710 Conference (W–PW)/1–2545

Memorandum by Mr. William Sanders, a Technical Officer of the Delegation, to the Ambassador in Mexico ( Messersmith )

The points covered by the present memorandum relate to the following:

Instructions received by Messrs. Bohan18 and Sanders.
Agenda of the Conference.
Possible resolutions and general objectives of the United States delegation.
Other matters.

A. Instructions

Messrs. Bohan and Sanders have been instructed to undertake conversations, should you deem it advisable, with the Mexican officials on the agenda of the Conference. These discussions should be confined to exploratory talks giving the trend of the present thinking in the Department, including the general nature of the resolutions which the Government of the United States hopes to see adopted at the Conference, insofar as they can be determined at the present time. It is hoped that a similar expression of preliminary views can be obtained from the Mexican officials. It is important not to give the impression that thinking in the Department has crystallized. If a tendency is perceived on the part of the Mexican officials to go beyond a purely preliminary and tentative exchange of views, Messrs. Bohan and Sanders are instructed to return to Washington.19

Mr. Sanders has been instructed to avoid any reference to matters which might come under topic IV of the tentative agenda. However, should Sr. Padilla press for information on the United States attitude on the Argentine request, the view may be expressed that the United States delegation will be prepared to go into the matter at the Conference should the other republics so desire.

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B. Agenda

The attached suggested agenda, with a breakdown of the general items in terms of possible resolution topics and broad objectives, was initialed by President Roosevelt on January 18, 1945.21

The only difference between the general items of this suggested agenda and those proposed by the Mexican Government is in IV. Mr. Rockefeller’s views on this subject have been communicated to you.

C. Possible Resolutions and General Objectives


The United States delegation will not sign agreements in the nature of treaties at the Conference.

No final decision has yet been reached on whether the conclusions of the Conference should take the form of statements, declarations or resolutions.22 However, the discussions in the Policy Committee and the preliminary draft projects prepared to date indicate that there will perhaps be two types of documents, probably in the form of resolutions, containing:

Tentative conclusions for further study by the Governments and/or existing or specially created agencies and for final decision by a regular Pan American conference, held after the general United Nations meeting.23 These conclusions may contain certain broad principles or directives to guide and orient the studies. The problems in the political field, particularly under topic II of the agenda, will probably require this treatment, because (a) we are committed to the other major powers not to negotiate now with other governments concerning the Dumbarton Oaks proposals and (b) because it appears desirable to suspend decision on basic changes in the inter-American system until a regular Pan American conference in which all the republics are represented.
Agreement on certain general principles or specific measures susceptible of immediate unilateral, bilateral or collective application. Problems under topic I of the agenda would lend themselves to this treatment.

For the convenience of the United States delegation, it has been proposed that all resolutions be preceded by an introduction giving (a) nature of resolution, (b) objective and (c) position to be taken by the United States.

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It is expected that during the course of this week basic policy and procedural decisions will be reached in the Department on some or all of the following:

Topic I. (Further Cooperative Measures for the Prosecution of the War to Complete Victory.)

Atlantic Charter. There is general agreement that a resolution affirming the Atlantic Charter should be adopted and that this document should become known as the “Declaration of Mexico City.”24 There is some thought that perhaps the provisions of the Charter with respect to assuring social and economic welfare to the individual should be spelled out.
Diplomatic Relations with Non-American Countries.
With Germany and Japan: there should be a resolution reaffirming paragraph IV of Resolution I of Rio and calling for solidary inter-American action.
With Axis satellite states: there should be a resolution reaffirming the principle of exchange of information.
With Governments of liberated areas: there should be a resolution expressing a common purpose on the part of the American Republics and enunciating the principle of exchange of information.
With other non-American powers: this problem will not be raised by the American delegation. The United States will continue its present policy of giving sympathetic consideration to any requests received from the American Republics for assistance in establishing relations with such other non-American Governments, as in the case of Chile and Russia.25
Protection of interests in enemy countries. It has been agreed that the principle of exchange of pertinent information and consultation among the interested republics should be accepted, in conjunction with the principle that as amongst American Republics having interests in enemy countries there should be no discriminatory treatment in the protection of those interests.
Honorary diplomatic and consular representation. The possibility of a resolution recommending against this practice for the duration of the emergency and in the transition period has been discussed, but the desirability of such a resolution is questioned.26
Political defense. A draft resolution has been prepared recommending that the American Republics continue to take defensive action [Page 60] against Axis political aggression and that they take additional steps to prevent the infiltration of Axis ideas, money and personnel into the American Republics after the end of hostilities. The resolution provides for the continuation of the Committee for Political Defense at Montevideo, to advise the governments on the steps that should be taken to implement the above suggestions.
Military defense. The desirability of a resolution on the continuance of military cooperation, with possible modifications of existing arrangements, has been suggested.27 However, a general impression exists in the Policy Committee that it might be desirable for the Conference to keep away from strictly military matters.

Topic II. (Consideration of Problems of International Organization for Peace and Security.)

