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Lincoln GordonArchitect of Cold War Foreign Policy$
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Bruce L.R. Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813156552

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813156552.001.0001

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The Alliance for Progress and JFK Adviser

The Alliance for Progress and JFK Adviser

(p.218) 13 The Alliance for Progress and JFK Adviser
Lincoln Gordon

Bruce L. R. Smith

University Press of Kentucky

In the summer of 1960, as the Kennedy campaign got under way, Gordon receives a phone call from Adolf Berle, inviting him to be the economist on the Kennedy task force to design the Alliance for Progress for Latin America. He becomes the drafter of the economic section of the Berle Task Force Report and the principal liaison with Latin American economists who provide input into the design of the Alliance for Progress. Secretary of State–designate Dean Rusk offers Gordon the post of assistant secretary of state for economics in the new administration, but he declines. Instead he helps prepare the speech President Kennedy will deliver in March, launching the Alliance, and he provides major congressional testimony on the Inter-American Bank appropriation. JFK attempts to secure Berle as his assistant secretary for inter-American affairs, but Berle holds out for the rank of under secretary, and Kennedy refuses. Gordon gradually replaces Berle as the Kennedy administration’s key adviser on Latin American policy. The Bay of Pigs fiasco disrupts planning for the Alliance, and JFK sends UN ambassador Adlai Stevenson and Lincoln Gordon, two officials not implicated in the Bay of Pigs planning, on a fence-mending mission to seventeen Latin American capitals. Kennedy wants a presidential-level conference to symbolize support for the Alliance, but the Latin American presidents advise Stevenson and Gordon that this is politically impossible so soon after the Bay of Pigs. A meeting mostly of technocrats rather than politicians takes place at Punta del Este, Ecuador, and produces a new Charter for the Americas. The Punta del Este conference is highlighted by a clash between the US delegation and the Cuban delegation, headed by Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and an irrevocable split between the two nations.

Keywords:   Alliance for Progress, John F. Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, Latin America

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