710.H/163

The Ambassador in Argentina ( Weddell ) to the Secretary of State
No. 2266

Sir: I have the honor to transmit the original text, and translation, of an exposé, prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which embodies the views of the Argentine Government with respect to the forthcoming Conference at Lima.

In my despatch No. 2257 of October 21, 1938 I reported that Doctor Cantilo had promised me such an expression of views and had, at the same time, outlined a project which his delegation intended to support at the Conference, and which is in amplification of Article 2 of the Convention for the Maintenance, Preservation and Reestablishment of Peace signed at Buenos Aires in December, 1936. It will be seen that the Argentine Government considers that the system of mutual consultation agreed upon in Buenos Aires might be extended to apply not only to the case of war, or menace of war, but to specific cases of a different order. In my conversation with Doctor Cantilo he stated that such specific cases might, in his opinion, cover questions such as customs, frontier police, immigration, etc. He added that in order to insure prompt consultation, the Governments interested might, if they so desired, delegate their diplomatic representatives to attend the meetings whenever necessary.

The exposé further stresses the necessity for the Conference to abide strictly by the agenda and to avoid the unexpected inclusion of projects which might create divergencies or confusion among the delegations. The Argentine Government expresses itself as contrary to the Inter–American Court of Justice50 and the League of American Nations;51 and refers, in addition to the Briand–Kellogg Pact,52 to certain specific treaties which might be taken into consideration with a view to perfecting and coordinating inter-American instruments [Page 33] of peace. Reference is also made to the peace code53 to be submitted at the Lima Conference and to the unduly slow procedure of the proposed Commission of Conciliation54 which, in the opinion of the Argentine Government, is a defect already attributable to the Gondra Pact.55

The Argentine Government will furthermore insist on its reservation in connection with Article 6 of the Convention to Coordinate, Extend and Assure the Fulfillment of the Existing Treaties Between the American States,56 and furnishes its interpretation of this Article. It also favors postponing consideration of the definition of the aggressor. As to sanctions, the opinion is expressed that those of a moral or juridical character are more practicable, for as long as the application of material sanctions is not general it cannot be effective.

Other points in the exposé refer to the codification of international law, financial claims, women’s political and civil rights and to the recognition of belligerency.

It is of some interest to note that in matters of immigration the Argentine Government will claim that no system of quotas should be established among American republics and that it is necessary to stress the right to regulate and select immigration in accordance with national requirements.

Respectfully yours,

Alexander W. Weddell
[Enclosure—Translation]
Memorandum Prepared by the Argentine Ministry for Foreign Affairs

VIII Pan American Conference at Lima

The Argentine Delegation to the VIII Pan American Conference at Lima has no purpose other than that of frankly cooperating in the study and settlement of matters which appear on the agenda and which concern all the countries represented. In this respect, the Argentine Government considers that the Conference, particularly at the present moment, should reflect the unity and solidarity of the American countries and therefore avoid all topics which might divide them.

[Page 34]

In this respect, the Argentine Delegation will uphold the desirability of following strictly the pre-established agenda, in order to avoid the unexpected inclusion of projects which might create divergencies or confusion among the delegations.

There are two topics on this agenda which may give rise to differences and violent debates: the Inter-American Court of Justice and the League of American Nations. The Argentine Republic has already expressed, at the Conference for the Consolidation of Peace, its adverse opinion on these projects. It is also opposed to anything that may tend to confer political powers upon the Pan American Union or to create any political organization of a permanent character.

But the Argentine Government intends to help to bring about closer relations among the American nations and governments and, in this sense, it believes that the system of mutual consultation, agreed upon in Buenos Aires, might be extended and applied, not only in case of war or menace of war, but in special cases of a different kind when the common interests of the American countries should make it advisable.

The Argentine Delegation will define its ideas on this subject in a concrete project.

Without going into a detailed analysis of the agenda but rather as a general consideration of its principal headings, this Chancellery expresses as follows its opinion concerning other topics to be discussed.

With respect to the improvement and coordination of inter-American instruments of peace, it believes that it will be necessary also to take into account the Briand–Kellogg Pact57 since it has been ratified by most of the American Republics, as well as the following: The Treaty to Avoid or Prevent Conflicts Between American Nations;58 The General Convention of [Inter-]American Conciliation,59 and Additional Protocol;60 The General Treaty of Pan [Inter-]American Arbitration,61 and the Protocol on [of] Progressive Arbitration;62 The South American Anti-War Treaty.63 In cases of recourse to arbitration, it considers it necessary to exclude pending matters of political character affecting national defense, and it also considers that in matters of conciliation it would be preferable given the nature of the matter, not to stipulate exceptions.

[Page 35]

With reference to the Peace Code which will again be presented at the Lima Conference, this Chancellery points out that the proposed Commission of Conciliation is of slow procedure, especially insofar as taking up its duties is concerned, this being a defect already inherent in the Gondra Pact.

The Argentina Delegation is instructed to insist on the Argentine reservation made in connection with Article VI of the Convention to Coordinate, Extend and Assure the Fulfilment of the Existing Treaties Between the American States. That is to say, it considers that foodstuffs destined for civil populations should not be defined as contraband of war and that the authorization of credits to finance the acquisition of said foodstuffs is not an act contrary to neutrality.

With reference to determination of the aggressor, this Chancellery believes it would be better to leave this topic until another opportunity presents itself, bearing in mind the difficulties encountered by writers in establishing a clear and well defined concept thereof, as well as the difficulties which have risen within the League of Nations itself.

On the subject of sanctions, experience has demonstrated that those of moral character are more practicable and also perhaps a few of purely juridical character, because, as long as the application of material sanctions is not general, it has no effect. With regard to sanctions of juridical character, the Argentine Delegation will eventually support anything that tends to define concretely certain measures (to be taken), and to establish whether they shall be compulsory or merely recommended.

The Argentine Chancellery likewise considers that the mechanism established in various American conferences for the Codification of International Law is perhaps somewhat complicated and for this reason it believes it advisable to modify the permanent committees and to suppress the Committee of Experts.

With respect to financial claims, the Argentine Delegation will submit a project on diplomatic protection; and with regard to nationality it will reaffirm its opinion on “jus soli” as a fundamental system, without admitting double nationality in any form. All this provided that circumstances and the atmosphere of the Conference do not make it advisable to lay these projects aside.

Likewise the Argentine Delegation is instructed to maintain the affirmation of the principle that juridical persons have no nationality; it will also maintain the classic principles relative to the recognition of belligerency.

In matters of immigration this Chancellery believes that no system of quotas should be established among the American Republics, and that it is necessary, however, clearly to establish the right to regulate and select immigration in accordance with national requirements.

[Page 36]

With regard to Chapter IV which refers to women’s political and civil rights, it considers that this is a subject of purely internal character.

Lastly, it will support all that tends to promote intellectual cooperation and moral disarmament.

  1. See Diario de Sesiones, index, p. xxxi.
  2. See ibid., p. 770.
  3. Treaty between the United States and other powers, signed at Paris, August 27, 1928, Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. i, p. 153.
  4. See Diario de Sesiones, index, p. xxvii.
  5. See, in this connection, “Proyecto Sobre Reuniones de los Ministros de Relaciones Exteriores,” in Diario de Sesiones, p. 109.
  6. Treaty to Avoid or Prevent Conflicts between the American States, signed May 3, 1923, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, p. 308. See also General Convention of Inter-American Conciliation, signed January 5, 1929, ibid., 1929, vol. i, p. 653.
  7. Signed December 23, 1936; for text and reservation, see Report of the Delegation of the United States of America to the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, pp. 131, 137.
  8. Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. i, p. 153.
  9. Ibid., 1923, vol. i, p. 308.
  10. Ibid., 1929, vol. i, p. 653.
  11. Additional Protocol to the General Convention of Inter-American Conciliation, signed at Montevideo, December 26, 1933, ibid., 1933, vol. iv, p. 226.
  12. Signed January 5, 1929, ibid., 1929, vol. i, p. 659.
  13. Signed January 5, 1929, ibid., p. 667.
  14. Anti-War, Nonaggression, and Conciliation Treaty, signed at Rio de Janeiro, October 10, 1933, ibid., 1933, vol. iv, p. 234.