To the Discussion Leader

Questions given below are suggested to help you, but don’t feel that you necessarily must follow this breakdown. This is only one way of planning your discussion or forum talk. As a matter of fact, you will probably find enough discussable material in each of the sections below to fill an hour’s meeting. You ought to keep in mind the possibility of holding two or three meetings based on material in this pamphlet.

If you are not already familiar with EM 1, GI Roundtable: Guide for Discussion Leaders, get a copy for ready reference. It contains practical suggestions for organizing discussion and forum programs as well as many common-sense hints on how to conduct discussion meetings. EM 90, GI Radio Roundtable contains valuable material on how to broadcast -forum and discussion programs.

Have a wall map of the Western Hemisphere put up somewhere in a place visible to everybody in your meeting. Draw a rough one on wrapping paper if necessary. It will help you clear up many important points: for example, that Latin America is by no means all tropical or that many of its nations are nearer neighbors to Europe than to us.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is the Good Neighbor policy? Has it a long or a short history? Has the Monroe Doctrine something to do with it? Is it likely to be a permanent basis for our relations with Latin-American countries? Why? Have Latin-American nations reasons for questioning whether our Good Neighbor attitude toward them will continue? Was there justification for our interventions in Latin America after the Spanish-American War? Has the Good Neighbor policy helped our current war effort? Has Latin-American cooperation with us increased between the two World Wars? Why? Can the policy be properly called “enlightened selfishness”? What do you think is its chief objective? Do you think that most United States citizens believe it is a good policy? Do you think it is necessary for Latin Americans and North Americans to like each other in order to cooperate for hemisphere security?
  2. Are Latin-American countries alike? How many countries are there in Latin America? To what extent do they differ from each other? Are there similarities between them? What do the people do for a living? Do you think United States citizens have a pretty good idea about what these South American nations are like? Why do you think so? Do South and Central Americans like to be called Latin Americans? Do you think we ought to stop using the term? What should we use in its place? Are there some American republics that try to dominate others? Will there be a future for American business below the Rio Grande after the war? If there are obstacles to this, is it possible for them to be removed? Why do some people think that an industrialized Latin America would be a more democratic Latin America?
  3. Should the United States government continue to foster cultural relations with its southern neighbors? Are these republics more our neighbors than they are neighbors of Europe? Have they close ties with Europe? Blood ties? Economic ties? What have we done to foster understanding between us and citizens of Latin-American republics? Have our efforts produced greater international understanding? Why are inter-American economic relations difficult to develop? Do the same reasons apply to political relations? Why? If it is hard to maintain close relations, why do we try? What is the extent of German influence in South America? Is Argentina pro-Nazi or pro-Argentine? Is success in fostering cultural relations between us and other American nations essential to the Good Neighbor policy?

From EM 14: Is the Good Neighbor Policy a Success? (1945)