740.00111 A.R./889: Telegram

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

5. Personal for the Ambassador from the Under Secretary. Your no. 2, January 3, 7 p.m., and your letter of December 27, 1939 to the Under Secretary.10 The question of the procedure to be adopted by the American republics following the statement of December 2311 concerning the violations of the security zone is evidently one for mutual [Page 683] consultation. I personally concur with Ortega’s view that the consideration of the measures which may be open to the American republics in order to attain the objectives of the Declaration of Panamá might properly become one of the functions of the Neutrality Committee. I have given much thought to this matter and have discussed it informally with certain representatives of the American republics, including Gazitúa of the Chilean Embassy here.12 As a result of these discussions we are inclined to feel that the work of the Committee should be divided into four broad fields:

To formulate recommendations when asked to do so as to the action to be taken by any American government when faced by urgent situations similar to that confronted by the Government of Uruguay 2 weeks ago.
To elaborate and clarify questions relating to the rights and obligations of the American republics as neutrals, as set forth in the General Declaration of Neutrality of the American Republics agreed upon at Panamá.
To formulate recommendations to the American governments for the purpose of securing unanimous agreement on the adoption of measures to secure observation on the part of the belligerents of the provisions of the Declaration of Panamá. It is our thought that this point should be discussed and determined without delay; please ascertain whether Ortega believes that it should be made a matter of consultation between all of the American republics through diplomatic channels before the Committee convenes. The most urgent question to be taken up would be the determination of the measures which would make it impossible for belligerent warships, or for belligerent merchant ships, acting as auxiliaries, which violate the terms of the Declaration of Panamá, to obtain fuel or supplies or other facilities in the ports of any American republic.
To receive evidence and reach findings as to facts in cases where alleged violation by the belligerents of the provisions of the Declaration of Panamá has taken place.

I should greatly appreciate Ortega’s views not only concerning the specific points mentioned above but also in regard to the most appropriate method to be adopted in order to circulate such views as may already have been formulated by the American republics on this subject. In view of the fact that the Neutrality Committee will meet at Rio de Janeiro might it not be appropriate to suggest that the Brazilian Government assume the role of coordination in this case?

With particular reference to your letter of December 27 I sincerely appreciate your bringing Ortega’s reactions to my attention. There has of course been no intention of “slighting” anyone; it is perhaps inevitable, in consultations involving 21 different governments, especially where there is great urgency in reaching agreement on fundamentals, that certain details of future procedure such as were raised by him fail to receive prompt consideration in spite of their [Page 684] importance. Please convey to him my warm appreciation for the cooperative attitude which he has shown in these matters and tell him that his views as transmitted by you to me have been of the very greatest value.

  1. For latter, see ibid., 1939, vol. v, p. 123.
  2. Statement released by the Department of State on December 23, printed in the Department of State Bulletin, December 23, 1939, p. 723; see also telegram No. 165, December 22, 1939, 11 a.m., from the Minister in Panama, Foreign Relations, 1939, vol. v, p. 117.
  3. Guillermo Gazitúa, Counselor of Embassy.