Problems of the Caribbean Area

June 14, 1943

Report Outline
Caribbean Problems
Extent of Political Democracy in Caribbean Areas
Basic Economic Problems; Proposed Remedies
Wartime Developments in Caribbean Area
Special Focus

Caribbean Problems

Defense Measures taken by the United States in the Caribbean area after the outbreak of the war, both independently and in cooperation with Great Britain, have widened public understanding in this country of the military and economic importance of the Caribbean to the defense of the United States and of the Western Hemisphere.

Mass interest in general problems of the Caribbean area was awakened by the dramatic transaction of September 2, 1940, by which the United States gave 50 over-age destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases to air and naval base sites at eight British colonies in the Western Hemisphere, six of them in the Caribbean region. The destroyer-base trade emphasized not only the purely military problem which faced the United States in the Caribbean but also the difficult political relationships involved in defense of an area which contains three independent nations—Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic—and colonial possessions of Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands, as well as the United States.

Under the Atlantic Charter, the degree of democratic self-government enjoyed in an area so close to American shores, and whose defense is a major responsibility of the United States, is a matter of concern both to the government at Washington and to the American people. The measure of autonomy allowed in United States possessions is directly within the control of the federal government and measures to expand it are now under way at Washington. Limitations upon self-rule in the possessions of European nations and the three independent nations are no less a matter of concern, if for no other reason, because disaffection in the minds of repressed peoples may create situations which will actually hinder military operations.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 18, 2005  Haiti's Dilemma
Feb. 01, 1985  Caribbean Basin Revisited
Jan. 13, 1984  Caribbean Basin Policy
Jan. 11, 1980  Caribbean Security
Jul. 08, 1977  Puerto Rican Status Debate
Oct. 24, 1969  West Indies: Power Vacuum
Apr. 13, 1966  Dominican Dilemma
Nov. 21, 1962  Security in the Caribbean
Jul. 22, 1959  Invasion and Intervention in the Caribbean Area
Nov. 06, 1957  Caribbean Problems and Prospects
Jun. 14, 1943  Problems of the Caribbean Area
Jun. 10, 1940  Foreign Possessions in the Caribbean Area
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean