The writer of the following letter is a native Argentinian whograduated two years ago from the law school of the University of Buenos Aires. He is in the United States to study at the Summer School, and will return home in the fall.
Up to the present U.S.A. international policy towards Latin America, in order to conquer Latin American Friendship, and prevent the progress of Communism, has depended greatly upon enormous loans or donations. This is your great weapon, but still a poor one. That policy in many Latin American countries has never been recognized in the past by Latin American people. If ever they recognize the benefits of the loans, they attribute it to their government, that is in charge of the distribution of such a loan, but seldom to the U.S. government.
If in the present moment you have success with the "Alliance for Progress" in Latin American countries, it is only because the loan is still in the form of the promise. But once the loan is conceded, the effect, as generally has happened, will probably diminish. Actually the loan policy is extremely important, but the U.S. should try also another one, a less spectacular one whose results can only be evinced in a long-term run, in five or ten years time.
The answer would be to invite through U.S. colleges, universities, and foundations, young Latin American student leaders, to visit the States and see what fully developed modern capitalism offers, as well as learn about the roal face of the U.S., and not the completely deformed one the Russian propaganda ofers.
The argument for why the young leaders should visit the States, and why some should be specifically selected, are:
*Fighting young Communist or socialist students with arguments, statistics, information from well-informed economists, and the American cinema won't change their minds.
But if they see with their own eyes the richness of the U.S., West Germany, or some other free capitalist country, they will no doubt change their view of free enterprise, capitalism, and the U.S.A.
*A big percentage of the student leaders in Latin America come from humble homes. The capitalism they know has many times only demonstrated poverty and hunger. Generally the only travel they have done has been to a local beach or tourist place in their country. All they know about the States is through newspaper, cinema etc. This information is not for them an axiomatic truth, as communist propaganda isn't for them either.
*A young leader may change his point of view which an elder one probably wouldn't.
*The main argument lies in a statistic from the Argentina House of Representatives which shows that a big percentage of the members of the House had been student leaders in their youth. As a result, from a total of 187 members, roughly 61 members (33 per cent of total) were doctors, and 15 members (8 per cent of total, were from different careers. The rest had no university title.
All this confirms in Argentina the generalized rule that law is a career that prepares young men for politics.
But what is considered very important is that of the representatives with a law or medical career, half of them have been in their youth university leaders. This is the same in most Latin American countries (one reason is that, differing from the States, the Latin American students deal in politics from youth, rather than in sports). A similar poll among the state governors shows nearly 80 per cent of the governors have been in the past student leaders.
Where does all this lead us? You could now on the basis of this statistic, find among the actual student leaders of law and medicine (approximately 500 in Argentina) those who will be, in the future, country leaders (or close influential friends, within the next 10 or 15 years.
By showing them your country, your democracy, hospitality, progress, etc. you will no doubt, in the long run, achieve more success in fighting communism in Latin America and in gaining convinced and influential friends for the U.S. and the cause of freedom, their by depending exclusively on the loan policy.
* Germany before the war had this policy with young Chilean and Argentine Army officers. Parties, friendship, schneider and pats in the back created a strong pro-German feeling.
If one checks the background of nearly all the Latin American political leaders, you will see, starting from Fidel Castro, that nearly all have been student leaders.
The Peace Corps program has basically the same target. I believe both programs are badly needed to triumph over Communism. But by applying this policy Latin America will know, through their future leaders, the result of American work and way of life, and not only the good will of hard-working Americans, as through the Peace Corps.
Some experiments have met great success, and others are underway. The 70 student Brazilian group that visited Harvard in July is the best example. Unfortunately many Harvard students did the opposite of what they should have done, they were indifferent, cold or maybe irritated by the invasion of their sacred yard.
Tactfulness and friendship toward the visitors is basic if such a program is to achieve success, and therefore diminish Communist danger, and increase Latin American and U.S. friendship