710. Consultation (3)A/50: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Uruguay (Dawson)

250. Embassy’s 341, May 5, 1 p.m. For the Ambassador and Mr. Spaeth. Although it is not entirely clear whether the Chilean and Argentine members stated that their actions with regard to the proposal introduced by the Brazilian member were in response to specific instruction from their Governments, the Department feels that the situation thus created poses a basic issue which if allowed to become a precedent would adversely affect the whole future of the Committee for Political Defense. The Department believes therefore that provided you both perceive no objection the Ambassador acting on behalf of this Government, but accompanied by Mr. Spaeth, in order to indicate the gravity with which we view the situation, should present orally to Guani as President of the Committee the views of this Government somewhat along the following lines:

“The Government of the United States has been informed by its Ambassador in Montevideo that there appears to be some divergence of view on the part of the members of the Committee for Political Defense with respect to the character of their functions and those of the Committee.

It is the understanding of the Government of the United States based upon Article 28 of the regulations for the Committee for Political Defense approved by the Governing Board of the Pan American Union that the idea in creating a committee of 7 rather than 21 members appointed by individual American republics was that the Committee and the members thereof would represent the 21 American republics as a whole and not the individual Governments who appointed the 7 members. This Government considers it not only proper but necessary that individual governments supply such information as may be called for by the Committee as well as any useful background information which may serve as a guide for the individual members of the Committee with respect to the attitudes and policies of the several American republics. It does not, however, believe that it would be either just or conducive to the utility of the Committee were 7 Governments to claim for themselves the [Page 78]privilege of attempting to speak for all 21 American republics by controlling the action of the members. It would appear that since the resolutions of the Committee are merely advisory in character, each American government is amply protected in its liberty of action in determining whether part or all of any recommendation which may be submitted to it can be accepted and put into effect. Moreover, it is only to be expected that certain recommendations, however well founded in principle, may not be susceptible of adoption by certain Governments because of constitutional or political impediments. Also the fact that a country may have adopted legislation or taken action along pertinent lines in advance of the receipt of a recommendation from the Committee should not affect the desirability of addressing such recommendations to all of the Governments, nor does it affect the collective responsibility of any member of the Committee in acting for all the Governments.”

In discussing the matter with Guani you may suggest that as President of the Committee he might discuss the matter with the individual members, or that he may wish, as Foreign Minister of Uruguay, to take up the matter through appropriate diplomatic channels. Finally, Mr. Spaeth may wish to observe that the record clearly shows that the Committee for Political Defense was organized without any reference to or necessary connection with the forthcoming Police and Judicial Conference in Buenos Aires.

  1. Strengthening of Internal Security, p. 116.