The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Brazil ( Gibson )
59. Your 106, April 1, 1 p.m. I have been having informal conversations with the diplomatic representatives of the other American republics during the past few days in order to ascertain what the views of their respective governments may be as to the most agreeable and practical manner of handling the formulation of the program for the conference. I have indicated in all of these conversations the belief of this Government that full and ample opportunity must be given to each one of the governments attending the conference to present such projects as it may desire for the consideration of the other governments. I have expressed the opinion that the conference could only be successful if it was generally recognized that every one of the twenty-one governments had had an equal share in the determination of the agenda.
Some of the Diplomatic Representatives have suggested that the formulation of the program might be entrusted to the Governing Board of the Pan American Union. Others, and especially the Brazilian Ambassador, have voiced the opinion that the Governing Board should not be entrusted with any jurisdiction over political questions and that it would be preferable that the diplomatic representatives in Washington of the American republics together with a representative of the United States constitute themselves a committee to consider all projects advanced. This latter suggestion would probably be the most efficacious method of expediting the work involved and of avoiding the impression that a small group of the major powers of the continent are determining in advance what the program shall be.
If this proposal meets with the approval of all of the participating governments, (and I wish you would cable the Department the opinion of the Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning this suggestion), the matter will probably be broached by the Secretary of State immediately after the conclusion of the next meeting of the Governing Board of the Pan American Union on April 8.
This Government will present for the consideration of the other participating governments various suggestions which may be divided into four categories:
- Suggestions relating to amendments of existing peace instruments and projects for new peace instruments;
- Suggestions relative to the supplementing of existing rules regarding rights and duties of neutrals and belligerents with particular reference to matters of trade and commerce;
- Suggestions relative to economic matters; and
- Suggestions relative to cultural questions.
I am informed that the Mexican, Colombian, Venezuelan, Peruvian, and Chilean Governments are now formulating projects and suggestions for transmission to their representatives here. You have presumably been advised that the Argentine Government has already transmitted a series of projects to the Argentine Ambassador in Washington and that further projects will be transmitted shortly. The Government of Guatemala has already submitted its formulated suggestions, but it seems improbable at this time that the other Central American or Caribbean countries will undertake to suggest any projects.
You may express to the Minister for Foreign Affairs the pleasure and interest with which this Government has learned of the studies now being undertaken by the Brazilian Foreign Office and of its hope that the specific proposals which may result from these studies may be transmitted for the consideration of this government and of the other participating governments at an early moment.