The Alliance for Progress anchored U.S. Cold War strategy in Latin America in the early 1960s, and policymakers nowadays still cite it as a model of success. Even so, the origins of the Alliance remain contested. Some scholars have attributed it mainly to the Kennedy administration, others to the Eisenhower administration, and still others to Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek, whose Operation Pan-America led to the 1960 Treaty of Bogotá. This article outlines the terms and stakes of the ongoing debate among scholars and U.S. decision-makers; it also emphasizes agenda-setting rather than regional power asymmetries to explain how Brazil influenced U.S. policy. Finally, drawing on archival research in the Brazilian and Argentine Foreign Ministries and the Organization of American States (OAS), as well as on published Latin American policy documents and U.S. congressional records, the article shows that Kubitschek created partnerships with Argentina and Colombia and built a Latin American consensus within the OAS, thereby establishing the range of U.S. foreign policy options and setting the inter-American agenda.

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