Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs
The Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs was a United States agency promoting inter-American cooperation during the 1940s, especially in commercial and economic areas. It was started in August 1940 as OCCCRBAR (Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations between the American Republics) with Nelson Rockefeller as its head, appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In its early days, a particular concern of the CIAA was the elimination of German influence in South America, and that of other Axis powers. Trade routes to Europe were disrupted following the fall of France in June 1940, presenting opportunities to both Germany and the U.S. At the same time, many agents or affiliates of U.S. firms operating in Latin America were sympathetic to European Axis powers. The office encouraged a voluntary program of non-cooperation with companies and individuals perceived to be anti-American. To this end it cooperated secretly with British Security Coordination in New York. Though isolated in Europe, Britain maintained an extensive intelligence network in Latin America, and was happy to undermine Germany's trade efforts overseas by identifying sympathisers and agents. Through these efforts, U.S. exporters were encouraged to drop over a thousand accounts in South America during the first half of 1941.
The office was also concerned with public opinion in Latin America. It translated and disseminated relevant speeches by President Roosevelt, and distributed pro-U.S materials to features syndicates in the region. It carried out audience research surveys and encouraged radio broadcasters targeting these regions to improve the quality of their programming. In order to discourage opposing views it created a 'Proclaimed List', a black-list of newspapers and radio stations owned or influenced by Axis powers. Latin American firms wishing to do business with America were discouraged from dealing with these stations. Tax incentives were also used: spending by American firms on unprofitable longwave transmission to Latin America could be deducted from income tax payments. Likewise, spending on approved advertising in Latin America became deductible from corporate income taxes.
- Thomson, Charles Alexander Holmes, Overseas information service of the United States Government, The Brookings Institution, 1948. Cf. p.4.
- Paul Kramer Nelson Rockefeller and British Security Coordination. . pp. 73–88 "Immediately after the fall of France there was unanimity of feeling within the Roosevelt administration that something had to be done about Latin America..."
- Gerald K. Haines Under the Eagle's Wing: The Franklin Roosevelt Administration Forges An American Hemisphere. . pp. 373–388 "Aided by United States tax laws that provided for expenditures made by the radio industry"