World organization. 28 The present thought is that the Conference deliberations on this subject should not go beyond an exposition of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, perhaps by the Secretary of State, and informal discussions of the proposals. The possibility has been suggested, however, that a resolution might be adopted expressing in general terms the intention of the American Republics to support and take part in the establishment of a general international organization with adequate powers to maintain peace and security.
The further development of the inter-American system and its relation to world organization. Since the Dumbarton Oaks proposals are still the subject of negotiations between the major powers and since the Mexico City Conference is not a regular Pan American gathering, the conclusion has been reached that there should be no final agreement on this subject and that tentative conclusions for further study should be adopted. These conclusions might incorporate certain principles or directives to guide the studies, including:
Possibility of more frequent meetings of the general Pan American conferences;
Informal annual meeting of Foreign Ministers and creation of a permanent political agency to function in the interval between meetings, or provision for some special arrangement to serve the same purposes;
More frequent special or technical conferences and greater coordination and integration in this field;
Granting of additional powers and functions to the Pan American Union; and
Improvement and coordination of existing instrumentalities of pacific settlement and of codification of international law.
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Other subjects being considered under this heading include:

Promotion of the solution of economic, social and other humanitarian problems;
Universal validity and applicability of inter-American objectives and principles; and
Relationship of inter-American economic, social and other agencies with specialized international agencies.

Topic III. (Consideration of the Economic and Social Problems of the Americas.)

Mr. Bohan is preparing a memorandum on this topic.

Topic IV. (Other Matters of General and Immediate Concern to the Participating Governments.)

Problems which may be raised under this topic at the Conference but which will not be discussed with the Mexican officials during the present exploratory conversations include the following:

Resolution of the Pan American Union on the Argentine request. (See “Instructions” above.)
Recognition of governments in exile. While the United States will not introduce a resolution on recognition of governments in exile, it will support such a resolution if submitted by other delegations.
Recognition of de facto governments. If a resolution on recognition is introduced at the Conference, the United States delegation will not oppose it, but will suggest that it be referred to an interim group for study and presentation at a subsequent Pan American conference.
Admission of Canada into the inter-American system. The Governments of the United States and Canada have an informal agreement not to raise this question until after the war.
Guarantee of boundaries. It has been suggested that the Conference adopt a resolution incorporating a mutual guarantee of national boundaries, without prejudice to a satisfactory settlement of existing boundary disputes. A draft is now being prepared.

D. Other Matters

United States delegation

The composition of the United States delegation has not yet been determined, aside from the decision that the Secretary will be the delegate and Mr. Rockefeller the alternate.

Mr. Rockefeller will ascertain if the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committees desire to send representatives to the Conference as advisors or observers.

It has been agreed as a principle that no agencies as such will be asked to send representatives to the Conference, but that personnel from other departments will be invited to act as advisors in matters coming within their special fields.

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The following names from other government agencies have been suggested:

Cox, Bell and Easby Foreign Economic Administration
Edward Browning, Jr. War Production Board
Harry White Treasury Department
Warren Pierson Export-Import Bank
Wayne C. Taylor Department of Commerce
Leslie Wheeler Department of Agriculture
Messrs. Conway or Morse War Shipping Administration
[blank] Department of Interior
Winthrop Southworth Bureau of Budget
General Strong War Department
Admiral Train Navy Department

The possibility of adding advisers from the Department of Justice and the Public Roads Administration, if that should appear necessary, is being considered as also from non-governmental organizations, such as:

  • Labor: Messrs. Watt, Carey, and Luhrsen.
  • Business: Messrs. Minor, Burgess, and Spradling.
  • Women’s Groups: Important person in the National League of Women Voters or Katharine Lenroot.
  • Others: Mayor LaGuardia.
  • Bishop O’Hara29

Mr. Rockefeller wishes reservations for himself and five other members of the delegation in the hotel where the other delegations stay.

W. S[anders]
  1. Merwin L. Bohan, Foreign Service Officer; a Technical Officer of the U. S. Delegation at the Conference.
  2. A marginal note in the original reads: “The Ambassador is positive there will be no difficulty on this score.”
  3. See p. 10.
  4. A marginal note in the original reads: “Dr. Padilla has inquired several times re this.”
  5. United Nations Conference on International Organization held at San Francisco, April 25–June 26, 1945. For documentation, see vol. i, pp. 1 ff.
  6. A marginal note in the original reads: “The Ambassador believes Padilla will like this.”
  7. For documentation on relations of the American Republics with the Soviet Union, see pp. 223 ff.
  8. A marginal notation on the original reads: “The Ambassador agrees not desirable.”
  9. A marginal notation on the original reads: “The Ambassador believes a general resolution desirable to buttress staff conversations.”
  10. A marginal reference on the original reads: “See my letter today’s date to D. B.” Letter from Mr. Sanders to Mr. Bonsal, January 23, 1945, not printed.
  11. A notation on the original reads: “Ambassador seriously questions wisdom of including in view of religious question here.”