Wednesday, February 13, 2013


February 13, 2013


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) On this day fifty years ago, February 13, 1963, President John F. Kennedy & Governor Pat Brown* announced that a special mission was heading to Chile to "explore ways in which the State of California may participate in the Alliance for Progress."**

In a statement issued collectively by the President & the Governor of California, Mr. Kennedy said that this would be the first time one of the states of the union has been called upon to determine "the extent of which all its resources can be brought to bear on the development of another country."

JFK deemed the participation in the Alliance by individual states to be a boost in "the possibilities for rapid progress."

The President said that because California's rural agricultural economy was so far developed that it was able to export 75% of its production, the state could "play a significant & responsible role" in the Alliance for Progress.

JFK read the prepared statement in the Cabinet Room at the White house.

*Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown (1905-1996) was born in San Francisco & graduated from the SF College of Law in 1927.  He was nicknamed Pat (after Patrick Henry) because of his oratory skills.  He served as California Attorney General & was Governor from 1959-1967.

Brown defeated Richard Nixon in 1962 but lost to Ronald Reagan in 1966.

                      Governor Pat Brown
          Orange County Archives (1964)

**The Alliance for Progress was a 10 year program of economic cooperation between Latin America & the United States set up by JFK in 1961. 

 US aid to Latin America tripled in the 1st year & eventually totaled $22.3 billion.


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) During the 1960s, the Alliance for Progress was generally described as a successful New Frontier program which improved relations between the United States & the nations of Latin America.

               Romulo Betancourt & JFK
                     Venezuela (1961)

In the years since, however, the Alliance has come under increasing criticism as a failure.

Teto Escobar of Rice University, in his study "Wrong Place, Wrong Time," describes the results of the Alliance to be..."marginal at best."

Escobar, in fact, judges the Alliance to have been a "serious failure of the Kennedy administration."

He writes...

"It raised but was unable to fulfill the serious objectives of the program."

Jeffrey Taffet, professor of history at the US Merchant Marine Academy, however, disagrees.

Taffet argues that the Alliance...

"supported the construction of housing, schools, airports, hospitals, clinics & water purification projects...and distributed free textbooks to students."

He goes on to say that the Alliance for Progress marked a new approach in US-Latin American relations, an attempt to move from a policy of American condescension to one of partnership.

                       You Tube Video
               50th Anniversary of the
                  Alliance for Progress
JFK Library & JFK Library Foundation


"Alliance for Progress: Wrong Place, Wrong Time," by Teto Escobar.

"Looking Back: The Alliance for Progress and Its Legacy," by Lauren Monsen, March 7, 2011.