Good Neighbor policy

The Good Neighbor policy was the foreign policy of the administration of United States President Franklin Roosevelt towards Latin America. Although the policy was implemented by the Roosevelt administration, President Woodrow Wilson had previously used the term, but subsequently went on to invade Mexico. Senator Henry Clay had coined the term Good Neighbor in the previous century.

The policy's main principle was that of non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of Latin America. It also reinforced the idea that the United States would be a "good neighbor" and engage in reciprocal exchanges with Latin American countries.[1] Overall, the Roosevelt administration expected that this new policy would create new economic opportunities in the form of reciprocal trade agreements and reassert the influence of the United States in Latin America; however, many Latin American governments were not convinced.[2]

Vargas e Roosevelt
Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas (left) and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (right) in 1936

Background

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States periodically intervened militarily in Latin American nations to protect its interests, particularly the commercial interests of the American business community. After the Roosevelt Corollary of 1904, whenever the United States felt its debts were not being repaid in a prompt fashion, its citizens' business interests were being threatened, or its access to natural resources were being impeded, military intervention or threats were often used to coerce the respective government into compliance. This made many Latin Americans wary of U.S. presence in their region and subsequently hostilities grew towards the United States.

Roosevelt administration

Policy

In an effort to denounce past U.S. interventionism and subdue any subsequent fears of Latin Americans, Roosevelt announced on March 4, 1933, during his inaugural address, "In the field of World policy, I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor, the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others, the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a World of neighbors."[3] In order to create a friendly relationship between the United States and Central as well as South American countries, Roosevelt sought to stray from asserting military force in the region.[4] This position was affirmed by Cordell Hull, Roosevelt's Secretary of State at a conference of American states in Montevideo in December 1933. Hull said: "No country has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another."[5] Roosevelt then confirmed the policy in December of the same year: "The definite policy of the United States from now on is one opposed to armed intervention."[6]

Impact

Carmen Miranda 1941
Carmen Miranda became the muse of the Good Neighbor policy.

The Good Neighbor Policy terminated the U.S. Marines occupation of Nicaragua in 1933 and occupation of Haiti in 1934, led to the annulment of the Platt Amendment by the Treaty of Relations with Cuba in 1934, and the negotiation of compensation for Mexico's nationalization of foreign-owned oil assets in 1938.

The United States Maritime Commission contracted Moore-McCormack Lines to operate a "Good Neighbor fleet"[7] of ten cargo ships and three recently laid-up ocean liners between the United States and South America.[8] The passenger liners were the recently defunct Panama Pacific Line's SS California, Virginia and Pennsylvania.[9] Moore-McCormack had them refurbished and renamed them SS Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina for their new route between New York and Buenos Aires via Rio de Janeiro, Santos and Montevideo.[8][10]

The policy sought to redefine the way Americans perceived Latin Americans, while at the same time maintaining hemispheric unity. In order to accomplish this, Roosevelt created the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA) in August 1940 and appointed Nelson Rockefeller to head the organization. The OCIAA was essentially a propaganda tool used by the United States to define Latin American society, as they perceived it. One division within the OCIAA, the Motion Picture Division, was headed by John Hay Whitney, with the main intent to abolish preexisting stereotypes of Latin Americans that were prevalent throughout American society.[11] Whitney was convinced of "the power that Hollywood films could exert in the two-pronged campaign to win the hearts and minds of Latin Americans and to convince Americans of the benefits of Pan-American friendship."[12] In order to accomplish this, Whitney urged film studios to hire Latin Americans and to produce movies that placed Latin America in a favorable light. Further, he urged filmmakers to refrain from producing movies that perpetuated negative stereotypes. Historically, Latin Americans were lackadaisically portrayed as lazy, backwards and suspicious.[13] One film star who emerged then was Carmen Miranda. Used as a product to promote positive hemispheric relations, her films, including The Gang's All Here, explicitly promoted the Good Neighbor policy.

