710 Consultation 3/16a: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Diplomatic Representatives in the American Republics

You are requested to seek an immediate interview with the Foreign Minister of the country to which you are accredited and hand him the following aide-mémoire.

“The American Republics, at the Inter-American Conferences held in Buenos Aires, Lima, Panama, and Habana have jointly recognized that a threat to the peace, security or territorial integrity of any American Republic is of common concern to all.

In the Fifteenth Resolution adopted by the American Republics at the Consultative Meeting held in Habana in July of 1940,1 and entitled ‘Reciprocal Assistance and Cooperation for the Defense of the Nations of the Americas’, the American Republics declared that ‘any attempt on the part of a non-American state against the integrity or inviolability of the territory, the sovereignty, or the political independence of an American state shall be considered as an act of aggression against the states which signed this declaration’, further declared that in case such acts of aggression are committed against an American state by a non-American nation ‘the nations signatory to the present declaration will consult among themselves in order to agree upon the measure it may be advisable to take.’

On December 7, 1941, without warning or notice, and during the course of negotiations entered into in good faith by the Government of the United States for the purpose of maintaining peace, territory [Page 119] of the United States was treacherously attacked by armed forces of the Japanese Empire.

The course of events since the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 clearly demonstrates that the fate of every free and peace-loving nation of the world hinges upon the outcome of the present struggle against the ruthless efforts of certain Powers, including the Japanese Empire, to dominate the entire earth by the sword.

The wave of aggression has now broken upon the shores of the New World.

In this situation that menaces the peace, the security and the future independence of the Western Hemisphere, a consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs appears to be of urgent desirability.

Therefore, in conformity with the procedure on consultation approved by the Second Meeting of Foreign Ministers at Habana, the Government of the United States is informing the Governing Board of the Pan American Union of its desire to hold a consultative meeting at the earliest possible moment.

In as much as the procedure agreed upon in Habana provides that the Governing Board of the Pan American Union shall not only transmit the request for consultation but, on the basis of the answer received, determine the date of the meeting, prepare the agenda, and adopt all other measures advisable for the preparation of the meeting, it is hoped that each country will appropriately instruct its diplomatic representatives in Washington in the premises.”

Please telegraph the Department promptly of the reply made to you.2

  1. For correspondence concerning this Meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. v, pp. 180 ff.; for Resolution XV, see Department of State Bulletin, August 24, 1940, p. 136.
  2. The replies printed herein are only those raising some special point of interest.