US Relations with Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, 1973-76

Our final event this term takes place on Thursday, 26 November at 5.00pm in the Latin American Centre, 1 Church Walk. In a joint seminar co-sponsored by the Latin American Centre and the Rothermere American Insitute, Dr Halbert Jones, Director of the North American Studies Programme, and Dr James Dunkerley, Queen Mary University, will speak on ‘US Relations with Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, 1973-76’. The seminar will offer a presentation of the newly released US State Department publication, ‘Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–11, Part 1, Documents on Mexico; Central America; and the Caribbean, 1973–1976’, of which Dr Jones was co-editor. The Foreign Relations of the United States series has been published by the Department of State since 1861, and it serves as the official documentary record of key US foreign policy decisions.

This FRUS volume comes from the sub-series covering the administrations of US Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. US policy towards Latin America during this period centered on establishing what Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger called a “New Dialogue” with the region. Launched in October 1973, just days after Kissinger took office as Secretary of State, the “New Dialogue” was envisioned as a constructive way for the United States to meet the challenge posed by the perceived emergence of a Latin American regional bloc. As this presentation will show, efforts to develop the “New Dialogue” were complicated by such factors as the determination of Mexican President Luis Echeverría to claim a place on the world stage as a spokesman for the Third World and by the crumbling of Latin American support for OAS-backed diplomatic sanctions on Cuba. At the same time, incipient efforts to bring about a normalization of US relations with Cuba were derailed when Castro sent Cuban forces to Angola, and US diplomats in Central America reported on early signs of the unrest that would convulse the isthmus in the 1980s.