Similarly, in 1941 Edmund A. Chester at CBS Radio collaborated with the OCIAA to create the "La Cadena de las Américas" (Network of the Americas) radio network to broadcast news and cultural programs which reflected Roosevelt's Good neighbor Policy and Pan-Americanism throughout latin America during World War II. As a professional journalist, Chester insisted upon the presentation of accurate news programming as well as cultural programs which dispelled the negative stereotype of Americans toiling as automatons in a national industrial machine. [14][15] Also, the policy's cultural impact included the launch of CBS Radio's Viva América and Hello Americans programs and the Walt Disney films Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944).

By the end of World War II, Latin America was, according to one historian, the region of the world most supportive of American foreign policy.[16]

Chile tourism
Pamphlet describing Chile as a "tourist paradise" during the 1939 World's Fair

1939 World's Fair

The 1939 New York World's Fair was just the place to promote neighborly relations between the United States and Latin America. Placed against the backdrop of a growing Nazi threat, the World’s Fair was an attempt to escape from the looming prospect of war and to promote peace and interdependence between nations. With the fair boasting over 60 countries, with some coming from Latin America, it was the place to redefine negative Latin American stereotypes.[17] Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Pan American Union were all represented at the World’s Fair. Each country seized the opportunity to showcase their country and to make it more appealing to those around the world, especially in the United States. In their bid to increase cultural awareness at the World’s Fair, each country promoted tourism, and strived to compare itself to the United States in an effort to appeal to Americans.[18]

Legacy

The era of the Good Neighbor Policy ended with the ramp-up of the Cold War in 1945, as the United States felt there was a greater need to protect the Western Hemisphere from Soviet influence. The changes conflicted with the Good Neighbor Policy's fundamental principle of non-intervention and led to a new wave of US involvement in Latin American affairs.[2] Until the end of the Cold War the United States directly or indirectly attacked all suspected socialist or communist movements in the hope of ending the spread of Soviet influence. U.S. interventions in this era included the CIA overthrow of Guatemala's President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954, the unsuccessful CIA-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba in 1961, occupation of the Dominican Republic 1965-66, CIA subversion of Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1970–73, Operation Charly in Central America, the Plan Condor in South America, and CIA subversion of Nicaragua's Sandinista government from about 1981 to 1990.[2]

After World War II, the Organization of American States was established in 1949. However, the U.S. began to shift its focus to aid and rebuilding efforts in Europe and Japan. These U.S. efforts largely neglected the Latin American countries, though U.S. investors and business men did have some stake in the nations to the South. In the late 1950s, United States strengthened relations with Latin America, launching the Inter-American Development Bank and later the Alliance for Progress. However, in the late 1960s, as part of the Cold War, the United States government provided support to right-wing dictatorships with Operation Condor. Also, in the context of the War on Drugs, the United States government has collaborated with local governments to fight cartels, for example with the Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative.

