RSC Lot 60–D 224, Box 99: UNCIO Cons Amer Rep Min 2

Notes on Second Informal Consultative Meeting With Chairmen of Delegations of Certain American Republics, Held at San Francisco, May 15, 1945, 2:45 p.m.

[Informal Notes]

[Here follows list of names of participants, including chairmen of delegations of the United States (15 additional members of delegation), Brazil, Chile (one additional delegate), Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.]

The Secretary of State opened the session with the remark that he wanted to reaffirm the statement made at the previous meeting that the United States desired to strengthen the inter-American system and to do nothing which might weaken it. Since the last meeting he had discussed the regional problem with other members of the United States Delegation and two drafts had been prepared which he wished to submit for their consideration.

The draft revision of May 15 of paragraph 3 of Chapter VIII, Section A, and the new paragraph 12 for Section B of the same Chapter24 were distributed and were then read by the Secretary.

The Secretary stated that after thorough consideration of all aspects of the problem the delegation had come to the conclusion that it was not desirable to insist that the Act of Chapultepec be mentioned [Page 731] in Chapter VIII, Section C, but were in accord with Dr. Padilla that the word “encourage” was not adequate in the first paragraph of Section C.

The Secretary prefaced his next remark with the statement that this was a private meeting and nothing of what was said in it should be made public. He then said that he wished to make a statement as Secretary of State of the United States and not as Chairman of the American Delegation. He informed the meeting that he had been in communication with President Truman and as a result of that conversation was authorized to say to his colleagues that there would be no change in the Good Neighbor policy and that the Government of the United States looked to the strengthening of the inter-American system and would do nothing which might weaken it. It was the desire of the Government that the regional system should be integrated with the general organization and part of this process involved the implementation of the Act of Chapultepec in the form of a treaty. The United States is prepared to take the initiative to this end not later than autumn of this year. He believed that this step would fully meet the problem troubling the Latin American delegations as well as the problem confronting the United States, which was to strengthen the inter-American system without weakening the general organization. He expressed the hope that this statement of the position of the United States would meet with the approval of his Latin American colleagues.

The Colombian Foreign Minister inquired as to the meaning of the phrase “resort to regional agencies or arrangements”. The Chairman of the Cuban Delegation explained the significance of the phrase in Spanish.

The Peruvian Foreign Minister inquired if they could communicate to their governments in confidence the statement made by the Secretary. The Secretary replied in the affirmative but cautioned that complete secrecy was imperative since public knowledge of the statement at this stage of the proceedings might have undesirable repercussions.

The Cuban Delegate inquired when they could release the Secretary’s statement. Mr. Stettinius again made it clear that he had made the statement as Secretary of State and not as Chairman of the United States Delegation, but thought perhaps the statement could be released after the Conference. He reminded his colleagues that there were many matters to be implemented after San Francisco and mentioned specifically the question of contingents, bases, facilities, interim commission, location of organization, and relations with specialized agencies. The problem referred to in his statement was only one of many to be implemented, just as at Mexico many things were agreed upon which required further action, including the Act of [Page 732] Chapultepec. He assured his colleagues that a statement would be made at the proper time and hoped that there would be no pressure for a premature release during the San Francisco Conference.

The Cuban Delegate said that he and his colleagues would be placed in an awkward situation in the discussions relative to Chapter VIII, Section C. They had taken a decided position on the changes they considered necessary in this section, and approval of the present text without modification would be misunderstood. He felt that it was necessary for them to explain to their peoples just what was being done so as to avoid creating the impression that they had abandoned their position that nothing should be done to jeopardize the inter-American system.

The Mexican Foreign Minister expressed general approval of the Secretary’s statement but considered consultations with their governments necessary. He added that the efforts of the Latin American group on the problem before the meeting had not been dictated by selfish aims but rather by a desire to improve and strengthen the system in a manner which would benefit not only the Latin American republics but the United States as well. The inter-American system had been built up over a great number of years and a peculiar kind of confidence had been created which would be necessary to the security and prosperity of the Western Hemisphere, even after the general organization was created. Moreover, he agreed with the Cuban delegate that they had to face public opinion in their own countries. He did not see any incompatibility between the inter-American system and the general organization. They were moved by the desire to use the former for cooperative purposes to the maximum extent possible. There was a need to explain to all the peoples of America just what was being done to safeguard the system. It was of the utmost importance that the United States have the confidence of the other American republics, because he foresaw that the world might be divided into regions in which the American continent must be strong and united in all fields. It was not possible at this moment to have a full vision of future developments and he considered it necessary to have a stable hemispheric system based upon full mutual confidence. This was an element that could not and should not be ignored in the building of a new organization, particularly since this was a psychological moment, in which the eyes of all the world were turned upon San Francisco. Consequently, the approval of Chapter VIII, Section C, without a full explanation would not be understood and might give rise to undesirable consequences. Dr. Padilla expressed himself as being very happy with the statement made by the Secretary and considered it a sound decision and that it would lead to much satisfaction and increased confidence once it was known publicly. This was definite assurance that there was every intention that the [Page 733] inter-American system would be kept and would not be sacrificed. We cannot destroy without adverse and even dangerous consequences what has been built up over the years. He expressed the opinion that in addition to the drafts proposed and the statement made by the Secretary it would be helpful to have an additional statement regarding the value of the inter-American system for the future of America.

