John C. Hall

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parrini, Carl P.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


United States--Foreign relations--Cuba; United States--Foreign economic relations--Cuba; Cuba--Foreign relations--United States


Despite the numerous historical studies done on Cuba, the Island offers researchers an unlimited area for new interpretations. Recent studies on Cuba have concentrated entirely on the Castro years to the absolute neglect of United States involvement in Cuba before the arrival of the Communist Dictator. This particular study is the result of extensive research of the Cuban Decimal File at Northern Illinois University. The File contains vast amounts of recently declassified American State Department documents that shed new light on the understanding of United States involvement in Cuba prior to 1930. This particular paper considers America's Cuban policy from 1917 to 1923 particularly in its role as pertains to the economic expansionism of the United States. Too often American historians consider Cuba as an "extension" of the United States in light of the Island's proximity and the close "bond" constructed by the Platt Amendment; consequently Cuba's value as a study in America's international policy is neglected. The paper contends that the success of United States policy in Cuba was vital to the fulfillment of a world economic community; the principal goal of America's foreign policy after World War I. America's failure to exhibit successful economic cooperation in Cuba between 1917 and 1923 contributed to the failure of the realization of a world economic community. The paper attempts to study the interaction of three groups vital to an understanding of America's Cuban policy; the American business interests in Cuba, New York banking houses and the United States Government. The success of America's policy on the Island depended to a great extent on the degree of harmony in which these three groups interacted with each other. The years 1917 to 1923 provide a test case in which to study the foreign policy of the United States in Cuba. The period includes prosperity, depression and a return to prosperity. Both nations encountered changes in presidential administrations and both nations played a key role in America's plan for a world economic community. International cooperation was the key to the realization of a world economic community. In Cuba the United States faced the problem of integrating power and virtue. Presidents Harding and Wilson sincerely wanted to establish a democratic self-government in Cuba but they also worked diligently to expand America's commercial interests on the island. Inevitably the two interests met and the United States had to choose between its own best interest and Cuba's best interest. From 1917 to 1923 the United States drifted towards a more dictatorial policy. Enoch Crowder, America's special envoy's drift from adviser to interventor reflected America's drift from a policy of cooperation; that element so necessary to the realization of a world economic community. Cuba provides historians and students an excellent study of economic diplomacy as it developed after World War I. While America's Cuban policy succeeded in developing a rich foreign market as part of America's economic expansion program, it failed to set an example of political-economic cooperation that might have encouraged other nations to join in forming a world economic community.


Includes bibliographical references.


iv, 149 pages




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