See also

References

  1. ^ Rabe, Stephen G (2006). "The Johnson Doctrine". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 36 (1): 45–58. ISSN 1741-5705.
  2. ^ a b c Gilderhus, Mark T (2006). "The Monroe Doctrine: Meanings and Implications". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 36 (1): 5–16. doi:10.1111/j.1741-5705.2006.00282.x. ISSN 1741-5705.
  3. ^ Roosevelt, Franklin Delano (4 Mar 1933). First Inaugural Address. Washington DC.
  4. ^ Good Neighbor Policy, 1933 - 1921–1936 - Milestones - Office of the Historian (Good Neighbor Policy, 1933 - 1921–1936 - Milestones - Office of the Historian) https://history.state.gov/milestones/1921-1936/good-neighbor
  5. ^ LaFeber, Walter (1994). The American Age: U.S. Foreign Policy at Home and Abroad, 1750 to Present (2nd ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 376. ISBN 0393964744.
  6. ^ Nixon, Edgar B (ed.). Franklin D. Roosevelt and Foreign Affairs. I. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. pp. 559–560. LCCN 68-25617.
  7. ^ Lee, Robert C. (16 October 1956). "Mr Moore, Mr McCormack, and the Seven Seas". 15th Newcomen Society Lecture. United States Coast Guard Academy. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
  8. ^ a b Grace, Michael L (19 October 2012). "History – Moore-McCormack Lines". Cruising the Past. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Panama Pacific Lines finished". Time. Michael L Grace. 9 May 1938. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  10. ^ Vinson, Bill; Casey, Ginger Quering. "S.S. Uruguay". Welcome Aboard Moore-McCormack Lines. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  11. ^ Amanda Ellis, “Captivating a Country With Her Curves: Examining the Importance of Carmen Miranda’s Iconography in Creating National Identities.”(Masters Thesis, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2008),
  12. ^ O'Neil, Brian (2005). "Carmen Miranda: The High Price of Fame and Bananas". In Ruiz, Vicki L.; Sánchez Korrol, Virginia. Latina Legacies. Oxford University Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-19515398-9.
  13. ^ Data adapted from Public Opinion 1935-1946, ed. Hadley Cantril (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951), 502.
  14. ^ Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda Deborah R. Vargas. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2012 p. 152-153 ISBN 978-0-8166-7316-2 OCIAA (Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs), FDR's Good Neighbor Policy, CBS, La Cadena de las Americas, Edmund A. Chester on google.books.com
  15. ^ Media Sound & Culture in Latin America & the Caribbean. Editors - Bronfman, Alejandra & Wood, Andrew Grant. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburg, PA, USA, 2012 p. 41-50 ISBN 978-0-8229-6187-1 Pan Americanism, FDR's Good Neighbor Policy CBS, OIAA on Books.Google.Com
  16. ^ Grandin, Greg (2006). Empires Workshop: Latin America, the United States and the Rise of the New Imperialism. Metropolitan Books. p. not cited. ISBN 0805077383.
  17. ^ Martha Gil-Montero, Brazilian Bombshell (Donald Fine, Inc., 1989
  18. ^ 1939 World's Fair Collection, Henry Madden Library Special Collections, California State University, Fresno Jose

Further reading

  • Beck, Earl R. "The Good Neighbor Policy, 1933-1938," Historian 1#2 pp. 110-131 in JSTOR
  • Dallek, Robert. Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945 (1995) excerpt and text search
  • Pederson, William D. ed. A Companion to Franklin D. Roosevelt (2011) online pp 542–63, covers FDR's policies
  • Pike, Fredrick B. FDR's Good Neighbor Policy: Sixty Years of Generally Gentle Chaos (2010) excerpt and text search
  • Stuckey, Mary E. The Good Neighbor: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Rhetoric of American Power (Michigan State University Press; 2013) 376 pages; Explores the metaphor of the "good neighbor" as key to FDR's rhetoric in and beyond foreign affairs. excerpt and text search
  • Wood, Bryce. The Making of the Good Neighbor Policy. New York: Columbia University Press 1961. Classic work.

External links

Bainbridge Colby

Bainbridge Colby (December 22, 1869 – April 11, 1950) was an American lawyer, a political progressive, a co-founder of the United States Progressive Party and Woodrow Wilson's last Secretary of State. Colby was a Republican until he helped co-found the National Progressive Party in 1912; he ran for multiple offices as a member of that party, but always lost.Secretary of State from February 1920 until 1921, at a time when President Woodrow Wilson was medically handicapped and largely out of touch. He is best known for promoting a Good Neighbor policy for Latin America, and for denouncing the communist regime in Russia.

Banana Wars

The Banana Wars were the occupations, police actions, and interventions on the part of the United States in Central America and the Caribbean between the end of the Spanish–American War in 1898 and the inception of the Good Neighbor Policy in 1934. These military interventions were most often carried out by the United States Marine Corps, which developed a manual, The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars (1921) based on its experiences. On occasion, the Navy provided gunfire support and Army troops were also used.