Senator Vandenberg stated that unfortunately he must leave the meeting but before doing so he wanted to say on behalf of the United States that he warmly welcomed the sentiments expressed by Dr. Padilla and that in some future press conference it might be possible to say something along the line of what he had said.

(At this point Senator Vandenberg left the meeting.)

Ambassador Belt again returned to the question of what the Latin American delegates should say when voting on Chapter VIII, Section C, indicating that he felt that he could not give the appearance of voting to destroy the inter-American system. The Secretary inquired how his vote would destroy the inter-American system. The Ambassador replied that the two drafts gave no recognition to the inter-American system and the statement by the Secretary would not be known when the vote was taken.

Commander Stassen held that the new paragraph clearly gave us the right to negotiate a treaty implementing the Act of Chapultepec and that was all that was necessary at this point. Moreover, voting on Section C of Chapter VIII was an individual matter and if any delegate had made public commitments which would prevent his voting in its favor that was his concern. Ambassador Belt replied that it was not an individual matter since the Latin American group had taken a definite position and must justify an apparent retreat from it. Commander Stassen reaffirmed his opinion that the new paragraph offered the basis upon which the necessary action to implement the Act of Chapultepec could be taken and that perhaps something along that line could be said by the Secretary at some future press conference.

The Foreign Minister of Venezuela remarked that the new paragraph was included in Sections A and B of Chapter VIII and not in Section C and that consequently the latter Section read by itself might convey the wrong impression.

Senator Connally gave assurances that the United States Delegation fully recognized the difficulties confronting their Latin American colleagues and that if the Delegation had the power to do so it would remove those difficulties. However, they should bear in mind that a great number of other nations were involved and that no one of them could get everything it desired. It was now clear, for one [Page 734] thing, that it was impossible to secure a specific mention of the Act of Chapultepec in the Charter. The new paragraph was based on an express recognition of the inherent right of self-defense. If the Security Council fails to stop aggression and there is an attack on any American republic or on the United States, adequate counter-measures can be taken. We have the right to say that the word “collective” in the new paragraph means the Western Hemisphere. Senator Connally stated that the United States must depend on the confidence of its Latin American neighbors—on their confidence that the United States was not going to allow interference by any outside power in the hemisphere. President Truman has told the Secretary of State that this Government will negotiate a treaty implementing the Act of Chapultepec in the near future and it was a question of their confidence and trust in the intention of the Government to give complete fulfillment to its word. He stressed that the United States is as much a part of the Western Hemisphere as its Latin American neighbors and reminded his colleagues that he had been at the Mexico City Conference and had there indicated his complete sympathy with all that was done to strengthen the inter-American system. He recalled that the Act of Chapultepec is a mere resolution or recommendation and requires implementation in the form of a treaty ratified by the individual nations. He gave assurances that a treaty would be negotiated which would convert the generalities of the Act into the realities of legal obligations. The United States wanted an over-all organization for peace and security but its creation required compromise with other nations. This, however, did not preclude a clear indication of the intention of the United States to implement the Act. He reminded them that the United States had not failed them before, Senator Connally concluded with an appeal to them to be sympathetic to the effort of the United States to harmonize the two great objectives of maintaining the inter-American system while doing nothing to jeopardize the general organization. This was but the beginning of world security which would take a more perfect form in the future and this could be brought about only through the assistance of the Latin American republics.

The Foreign Minister of Mexico expressed his keen disappointment that the splendid statement made by Senator Connally could not be made public. Ambassador Belt stated that he had full faith and confidence in the United States and moreover that he considered that the Good Neighbor policy could not be overthrown because it was a policy of the American people. He reverted, however, to his previous statement that he would find it very difficult to vote on Chapter VIII, Section C, without a public explanation. Dr. Padilla indicated that the Latin American group would meet this afternoon [Page 735] where the problem would be discussed.25 Senator Connally asked Dr. Padilla to explain to the group that there are a lot of things that we all wish to see in the Charter which we cannot put there because of other points of view.

