Thomas C. Mann and Latin America, 1945-1966

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This dissertation provides a detailed examination of the influence of Thomas Clifton Mann on the Latin American policy of the United States of America. A Foreign Service Officer from 1942, Mann eventually rose to the position of Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs, and was President Lyndon Johnson’s most valued adviser on inter-American policy until his retirement from government service in May 1966. Commonly portrayed as highly conservative, insensitive to Latin American needs, and opposed to U.S. aid programs, Mann was a far more complex character than his critics have allowed. During the Eisenhower administration Mann’s influence was vital in reorienting policy priorities in Washington, emphasising the need for price stabilisation measures and limited development aid. During the Kennedy administration he opposed the Bay of Pigs invasion, before serving as Ambassador to Mexico where he successfully resolved the nation’s longest running border dispute. Most influential under Lyndon Johnson, Mann sought to place U.S. policy on a stable and sustainable path, reining in unrealistic expectations while fending off attacks from fiscal conservatives opposed to aid measures of any kind. In studying Mann’s career, much is revealed regarding the nature of U.S.-Latin American relations during a crucial period of history. While U.S. goals remained largely consistent, the nature of the challenges faced and the tactics used to counter them did not. Mann’s career saw the Cold War come to Latin America, and was met with both aid and military intervention, often in the form of counterinsurgency training and operations. Mann’s role in developing those polices reveals the contrasts and, more often, consistencies between the administrations he served, and undermines claims that the transition from Kennedy to Johnson witnessed a radical policy overhaul. Studying Mann’s career also illuminates divisive internal debates over the nature and meaning of inter-American relations, and the role and influence of an individual within Washington’s policymaking bureaucracy.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


  • Thomas Clifton Mann
  • Alliance for Progress
  • Lyndon Johnson
  • U.S.- Latin American Relations


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