Chapter 37 ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Shadow of War ~ 1933 – 1941
I. The London Conference
The 1933 London Conference composed 66 nations that came together to hopeefullly develop a worldwide
solution to the Great Depression.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt at first agreed to send Secretary of State Cordell Hull, but then withdrew
from that agreement and scolded the other nations for trying to stabilize currencies.
As a result, the conference adjourned accomplishing nothing, and furthermore strengthening American
II. Freedom for (from?) the Filipinos and Recognition for the Russians
With hard times, Americans were eager to do away with their liabilities in the Philippine Islands. And, American
sugar producers wanted to get rid of the Filipino sugar producers due to the competition they created.
In 1934, Congress passed the Tydings-McDuffie Act, stating that the Philippines would receive their
independence after 12 years of economic and political tutelage, in 1946.
Army bases were relinquished, but naval bases were kept.
iii. Americans were freeing themselves of a liability and creeping into further isolationism Meanwhile, militarists in
Japan began to see that they could take over the Pacific easily without U.S. interference or resistance.
iv. In 1933, FDR finally formally recognized the Soviet Union, hoping that the U.S. could trade with the U.S.S.R.,
and that the Soviets would discourage German and Japanese aggression.
III. Becoming a Good Neighbor
In terms of its relations with Latin America, the U.S. wanted to be a “good neighbor,” showing that it was content
as a regional power, not a world one.
In 1933, FDR renounced armed intervention in Latin America at the Seventh Pan-American Conference in
Montevideo, Uruguay, and the following year, U.S. marines left Haiti.
iii. The U.S. also lifted troops from Panama, but when Mexican forces seized Yankee oil properties, FDR found
himself urged to take drastic action.
However, he resisted and worked out a peaceful deal.
His “good neighbor” policy was a great success, improving the U.S. image in Latin American eyes.
IV. Secretary Hull’s Reciprocal Trade Agreement
Secretary of State Hull believed that trade was a two-way street, and he had a part in Congress’s passing of the
Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act in 1934 which activated low-tariff policies while aiming at relief and recovery
by boosting American trade.
This act whittled down the most objectionable schedules of the Hawley-Smoot law by amending them,
lowering rates by as much as half, provided that the other country would do the same toward the United
The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act reversed the traditional high-tariff policy that had damaged America
before and paved the way for the American-led free-trade international economic system that was implemented
after World War II.
V. Impulses Toward Storm-Center Isolationism