The pragmatic face of the covert idealist: the role of Allen Dulles in US policy discussions on Latin America, 1953–61

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Sewell, Bevan (2011)

Assessments of the CIA’s role in Latin America during the 1950s have tended to focus predominantly on the twin case-studies of Guatemala and Cuba. Consequently, the Agency’s role – and, more broadly, that of its head Allen Dulles – has come to be seen as one obsessed with covert action and relatively unimportant in terms of policy discussions. Dulles, in fact, has been portrayed as an unwilling and disinterested participant in policy discussions. The present article will challenge those assertions by suggesting that, by examining Dulles’s role in the Eisenhower administration’s discussions on Latin America, a different picture emerges – one that paints Dulles as an active and rational participant, and which raises important questions for our understanding of the CIA’s role during the Eisenhower era.
  • References (15)
    15 references, page 1 of 2

    74 Press Conference by President Eisenhower, 28 October1959. Taken From: Accessed on 5 March 2008

    75 Information and quote taken from: Piero Gleijeses, “Ships in the Night: The CIA, the White House and the Bay of Pigs,” Journal of Latin American Studies Volume 27, No 1 (February 1995) p 3-4

    76 Stephen Rabe, “The Caribbean Triangle” (1996)

    77 Michael R. Hall, Sugar and Power in the Dominican Republic: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Trujillos (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000)

    78 On emerging Cuban and Venezuelan moves against Trujillo: Notes on NSC Briefing, 8 July 1959. Taken From: Accessed on 29 September 2009

    79 Stephen Rabe, “The Caribbean Triangle” (1996) pp 62-70; for details on Dulles's pragmatism in the West Indies: Jason Parker, Brother's Keeper: The United States, Race, and Empire in the British Caribbean, 1937- 1962 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008) p 133

    80 Memorandum of Discussion at the 450th Meeting of the National Security Council, 7 July 1960, Box No 12, NSC Series, Ann Whitman File, Eisenhower Library

    81 Lawrence Freedman, Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Laos, Cuba and Vietnam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) pp 145-8

    82 Lucien S. Vandenbroucke, “The 'Confessions' of Allen Dulles: New Evidence on the Bay of Pigs,” Diplomatic History Volume 8, Issue 4 (October 1984) pp 365-76; also see, Richard M. Bissell, “Response to Lucien S. Vandenbroucke,” Diplomatic History Volume 8, Issue 4 (October 1984) pp 377-82; Drafts of Dulles's response, which remained unpublished, can be found in Boxes 62 and 63, Allen Dulles Papers, SML

    83 Piero Gleijeses, “Ships in the Night” (1995) p 40-1

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