Translator’s Summary of Replies of the American Republics to the Uruguayan Proposal 17
Agrees with Uruguay as to the seriousness of the situation which would arise should any American country be the victim of an aggression by a non-continental power.[Page 32]
Recalls that, as far back as 1863, Argentina had recognized that a threat to one American Government would be a threat to all and had stated that it would be the first to seek an agreement with the other American Governments to provide for the common defense and security.
But feels that the existing inter-American pacts are sufficient and that the purposes of this initiative, if achieved, would in no way modify the lines already laid down for the American Republics. If the spirit of declarations already adopted agrees that aggression against one American nation involves them all, then the duty of contributing to the common defense of the continent is obviously imposed.
Argentina’s position, then, actually coincides with that of Uruguay.
Is “in accord with the attitude proposed…18 which harmonizes with the Pan American agreements, and in particular, with Resolution No. XV of the Habana conference.”
Fully adheres now—as in 1917—to the proposal that no American country which, in defense of its rights, may find itself in a state of war with countries from other continents shall be treated as a belligerent and hopes that it will be adopted by all the countries of the continent because it would make more rapidly executable, in the interests of America, the rules already established by the conferences at Lima, Panama, and Habana.
Believes “that Resolution XV of Habana satisfies immediate needs…and that, accordingly, it might be wise for the present to observe the course of events in perspective, before assuming a new attitude.”
Considers that Resolution XV of the Habana conference fully covers the situation with its statement that any attack by a non-American State on the integrity or inviolability of the territory, against the sovereignty or political independence of an American State shall be considered an act against the States signing the declaration. The obvious consequence of this is that, in case of aggression, the logical, imperative reaction must be for each State to make available to the attacked State all the means which may progressively [Page 33] be necessary. The language of the agreement is so unmistakable that it patently not only includes the concept of not considering the attacked American nation a belligerent and granting its vessels port facilities, but also involves every sort of cooperation, including the extreme means of action which circumstances may require.
Furthermore, Cuba does not feel that the second paragraph of Resolution XV necessarily implies that consultation between the States can be effected only by means of meetings of Foreign Ministers, nor that such consultation will involve the question of what the attitude of the various States is to be in the situation. That has already been decided. Only tactical measures will need to be discussed. Hence, even a meeting of Foreign Ministers will not necessarily involve great delays.
However, Cuba recognizes the excellent moral effect and usefulness of Uruguay’s proposal, since it allows the American Republics once more to reaffirm what they have already declared at Habana, with all the logical consequences which that declaration implies. On its part, Cuba states that it maintains all the obligations which it contracted at the Habana conference and is prepared to give all cooperation for the defense of the continent and the attacked State, as circumstances and the needs of each case may require.
Expresses the opinion that Resolution XV of the Habana conference “includes all that could be desired in the present circumstances with respect to a collective defensive entente and that the faithful fulfillment and normal functioning of its provisions will remove all danger of attack from our nationalities.” Furthermore, the third paragraph of the resolution provides possibilities for the American Governments to improve its mechanism, in a gradual and progressive manner, as events require or as hemispheric conditions advise.
Chile feels that there is no advantage in drawing up new agreements, which would only be a repetition of those already in existence and which might weaken, rather than strengthen them, and likewise that there is no advantage in multiplying initiatives which might cause the countries of the continent to appear divided or create doubts as to the efficacy of their present agreements. It feels, further, that the meeting of Foreign Ministers provided in Resolution XV will provide the occasion for each Government to consider the background of the specific question and the measure of its contribution to the common effort, as well as the occasion to draft and adopt the measures the case requires, coordinate defense and establish a rapid and efficacious plan of action. In adopting this attitude, Chile believes that it is not deviating from the traditional line of its international [Page 34] policy of close solidarity and is ready to fulfill the engagements which it has contracted and to collaborate in the common defense.
Ecuador—July 4 (Communicated in a note of July 14 from the Legation in Montevideo)
The Government of Ecuador is completely in sympathy with the Pan Americanist attitude of the Uruguayan Government and declares that, for its part, no American country in the situation mentioned will be treated by it as a belligerent.
Ecuador considers that such an attitude is the obvious consequence of Resolution XV of the Habana conference, for if the American Governments hold themselves to be attacked whenever any one American country is the victim of an aggression, they obviously cannot treat as a belligerent an American nation involved in war, in defense of its rights, with a non-American power.
Ecuador feels that a declaration in this sense would constitute the agreement which Uruguay has persistently sought since 1917. In fully adhering to Uruguay’s views, the Ecuadoran Government states that it would also like to see such a declaration “completed by others regulating the situation already established by other inter-American agreements, such as those relative to neutrality, security zone, etc., as well as to the concrete circumstances which the development of the world war is creating in regard to the international, economic, etc., life, of the American States.”
El Salvador—July 4
Is completely in agreement with Uruguay’s views. Will support any proposal looking toward the defense of the American Continent, in accordance with the resolutions approved at the Panama and Habana meetings. If, in addition to these resolutions, other precautions are considered necessary, El Salvador suggests the advisability of the creation of a Pan American organism of a military, financial and economic character, the exclusive purpose of which would be to prepare and direct the defense of this hemisphere.
United States of America—July 1 (See Department of State Bulletin, July 5, 1941, for English text.)