With the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. Thereafter, the United States conducted military interventions in Cuba, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. The series of conflicts ended with the withdrawal of troops from Haiti in 1934 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The term was popularized in 1983 by writer Lester D. Langley. Langley wrote several books on Latin American history and American interactions including The United States and the Caribbean, 1900–1970 and The Banana Wars: An Inner History of American Empire, 1900-1934. His book on the Banana Wars encompasses the United States tropical empire that overtook the western hemisphere spanning both of the Roosevelt presidencies. The term was popularized through this writing which portrayed the United States as a police force that was sent to reconcile warring tropical countries, lawless societies and corrupt politicians, establishing a reign over tropical trade.

Daiquiri

Daiquiri (; Spanish: daiquirí [daikiˈɾi]) is a family of cocktails whose main ingredients are rum, citrus juice (typically lime juice), and sugar or other sweetener.

The daiquiri is one of the six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, which also lists some variations.

Good Neighbor Policy and the 1939 World's Fair

At the 1939 World's Fair, the Good Neighbor policy was developed by encouraging cultural exchange between the United States and Latin American countries by cooperation in presenting the event. The Good Neighbor policy was the foreign policy of the administration of United States President Franklin Roosevelt towards Latin America. The 1939 New York World's Fair was a World's fair in New York.

Good Neighbor policy (LDS Church)

The Good Neighbor policy is the 1927 reform of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that removed any suggestion in church literature, sermons, and ordinances that its members should seek vengeance on US citizens or governments, particularly for the assassinations of its founder Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum.

The church gave no official name to this process, but after it was implemented, some Mormon-history commentators began referring to it as the church's "Good Neighbor" policy, taking the name from US President Franklin Roosevelt's foreign policy, the Good Neighbor policy.

Good Neighbor policy (disambiguation)

Good Neighbor Policy or Good Neighbour Policy may refer to:

Good Neighbor policy, an American foreign policy

Good Neighbour Policy (horse racing), an agreement amongst horse racing jurisdictions

Good Neighbor policy (LDS Church), reforms adopted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Hector Hyppolite

Hector Hyppolite (1894–1948) was a Haitian painter. Born in Saint-Marc, Hyppolite was a third generation Vodou priest, or houngan. He also made shoes and painted houses before taking up fine art painting, which he did untrained. Hyppolite spent five years outside of Haiti from 1915-1920. His travels abroad included trips to New York and Cuba. Although he later claimed those years had been spent in Africa, such as Dahomey and Ethiopia, scholars regard that as more likely an instance of promotional myth-making than factual.Hyppolite's talent as an artist was noticed by Philippe Thoby-Marcelin, who brought him to Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince in 1946. There Hyppolite worked in the studio run by Dewitt Peters, a watercolorist and schoolteacher from the United States who had come to Haiti to teach the English language as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. In 1944 Peters opened an art center in the capital that provided free materials. Before arriving at the Centre d'Art Hyppolite had painted upon cardboard using chicken feathers and sold to visiting United States Marines because he owned no brushes. Peters had first noticed Hyppolite's work in 1943 on the exterior doors of a bar in Montrouis, which Hyppolite had painted with flower and bird designs. Flowers could represent attributes of deities in Vodou symbolism, and although the doors had not been explicitly religious Hyppolite recognized interest in Vodou among art buyers and incorporated Vodou themes into his work during his time at Peters's studio.André Breton, a leading surrealist, traveled to Haiti in 1945 with Cuban artist Wifredo Lam. Lam purchased two of Hyppolite's paintings; Breton purchased five paintings and wrote about Hyppolite's work in Surrealism and Painting. Although Breton included Hyppolite among surrealists, Hyppolite's work was more realistic and religious than an effort to reproduce dream imagery. Nonetheless, Breton's regard for Hyppolite's work brought Hyppolite and Haitian painting to a wider audience. In January 1947 Hyppolite exhibited at a UNESCO exhibition in Paris and received an enthusiastic reception. The United States writer Truman Capote praised Hyppolite's painting "because there's nothing in it that has been slyly transposed".Hyppolite, a prolific painter, typically depicted Vodou scenes and created between 250 and 600 paintings during the last three years of his life. Much of his work was influenced by his devotion to his work as a priest. However, after retiring from his work as a houngan, his work reflected the darker aspects of Haitian vodoo. He died at about age 54 in Port-au-Prince.

Latin America and the League of Nations

Nine Latin American nations became charter members of the League of Nations when it was founded in 1919. The number grew to fifteen states by the time the first League Assembly met in 1920 and later, several others joined in the decade that followed. Although only Brazil had any participation in World War I (and a minor role at that), these nations supported the idealistic principles of the League and felt it offered some measure of juridical protection from the interventionist policies of the United States in the period between the Spanish–American War (1898) and the proclamation of the non-interventionist Good Neighbor Policy by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. Latin American nations also felt that being members of the League would bring prestige and notoriety to Latin America. All twenty Latin American countries were members of the League at one point, yet they were never all members at the same time.

To guarantee Latin American representatives in the Assembly and Council, an unofficial bloc was established early on. This movement, in turn led to the creation of a special Latin American Liaison Bureau. Latin American delegates emphasized their contributions and hopes for world peace which eventually would anticipate their actions in the United Nations.

The Latin American nations became increasingly disillusioned with the League in the 1920s. This was partly due to the failure of the United States to join the League, and partly because the major powers in the League paid little attention to Latin America’s problems. The League did have some role in two conflicts in South America in the 1930s: the Leticia dispute between Colombia and Peru, and the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay.

Machine Gun Mama

Machine Gun Mama is a 1944 American musical comedy film directed by Harold Young. It was PRC's attempt to feature a comedy team to compete with Universal's Abbott and Costello and Paramount's Road to ... movies and their entry in the Good Neighbor Policy film genre of the time where the United States presented both a positive image to Latin and South America as well as stimulating American tourism to the region. Harold Young had also directed the live action portions of Walt Disney's The Three Caballeros.

The film had the working titles Mexican Fiesta and Moonlight Fiesta but is also known as Tropical Fury as an American TV title of the film.

Melodies of America

Melodies of America (Spanish:Melodías de América) is a 1941 Argentinian musical comedy film directed by Eduardo Morera and starring José Mojica, Silvana Roth and June Marlowe. It was intended as an Argentine response to the Latin-American themed films produced by Hollywood as part of the Good Neighbor policy.

Mexicana (film)

Mexicana is a 1945 American musical film directed by Alfred Santell and starring Tito Guízar, Constance Moore and Leo Carrillo. The film was one of three made by Republic Pictures in line with the American government's Good Neighbor policy towards Latin America. Its plot is almost identical to that of another Guízar vehicle Brazil (1944).

Montevideo Convention

The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States is a treaty signed at Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 26, 1933, during the Seventh International Conference of American States. The Convention codifies the declarative theory of statehood as accepted as part of customary international law. At the conference, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull declared the Good Neighbor Policy, which opposed U.S. armed intervention in inter-American affairs. The convention was signed by 19 states. The acceptance of three of the signatories was subject to minor reservations. Those states were Brazil, Peru and the United States.The convention became operative on December 26, 1934. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on January 8, 1936.The conference is notable in U.S. history, since one of the U.S. representatives was Dr. Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge, the first U.S. female representative at an international conference.

Pan-Americana

Pan-Americana is a 1945 American romantic comedy film produced and directed by John H. Auer, from a screenplay by Lawrence Kimble, based on a story by Auer and Frederick Kohner. RKO released the film on March 22, 1945, and the picture stars Phillip Terry, Audrey Long, Robert Benchley, Eve Arden, Ernest Truex, Marc Cramer, and Jane Greer (uncredited) in her feature film debut. The film was an example of the Good Neighbor policy encouraging Americans to travel to South America for holidays and the last of a film genre.

