President Roosevelt, it is known, is at the present time extremely occu pied with the possible effects on the middle-western farmer of the coining glut of wheat in world markets.
He has also during the last nine months been working quite furiously to convince the South American countries of the sincerity of his "good neighbour " policy.
A few weeks ago a move was set on foot among North American exporters to dispose of 1,000,000 tons of surplus wheat to Brazil in exchange for coffee. Now this represents more than a third of Argentina's usual exportable surplus and Argentina relies on the Brazilian market. Sr. Cantilo, the Argentine Foreign Minister, accordingly acted swiftly. His ambassador in Washington made vigorous representations. The response was just as swift. Mr Cordell Hull stated publicly that any such deal would be contrary to the spirit of the good neighbour policy and that he would not authorize any subsidy for the export of wheat to Brazil. Thus the incident closed with expressions of satisfaction in Buenos Aires and Washington—though not perhaps in the middle west.
A SMALL PRICE
President Roosevelt, in fact, regards a million tons of wheat and the displeasure of a few exporters as a small price to pay for the goodwill of Argentina at the Pan-American Conference which opens at Lima next week.
His plan for a defensive pact embracing the western hemisphere towards which the " good neighbour" policy has been directed requires a spirit of 100 per cent. Pan-Americanism. But, perhaps because they do not see the urgency of the situation, perhaps because more sceptical, or perhaps merely because they have longer memories, his ebullient neighbours have not exhibited the same faith in a policy designed to serve as a common outlook for 150 million English-speaking Americans and also another 100 million Spanish-speaking atnericanos Argentina has always taken up the most independent attitude in regard to the Pan-American idea, and now shows no signs of departing from that attitude. " Our country," states La Nation, the Buenos Aires leading daily, " is not willing to adopt a policy which does not permit her above all to assert her own personality. American solidarity does not need to take the material form of a league or an alliance."
Sr_ Cantilo has intimated that, although his country will collaborate fully in all questions of continental interest, President Roosevelt's plan for co-ordinated defence of the continent against outside aggression is not on the agenda of the conference and his Government have not considered it. Brazil has taken much the same stand, The Foreign Minister has expressed his Government's belief that " the armaments of each country, with or without pacts, will serve for the defence of the whole American family of nations."
So far all the ten southern republics have voiced their sympathy with President Roosevelt's aims but they have not gone further than that.
The truth is that the present situation in South America is too complicated to be resolved on the single issue of PanAmericanism. Events have moved almost as swiftly in the past year in South America as they have in Europe.
There have been three main developments which tend to increase Latin American independence.
First there was the outstanding success of the Buenos Aires Peace Conference, which brought about a peaceful solution of the Chaco question; secondly, there has been the victory of the Republican governments over the Nazi attempts at penetration; thirdly, there has been an intensification of rearmament by Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru.
BEGINNING OF NEW ERA
The Chaco peace, which was largely an Argentine achievement, has been hailed in all the Republics as the beginning of a new era of inter-Republican co-operation. Almost as soon as it was signed the Government of Ecuador was soliciting the aid of President Ortiz to settle the boundary dispute between that country and Peru.
Taken in conjunction with the friendly tone of recent pacts between Argentina and Chile, between Chile and Bolivia and between Chile and Brazil, it is certainly hopeful for the development of a common policy between the countries. Such a policy would have far more basis in reality than the other grandiose scheme, especially at a time when trade between the southern countries is growing in volume.
The Nazi attack on the sub-continent has given these countries another common cause. It has led to a unanimous reaffirmation of nationalism and constitutionalism. The Integralista revolt in Brazil, directly German inspired, and the Nazista revolt in Chile, which was at any rate a result of Nazi " cultural activities," have Ied to measures against " foreign ideologies " on the part of the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia.. Brazil and Colombia have now suspended ordinary diplomatic relations with the Wilhelmstrasse.
But fear of Germany will not drive Latin-America into the arms of President Roosevelt. Argentina and Brazil, who are building up their navies, Chile and Peru, who now possess very considerable air fleets, have taken their own measures for defence in a world dominated by power politics.
Twe prominent Catholic educationists are among the American delegates at the Pan-American Congress at Lima, Peru.
The Catholic representatives are the Rev. John F. O'Hara, C.S.C.. president of the University of Notre Dame, and Charles G. Fenwick, professor of International Law at Bryn Mawr College. Professor Fenwick is also president of the Catholic Association for International Peace, and served at the PanAmerican Congress held in Buenos Aires in 1936.