Scope and Content of Collection
Title: William E. Ratliff papers
Collection number: 88023
Ratliff, William E.
24 manuscript boxes
(9.6 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Writings, correspondence, sound recordings of interviews, reports, memoranda, legal proceedings, internal bulletins, opinion
polls, printed matter, and photographs, relating to communism in Latin America; political and economic conditions, and especially
laissez-faire economics, in Argentina, elsewhere in Latin America, and Hong Kong; President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa
Rica; and the Socialist Workers Party of the United States and Trotskyist groups in Latin America.
Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
Languages represented in the collection:
The collection is open for research. Sound recordings may not be duplicated. The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access
copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see
or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives
[Identification of item], William E. Ratliff papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives
Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1988, with numerous increments added on a regular basis.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes
listed in this finding aid.
||Born, Evanston, Illinois
||Bachelor of Arts, Oberlin College
||Master of Arts, University of Washington
||Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
||Ph.D. in Latin American and Chinese history, University of Washington
Castroism and Communism in Latin America
||Latin American Curator, Hoover Institution Library and Archives
Follow the Leader in the Horn: Cuban-Soviet Presence in East Africa
Changing Course: The Capitalist Revolution in Argentina
(with Roger W. Fontaine)
The Civil War in Nicaragua: Inside the Sandinistas (with Roger Miranda)
Law and Economics in Developing Countries (with Edgardo Buscaglia)
A Strategic Flip-Flop in the Caribbean (with Roger Fontaine)
War and Lack of Governance in Colombia: Narcos, Guerrillas, and U.S. Policy (with Edgardo Buscaglia)
Report from Havana: Time for a Reality Check on U.S. Policy toward Cuba (with Jonathan Clarke)
Doing It Wrong and Doing It Right: Education in Latin America and Asia
Russian Oil in America's Future
China's "Lessons" for Cuba's Transition?
Scope and Content of Collection
Acquired in 1988, with numerous increments added on a regular basis since then, the William E. Ratliff collection in the Hoover
Institution Archives consists largely of primary source materials relating to Latin American history, with some additional
materials concerning the transfer of Hong Kong to Chinese rule. There is also a considerable amount of printed matter in the
collection relating to Trotskyism in Latin America and elsewhere.
As the Latin American curator of the Hoover Library and Archives, and as a scholar in the field of Latin American studies,
Ratliff has made frequent research trips to Central and South America, as well as to Cuba, and has written extensively on
topics pertaining to political and social developments in Latin America. He went to El Salvador in 1984 to monitor that country's
elections and later wrote several analyses of this event. A number of Ratliff's many published articles are contained in the
Speeches and Writings series of the collection.
A major component of the collection is the extensive series of interviews conducted by Ratliff with prominent political figures
from Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Nicaragua, as well as with former officials from the United States and ex-Soviet
Union with experience in Latin American affairs. A related group of interviews comprises an oral history of Costa Rican politics
during the presidency of José Figueres. Other interviews cover such subjects as the civil war in El Salvador; conflict within
Nicaragua during the period of the Sandinista government; views on Cuba from defectors from the Castro regime; and developments
in Argentina following the end of military rule in the 1980s.
A subject of particular interest to Ratliff has been the question of market liberalization in Latin America during recent
decades, and there are a number of interviews with economists and officials from the region on this subject. A smaller part
of the Interviews series consists of interviews with officials in Hong Kong regarding the transfer of sovereignty in the former
crown colony to China.
During the early 1980s, Ratliff was called as an expert witness in a trial involving a lawsuit brought by the Socialist Workers
Party against the United States government, which was eventually found liable for damages inflicted during its surveillance
of the Trotskyist SWP. Ratliff gave testimony on behalf of the government, giving his opinion on the relation, if any, between
Latin American Trotskyism and terrorism. The Socialist Workers Trial File in the collection contains some transcripts of proceedings
in the lawsuit, and an extensive amount of articles, pamphlets, and serial issues relating to Trotskyist groups in Latin America
An early research focus of Ratliff's was the question of Chinese communist influence on leftist movements in Latin America
during the 1960s. The British Foreign Office File in the collection contains a large number of articles on this subject. These
excerpts from small circulation newsletters on Latin American politics are arranged by country.
[The collection is organized into nine series: Correspondence, Speeches and Writings, Sound Recordings of Interviews, Research
Materials, Socialist Workers Party Trial File, British Foreign Office File, United States Information Agency File, Subject
File, and Audiovisual File.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in Stanford University's online catalog.
Figueres Ferrer, José, 1906-1990
Socialist Workers Party.
Subversive activities--United States.
Internal security--United States.
Petroleum industry and trade--Argentina.
Argentina--Politics and government--1983-2002.
Costa Rica--Politics and government.
Latin America--Economic conditions--1982-
Hong Kong (China)