Panama Pacific Line

Panama Pacific Line was a subsidiary of International Mercantile Marine (IMM) established to carry passengers and freight between the US East and West Coasts via the Panama Canal.Although IMM had begun preparations for this intercoastal service as far back as 1911, service began in May 1915 with the former Red Star Line (another IMM subsidiary line) ships Kroonland and Finland. When landslides in September 1915 closed the canal for an extended time, Kroonland and Finland were reassigned to the IMM's American Line. The outbreak of World War I and its strain on international shipping caused the intercoastal service to be suspended.

In 1923 Kroonland and Finland were returned to the reinstated intercoastal route along with the American Line passenger steamer Manchuria. Manchuria's sister ship Mongolia supplanted Kroonland on the route in 1925.Three ships with steam turbo generators and turbo-electric transmission — California, Virginia and Pennsylvania — came into service in 1928–29, replacing all the other ships on the intercoastal service. These three newest ships included a drive-on service for passengers' automobiles, which allowed passengers to disembark with their cars at ports of call, such as Havana, a stop added in the early 1930s.

In 1936 California, docked at San Pedro, California, was the setting for the SS California strike, which contributed to the demise of the International Seamen's Union and the creation of the National Maritime Union.

In June 1937 the United States Congress withdrew all maritime mail subsidies, which by then included a total of $450,000 per year to Panama Pacific for its three liners. At the beginning of March 1938 the Panama Canal tolls were revised, increasing Panama Pacific's costs by $37,000 per year. As a result of these cost increases and continuing labor difficulties, Panama Pacific ended its New York – California service and took all three liners out of service. California was the last to leave service, joining Pennsylvania and Virginia in New York at the beginning of May 1938. The United States Maritime Commission took over the three liners and transferred them to Moore-McCormack Lines to start a New York — River Plate service under Franklin D. Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy.

Roosevelt Corollary

The Roosevelt Corollary was an addition to the Monroe Doctrine articulated by President Theodore Roosevelt in his State of the Union address in 1904 after the Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903. The corollary states that the United States will intervene in conflicts between the European countries and Latin American countries to enforce legitimate claims of the European powers, rather than having the Europeans press their claims directly.

Roosevelt tied his policy to the Monroe Doctrine, and it was also consistent with his foreign policy included in his Big Stick Diplomacy. Roosevelt stated that in keeping with the Monroe Doctrine, the United States was justified in exercising "international police power" to put an end to chronic unrest or wrongdoing in the Western Hemisphere. While the Monroe Doctrine had sought to prevent European intervention, the Roosevelt Corollary was used to justify US intervention throughout the hemisphere. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt renounced interventionism and established his Good Neighbor policy for the Western Hemisphere.

Saludos Amigos

Saludos Amigos (Spanish for "Greetings, Friends") is a 1942 American live-action animated package film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the sixth Disney animated feature film and the first of the six package films produced by Walt Disney Productions in the 1940s. Set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of José Carioca, the Brazilian cigar-smoking parrot. Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. Saludos Amigos was popular enough that Walt Disney decided to make another film about Latin America, The Three Caballeros, to be produced two years later. At 42 minutes, it is Disney's shortest animated feature to date.

The Saga of Jenny

"The Saga of Jenny" is a popular song written for the 1941 Broadway musical Lady in the Dark, with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Ira Gershwin, considered now as a standard blues.

The music is marked "Allegretto quasi andantino"; Gershwin describes it as "a sort of blues bordello".It was premiered by Gertrude Lawrence in the role of Liza Elliott, the editor of a fashion magazine. In the context of the show, the song comes in a dream sequence in which Elliott defends her indecision about marriage by telling the tale of "a girl named Jenny/Whose virtues were varied and many—/Excepting that she was inclined/Always to make up her mind", until she "kicked the bucket at 76." Jenny's decisive nature is blamed for multiple disasters, including forcing the necessity of the United States' Good Neighbor Policy. The moral of the song is "don't make up your mind."

It followed the Danny Kaye song "Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians)", and in Kaye's original recording, he sings the passages about Liza Elliot's inability to make up her mind.

The song was included in the 1944 Hollywood film Lady in the Dark and also features in a dance sequence in the 1968 musical Star!, with Julie Andrews portraying Gertrude Lawrence.

Artistes who have recorded the song include Gertrude Lawrence, Dawn Upshaw, Lotte Lenya, Julie Andrews, Ute Lemper, Mildred Bailey, and by Benny Goodman & His Orchestra with Helen Forrest.

They Met in Argentina

They Met in Argentina is a 1941 American film directed by Leslie Goodwins and Jack Hively for RKO Pictures. Hively had to come in and finish the picture after Goodwins was hospitalized for pneumonia. Maureen O'Hara plays an Argentinian who falls in love with a Texan (James Ellison), who is attempting to buy a racehorse from her father. It was one of a number of Hollywood films from the 1940s produced to reflect America's "Good Neighbor policy" towards Latin American countries. They Met in Argentina was not well received by audiences, critics, or the Argentine government.

Viva América

Viva América was an American musical radio program which was broadcast live over the CBS radio network and to North and South America over the La Cadena de las Américas (Network of the Americas) during the 1940s (1942–1949) in support of Pan-Americanism during World War II. It was also broadcast for the benefit of members of the armed forces in Europe during World War II over the Armed Forces Network. All broadcasts of this program were supervised under the strict government supervision of the United States Department of State and the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA) as part of the United States Cultural Exchange Programs initiative authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (via Voice of America) during World War II through the Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations (OCCCRBAR) and the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs directed by Nelson Rockefeller.

(See Cultural diplomacy)

This imaginative program represented a unique collaboration between government and private industry during the turbulent World War II era in an effort to foster cultural exchanges and cultural diplomacy throughout the Americas as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy. It featured live performances of the CBS Pan American Orchestra under the musical direction of the noted conductor Alfredo Antonini. By 1945, performances by the orchestra on the CBS "La Cadena de los Americas" radio network were enjoyed by audiences in twenty Latin American nations and throughout North America.Viva América was primarily conceived in an effort to foster benevolent diplomatic relations throughout the Americas during World War II by showcasing the talents of a wide variety of respected professional musicians from both North and South America. In this regard, it proved to be highly successful and functioned under the direct supervision of the Department of State as a cultural exchange program (as opposed to a propaganda program). The collaborative performances by musicians who were featured on the program also served to introduce large audiences in the United States to innovative forms of Latin music including the Mexican Bolero. Included among the renowned soloists were: Juan Arvizu (the Mexican "Tenor with the Silken Voice"); Nestor Mesta Chayres (Mexican tenor - aka "El Gitano De México"); Eva Garza (Mexican songstress); Terig Tucci, (Argentine composer/arranger) Miguel Sandoval (Guatemaian composer/conductor), Elsa Miranda (Puerto Rican Vocalist/Actress), Los Panchos Trio (Latin vocalists) and John Serry, Sr. (an American concert accordionist and featured soloist).

Broadcasts of this program were personally supervised by Edmund A. Chester, Vice President at the CBS network and Director of Latin-American Relations and Short Wave Broadcasting (1940 - 1948). Mr. Chester could often be found visiting the control room at the CBS broadcast studios in New York City in order to enjoy his series of live concerts and to exchange insights with his staff of musicians and recording artists. At the governmental level, they were closely monitored by the Office of Inter-American Affairs through the Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations (OCCCRBAR) under the direction of Nelson Rockefeller and the Department of State.The onset of the post World War II era precipitated the onset of the Cold War and the initiation of new governmental oversight of the broadcast industry. As a consequence of these developments, exclusive control for the La Cadena de las Americas was essentially transferred to the Department of State from Voice of America in 1948. As the focal point for American foreign policy shifted away from South America toward Europe broadcasts of this program were terminated (circa 1949) and the broadcasting links provided to South America by the Columbia Broadcast System CBS were eliminated..

Several historic master disk transcriptions of this program were recorded during live broadcasts and preserved on 78 RPM vinyl disks for Voice of America. They were archived by the Department of State until the 1970s and have since passed into private collections.

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