While historians have shown unusual agreement in their critical assessment of the results of Philander Knox's Central American policy, they have frequently disagreed on the reasons for this failure, as well as on the goals of the Secretary of State. An examination of one of Knox's loan projects — the Guatemalan refunding scheme — throws light on these two issues. The record of this futile four-year attempt to reorganize the country's financial structure reveals a State Department approach relying eventually on the use of coercive diplomatic methods. These techniques were resourceful, but ineffectual, and contributed to an unproductive and acrimonious diversion with the British Foreign Office. The negotiations suggest that the Secretary and other Department officers sought goals broader in nature than national economic or strategic interest. The extent of their objectives may have contributed to the unsatisfactory outcome of the case.
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