The Government of Guatemala finds that all the points in the Uruguayan memorandum coincide with its own ideals of Pan American solidarity and its constant effort to promote such solidarity and faithfully to comply with the agreements and declarations signed at the Buenos Aires and Lima conferences and at the meetings in Panama and Habana.[Page 35]
It recalls that at Buenos Aires19 Guatemala offered the draft of an inter-American treaty of solidarity and cooperation, in consideration of which point XXVII of the Final Act declared that “all the nations of America will consider as their own any injury inflicted by extra-continental nations on the rights of any one of them, and such injury must give rise to a uniform and common reaction.”* Accordingly, Guatemala is exceedingly pleased with Uruguay’s initiative and is happy to declare that, should the case occur, Guatemala would maintain the principles enunciated in Resolution XV of Habana and also the principle of the non-belligerency of any American nation involved in war with a non-American power, in defense of its rights.
Haiti, in adhering to the proposals made by Uruguay in the sense of Pan American solidarity since 1917 and definitively formulated in Resolution XV of the Habana conference, feels that it has been faithful to a century-old policy of Haiti in international affairs. Further, in adhering in 1937 to the principles enunciated by the American Secretary of State to the effect that any situation of armed hostilities, or from which armed hostilities may result, constitutes a state of fact susceptible of affecting the rights and interests of all nations, Haiti showed its firm decision to collaborate in any measure capable of dissipating or combating any danger to the American continent.
Haiti adds that Uruguay’s apparent fear of delay in the execution of the treaties intended to meet the case of an aggression would, in Haiti’s opinion, be conceivable “if the attitude of the Government of the United States of America, one of those most capable of placing at the disposition of the countries of this Hemisphere the means of repelling the aggression, did not offer reasons for hope and confidence.” It mentions the Lend-Lease Act as one of the reasons for such confidence, and the occupation of Iceland as another.
“…the Government of Honduras accepts and supports in its entirety the initiative of the Government of Uruguay in the matter.”
The Government of Mexico expresses extreme satisfaction with the Uruguayan doctrine of American solidarity, which coincides with the [Page 36] spirit of firm continental cooperation which has ever animated the Mexican people. It is recalled that, on May 17, Mexico, at the meeting of the Neutrality Committee in Rio, maintained that the restrictions and limitations imposed as regards the security zone should only affect non-American powers. This implied the view that American countries, if at war with non-American nations, should not be treated as belligerents.
Mexico, hence, accepts the Uruguayan proposal both as to the matter and the procedure it suggests. As to the latter, however, it feels that Resolution XV of the Habana conference provides adequate means of consultation, pointing out that it does not require meetings of the Foreign Ministers for matters of this kind, but permits a system of direct consultation.
Mexico hopes that the proposal will shortly crystallize in a general formula.
“…supports the initiative contained in the memorandum from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay dated June 21 last.”
Accepts the proposal in principle and would be willing to adhere to it if it is accepted by all the American countries.
In principle supports any initiative tending to facilitate mutual aid and defensive cooperation between American nations and, accordingly, approves of Uruguay’s efforts. It is of the opinion, moreover, that any American State attacked by a non-American power could not be treated as a belligerent. But, though it favors a practical formula for joint aid, it does not believe that the present procedure of consultation should be abolished. It is a procedure which has been approved at the various inter-American conferences and Paraguay holds that a method so sanctioned cannot be abolished by mere inquiry made of the various Foreign Offices.
While willing to coordinate its opinion with that of the other States, Peru holds the view that a new agreement, on the basis of the Uruguayan proposal, would avail little, as so much must depend on the course of the present conflict and the situation of each country with respect thereto, etc. It feels that Resolution XV of the Habana conference is adequate.
Dominican Republic—July 19
Finds that the initiative of the Uruguayan Government coincides entirely with its own views and, because of this harmony of views as [Page 37] to the matter of the proposal, refrains from any discussion which might lead to the demonstration that a new collective pronouncement on the subject is unnecessary, because the “concordance of attitudes” suggested by the Uruguayan Government is already provided by existing Pan American agreements. Moreover, it does believe that the rapidity which would be obtained through a previously agreed-upon concordant attitude is a factor of such obvious usefulness in the case anticipated by the memorandum that it would fully justify any possible deviation which the new procedure might imply respecting other procedures—such as consultation—provided in existing agreements.
Finds its views in full harmony with those of Uruguay, as is clearly shown by its proposals at the Lima conference and at Habana, its proposal at the latter meeting having resulted in Resolution XV. It accordingly expresses its concurrence with the Uruguayan proposal and offers its support in considering the means by which these ideas may be given the form and efficacy of a positive rule of continental policy.
- This summary was prepared in the Department of State from the pamphlet of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de la República Oriental del Uruguay, entitled Solidaridad Americana, Consulta Sobre el Caso de un Estado Americano en una Guerra Extracontinental (Montevideo, 1941). The pamphlet was transmitted to the Department with despatch No.199 October 3, 1941, from the Ambassador in Uruguay; received October 11.↩
- Omissions throughout document indicated in translator’s summary.↩
- Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, held at Buenos Aires, December 1–23, 1936; for correspondence on the Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. v, pp. 3 ff.↩
- The wording of this paragraph in the English text of the Final Act is not very close to this Spanish rendering i.e.: “That every act susceptible of disturbing the peace of America affects each and every one of them, and justifies the initiation of the procedure of consultation provided for in the Convention for the Maintenance, Preservation and Reestablishment of Peace, signed at this conference.” (Report of the Delegation of the USA) Tr [Footnote in the translator’s summary.]↩