The Good Neighbor Policy was unique: a great power obligated itself not to use force in its dealings with twenty smaller powers and not to interfere in their domestic politics. It was a policy that lasted, with some perturbations, for twenty years: instituted by President Roosevelt in 1933 and carried out effectively from 1933 to 1943 by word and action, maintained during the Second World War largely as a result of British concern for continuance of Argentine beef exports, codified in the Charter of the Organization of American States in 1948, and reasserted by Truman and Acheson in 1950–51, it was covertly repudiated in Guatemala in 1954 by Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers, and not so secretly by Kennedy in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. Openly shattered in the Dominican Republic by Johnson in 1965, it has since been completely abandoned in favor of the usual relationships between large and small powers.
Working with documents from the Public Records Office in London and the National Archives, with recently released materials from the U.S. Department of State, and with secondary sources, Bryce Wood describes the temptations laid before the leaders of one powerful state by its occasionally recalcitrant neighbors, and the ways of reacting that were found. Having told half the story in his The Making of the Good Neighbor Policy, Wood now concludes it in the present volume. One of the chief casualties is shown to be the Organization of American States, which since 1954 has found itself badly crippled in its work to promote harmony and continued cooperation among the member states.