The Foreign Minister of Colombia suggested that since there is now an exception to the principle set forth in paragraph 2 of Chapter VIII, Section C, covering mutual assistance pacts he saw no reason why a reference could not be made in the same place to the provisions of new paragraph 12 in Section B. He stated that without some such reference, paragraph 2 of Section C might be misconstrued as not encompassing paragraph 12. He suggested that perhaps rather than a mention by way of exception the phrase “and without prejudice to the provisions of Chapter VIII, Section B, paragraph 12” might solve the difficulty. Commander Stassen agreed with this suggestion but Mr. Dulles pointed out that the collective defense concept in the new paragraph 12 is different from the regional idea.

The Colombian Foreign Minister stated that he could say for himself and he hoped for the other Latin American delegates represented at the meeting that he had full confidence and trust in the United States and considered the statement made by the Secretary of State as completely satisfactory. He explained that all the efforts of the Latin American group at the Conference had not been merely for their own benefit but, as had been stated by Dr. Padilla, for the benefit of the entire continent. Latin America would always desire the fullest possible kind of cooperation with the United States in order that, the United States might bring the full force of its power and influence to bear on the solution of world problems. So far as he was concerned, personally, there was no need of any additional assurances or documents. The word of the Secretary, Senator Connally, and the other members of the American Delegation was enough. However, he thought it was desirable to do whatever might be possible to dispel any suspicion among the peoples of the continent that the inter-American system was not being adequately safeguarded. He thought that they could safely leave this problem to the judgment of the Secretary, both as to the content of the explanation and the time of its release. The Secretary expressed his gratification over the statement made by Señor Lleras Camargo. The Foreign Minister of Peru explained that he had wanted to send the statement to his [Page 736] government to secure its full backing and support. He was confident that he would receive its full approval. He also expressed his gratification over the statement made by Senator Connally who had once more, as he had at Mexico City, convinced them of his Pan American sentiments. This was all he wanted to say pending the final word on the drafts after consultation with their governments. The Secretary inquired how much time this would involve and stressed the need for prompt action.

The Foreign Minister of Venezuela expressed in the name of his country his absolute faith and confidence in the United States. He had experienced the most profound satisfaction and gratification over the remarks made by the Secretary and Senator Connally regarding the Good Neighbor policy and the friendship of the United States for Latin America. He stated that he was in a somewhat different position from his colleague from Colombia since he felt that he could give, in the name of his Government, complete approval of the two documents involved (new paragraph 12, Chapter VIII, Section B, and the additional clause in Section A, paragraph 3) and of the statement made by the Secretary. The Secretary explained that with respect to the change in Section C, paragraph 1, designed to strengthen the word “encourage” in accordance with Dr. Padilla’s ideas, the precise language would require further consultations.

The Foreign Minister of Venezuela inquired as to the procedure by which the proposed drafts and the statement made by the Secretary might be communicated to the other Latin American delegations. He did not feel that the group at this meeting had a mandate to act as a unit in proposing these drafts. He thought perhaps an informal conversation would be the best procedure.

The Secretary said that Mr. Rockefeller would be glad to join in a private meeting with the chairmen of all the Latin American delegations for a discussion of the proposals.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile expressed his thanks for the statement authorized by President Truman on behalf of the United States Government. This demonstrated that the Good Neighbor policy was a reality not only in the minds but also in the hearts of American statesmen. He felt sure that he expressed the sentiments of the entire Latin American group in requesting the Secretary to convey to the President their appreciation of the statement and their confidence that a formula satisfactory to all would be found.

Commander Stassen stated that he wished his Latin American colleagues to know that he was in complete accord with the Secretary’s statement.

The meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

  1. Drafts not printed.
  2. With regard to regional arrangements, Mr. Stettinius, in his daily message to the President, Mr. Hull, and Mr. Grew, on developments at the Conference (telegram 12, May 16), stated as follows: “The Chief Delegates from the other American Republics met in the apartment of the Mexican Foreign Minister last evening and discussed the regional arrangements compromise. The Uruguayan representative strongly supported the compromise and the others accepted it. Informal discussions with a large number of delegates from the other American Republics indicate that they accept the compromise proposal realistically.” (500.CC/5–1645)