Causes of Latin American resentment against Vice President Richard Nixon on his tour of South America :April-May 1958 ;by James C. Harrison.

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1974

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Abstract

Purpose To examine the factors which brought about the cool receptions and violent demonstrations which Vice President Nixon encountered throughout his South American tour in April and May, 1958, and determine who must accept the responsibility for the failure of the mission. Methods The following sources found in the Sam Houston State University Library or borrowed through inter-library loan were used to obtain material for this study: (1) Richard Nixon’s book Six Crises which contains a chapter dealing with the South American tour, (2) several United States government documents including the House and Senate investigations of the incidents, (3) reviews in both English and Spanish, (4) United States and Latin America newspapers, (5) a special first hand account by Richard Patch in Lima, Peru, (6) news magazines, and (7) various secondary sources. Findings The evidence presented in this study suggests the following conclusions: 1. United States-Latin American political and economic relations in 1958 had reached the lowest point since the end of World War II. 2. South Americans resented the United States government’s erection of higher tariffs and lower quotas which the recession of 1958 necessitated in order to protect United States industries. 3. The South American economy, as well as the economy of all Latin America, was so dependent upon the United States purchases of exports that any change in the amount of goods exported to the United States greatly affected the total economy of South America. 4. South Americans embraced collectively the political and economic grievances of sister nations. 5. In light of deteriorating political and economic relations between the United States and Latin America in 1958, the State Department should not have sent Vice President Nixon on a tour of South America. 6. The Communists were given too much credit for the demonstrations. The communists alone were not strong enough to ruin the tour; they needed the help from the non-communists element. Demonstrations could not have been staged had there not been an atmosphere which favored them. 7. Although Vice President Nixon was the target of the demonstrations, he was in reality the symbol of the government whose policies South Americans disapproved. 8. Vice President Nixon must assume full responsibility for the attacks at San Marcos University in Lima, Peru, because he sought the confrontation despite knowing he was not welcome on the campus. 9. President Eisenhower was justified in alerting troops to save the Vice President, if necessary, in Caracas, Venezuela. 10. The awareness and concern over Latin American problems were short-lived after the Vice President returned to the United States.

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Keywords

Visits of state--Latin America, Vice President Nixion, responsibility for mission, mission failure

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