THE EVOLUTION OF UNITED STATES NAVAL POLICY IN LATIN AMERICA
The purpose of this dissertation is to provide an understanding of the historical naval or maritime role in hemispheric defense by tracing the evolution of U.S. naval policy in Latin America through seven distinct although overlapping phases. These seven historical phases include the development of U.S.-Latin Amerian Navy-to-Navy relations as well as the development of the U.S. Navy from one of deployed squadrons through the development of the fleet system into a globally recognized force. In conjunction with this, the concept of hemispheric defense and the recognition of the value of credible Latin American navies evolved through the implementation of U.S. Naval Missions, culminating in the cooperation of World War II. Through this process Navy-to-Navy relations evolved from confrontation to cooperation. Central to the dissertation are several themes of continuity reflected in the seven phases and in certain national traits, moods, and conflicting concepts or ideas including isolationism, antimilitarism, internationalism, aversion to arms sales, and reluctance to depend upon allies. The evolution of U.S. Naval policy in Latin America is therefore depicted as both a reflection of the development of the U.S. Navy and of the development in the United States of certain national traits and characteristics that have profoundly affected U.S. foreign policy. These traits inhibited the overall hemispheric defense effort during World War II. Although the wartime efforts of the Latin American navies was significant, restrictive U.S. pre-war arms transfer policies and a reluctance to depend upon allies detracted from this cooperative effort. The major thrust of the dissertation ends with World War II; however, the post-war period and implications for the future are addressed briefly in an epilogue. Critical to the dissertation research have been the following questions: (1) How did the U.S. Navy become involved with Latin America? (2) Why did the U.S. Navy become involved with Latin America? (3) And, based upon the answers to these questions, what did the U.S. Navy do in the past in Latin America that it should still be doing or what should it not now be doing?