The Quest for a Self-denying Ordinance (Spring 1943 to Winter 1944–5)

Thomas C. Mills

in Post-War Planning on the Periphery

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748643882
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676699 | DOI:
The Quest for a Self-denying Ordinance (Spring 1943 to Winter 1944–5)

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With British fears of the country's interests being excluded from South America firmly re-established by the spring of 1943, Britain embarked upon a lengthy reformulation of policy towards Latin America. The policy eventually adopted was to call upon the US to agree to a self-denying ordinance in Latin America, which would ensure that neither country secured commercial advantage at the expense of the other while wartime conditions prevented free and fair competition. Furthermore, in making its case to the Roosevelt administration, the British government framed its call for such restraint in the context of the multilateral trade programme. Specifically, the Foreign Office made the argument that continued British access to the markets of South America – which a self-denying ordinance would guarantee – must be a constituent part of a multilateral system. Without such access Britain would lack the necessary balance of payments to be able to participate in multilateralism. But while the initial response to the British request for a self-denying ordinance was sympathetic, the US subsequently failed to adhere to the principle. This chapter therefore demonstrates that when it came to Anglo-American relations in South America, the quest for a self-denying ordinance ultimately proved to be a fruitless one.

Keywords: Britain; Foreign Office; Latin America; multilateralism; self-denying ordinance; South America; US

Chapter.  12688 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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