Pan-America" proposed by the President of Brazil.

Time is running out on our opportunity to recement the bonds so vital to both the northern and southern parts of the hemisphere. Given the vast reservoir of warm friendship which still remains to us, and given a Democratic administration in Washington keenly mindful of its own traditional party beliefs in the spirit rather than merely the letter of the good-neighbor policy, I know that the job can and will be done, and done well and lastingly.

John F. Kennedy, Statement by Senator John F. Kennedy on Article in "Vision" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives