710.H Continental Solidarity/10: Telegram

The Ambassador in Chile ( Armour ) to the Secretary of State

136. The Foreign Minister has just given to the United Press for publication, and the Foreign Office has delivered to this Embassy, the following statement regarding President Roosevelt’s remarks of November 15th regarding continental solidarity as relating to defense:

“President Roosevelt’s statement has been most sympathetically welcomed in Chile. With the report just published in the press it is not possible to appreciate the real scope of the ideas propounded by the eminent Chief Executive of the great republic to the north; nevertheless, it may be stated, pending the formulation of a concrete proposal, that there is no intention of promoting the revival of doctrines or practices already fallen into desuetude or that establishment of standards for continental isolation, but that the purpose is to crystallize into terms of effective action, the solidarity of the American nations.

On other opportunities thought has been given to matters analogous to those President Roosevelt now has in mind. A resolution was adopted at the Buenos Aires Conference for the Maintenance of Peace71 providing ‘that every act susceptible of disturbing the peace of America affects each and every one of them (the American Republics) and justifies the initiation of the procedure of consultation’; such solidarity functions by means of the procedure for consultation whereunder it is agreed to consider collectively each case in which the peace or the interests of the community of the American nations or of any country whatsoever individually are imperilled.

We are aware of the difficulties which will arise in endeavoring to give contractual form to an idea such as the proposed. But that should not be an obstacle to prosecuting its study. The democratic processes of America fortunately permit the free discussion of these subjects.

The Chilean delegation to the Lima Conference will number among its instructions one to make more effective the system of reciprocal consultations among all the American countries for each case which may interest them. And as it has been said that every act which disturbs the peace of America affects all of us, as soon as a situation affecting the peace arises, the system of consultation which we hope to see perfected at the Lima Conference ought to begin to function.

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I couple these ideas with the object of making at once a constructive contribution to the dilucidation [elucidation?] of the problem raised by the statement of President Roosevelt.”

Privately, Señor Cohen72 spoke of advisability that United States utterances and comments avoid any indication that continental solidarity on trade matters could be involved, as several countries feel that they could not afford even indirectly to compromise their commerce with other continents.

  1. See Report of the Delegation of the United States of America to the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, pp. 227, 228.
  2. Benjamin Cohen, secretary general and alternate delegate of the Chilean delegation.