Spruille Braden

Spruille Braden

Spruille Braden (March 13, 1894 - January 10, 1978) was an American diplomat, businessman, lobbyist, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as the ambassador of various Latin American countries, and as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. He is notable for his interventionist activities and his prominent role in several coups d'état.

Born in Elkhorn, Montana, Braden first came to prominence as one of the owners of the Braden Copper Company in Chile, and as a shareholder in the United Fruit Company. He also directed the W. Averell Harriman Securities Corporation [ [http://watch.pair.com/belmont.html "8. Spruille Braden", The Belmont Brotherhood] ] . As an agent of Standard Oil, he played a role in the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay [Ferrero, Roberto A. (1976), "Del fraude a la soberanía popular", Buenos Aires: La Bastilla, p. 318 ] and espoused an openly anti-union position [ Schvarzer, Jorge (1996). "La industria que supimos conseguir. Una historia político-social de la industria argentina." Buenos Aires: Planeta, pag. 194] .

He held several brief but important ambassadorships, in Colombia (1939-1942), Cuba (1942), Argentina (1945), Guatemala (1953-1954), and Chile 1975-1976). His diplomatic activities in these countries often coincided with coups d'etats and other interventions in internal politics.

In 1944 Braden served as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under Harry Truman. He clashed with George S. Messersmith, former ambassador to Mexico, with whom he had many disagreements about foreign policy in Latin America [Trask, Roger R. "Spruille Braden versus George Messersmith: World War II, the Cold War, and Argentine Policy, 1945-1947" in the "Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs", Vol. 26, No. 1 (Feb., 1984), pp. 69-95] . The disagreement with Braden would eventually force Messersmith out of the foreign service.

As ambassador to Argentina in 1945, Braden famously participated in the internal political struggle, organizing the opposition against President Edelmiro Julián Farrell and Juan Perón [ [http://www.argentina-rree.com/13/13-004a.htm David Kelly, cited in Escudé, Carlos; Cisneros, Andrés (2000), "La campaña del embajador Braden y la consolidación del poder de Perón", "«Historia de las Relaciones Exteriores Argentinas»", CARI] ] . From the beginning, Braden publicly organized and coordinated the opposition, exacerbating the internal conflict. Perón exploited his intervention with a slogan, "Braden o Perón" ("Braden or Perón"), which contributed to his victory in the presidential election the following year.

Braden accused the Peron regime of being pro-Axis, anti-United Nations and of plotting against Allied interests in South America, including the protection of industrial and commercial Axis assets and massive violations of human rights. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,792573,00.html Neighbor Accused] , "TIME Magazine", February 18, 1946] David Crasweller writes in "Perón and the Enigmas of Argentina" that because Braden spoke to crowds of anti-Peronists he did not understand that his views of Juan Perón were not shared by all Argentines. Braden's interjection of himself into Argentine politics angered many Argentines and had the unintentional result of increasing popular support for Juan Perón. By the time of the 1946 elections it had come to appear to many Argentines that the choice for president was either for the Argentine Juan Perón or Perón's opposition, whom they perceived as being backed by an American. [Crassweller, Robert. Perón and the Enigmas of Argentina. W. W. Norton and Company. New York, London. ISBN 0 393 30543 0]

Beginning in 1948, Braden was a paid lobbyist for the United Fruit Company. When the company's interests were threatened in Guatemala by President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, Braden helped to conceive and execute the 1954 coup d'etat that overthrew him.

In 1971 "Diplomats and Demagogues: the Memoirs of Spruille Braden" were published by New Rochelle, Arlington House.


Works cited

*Scenna, Miguel A. (1974), "Braden y Perón", Buenos Aires: Korrigan.
*Frank, Gary (1980). "Juan Peron vs. Spruille Braden : the story behind the blue book". Lanham, MD : University Press of America
*Trask, Roger R. "Spruille Braden versus George Messersmith: World War II, the Cold War, and Argentine Policy, 1945-1947" in the "Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs", Vol. 26, No. 1 (Feb., 1984), pp. 69-95

ee also

*United Fruit Company

External links

* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,852408,00.html Democracy’s Bull] , "TIME Magazine", November 15, 1945

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