710 Conference (W & PW)/2–245

Memorandum by Mr. William Sanders, a Technical Officer of the Delegation

In the present memorandum an effort is made to outline the basic elements of the problems to be considered at the Conference under Topic II of the Agenda.

[Page 74]

I. Problems

The three major problems under Topic II relate to the action the Conference may take on world organization, on the relationship of the regional system to the world organization, and on the development of the inter-American system.

II. Objectives

The objective of the United States delegation should be:

To give a full exposition and explanation of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals and to obtain expressions of individual points of view of the various governments, without, however, having these crystallize in the form of Conference conclusions which would force us either to abstain from voting,* and thus create the impression of disunity, or to sign them, and thus create the impression that we have lined up the Continent as a pressure unit behind us vis-à-vis Great Britain and Russia.
To take such positive and affirmative action with respect to the inter-American system that the other republics will have the necessary assurance that we are not abandoning the system in favor of world organization and that we are not, in our preoccupations as a great power, intending to use them as pawns in a coming struggle for world influence and markets (the Enrique Ruiz Guiñazu45 thesis in “Argentina y el Futuro de América”). It is believed that such positive action can be taken in this field without embarrassing the Department in its negotiations with the British and Russians or encouraging undesirable regional movements elsewhere.

III. Factors Which Condition the Action the Conference May Take on These Problems

The action which the conference may take with respect to Dumbarton Oaks is conditioned by the following considerations:

The Proposals are not now in final form;
We are committed to the other major governments not to negotiate with other governments on the Proposals;
It is desirable not to give the impression the United States is lining up a solid hemisphere bloc in support of its position vis-à-vis Russia and Britain;
It is desirable not to give other republics opportunity to give collective formal expression to views adverse to ours on Proposals, particularly on composition and functions of Assembly and Security Council.

With respect to the problem of relationship between the regional and the world systems, the considerations in (a), (b) and (c) above apply to a considerable extent. It is, moreover, not desirable to give [Page 75] the impression we are entering reservations or formulating understandings, before signature of statutes of world organization, regarding Western Hemisphere cooperation in that organization.

The principal considerations with respect to the development and strengthening of the inter-American system is that positive action in this field would:

Tend to set at rest fears of some of the republics that we plan to abandon the inter-American system and place all our reliance on world organization;
Serve as strong political pressure on Argentine Government and impress the Argentine people with increasing isolation of Argentina;
Give rest of world, specifically Russia and Britain, impression we are presenting it with fait accompli on issue of spheres of influence before final agreement on Dumbarton Oaks.

Item 1 above is the compelling consideration; item 2 is a supporting factor which should be borne in mind; and item 3 can be taken care of in part by careful drafting, particularly by stressing in the preamble of any resolution adopted that this action is being taken to buttress the world system and that it is perfectly consistent with the objectives of that system.

IV. Recommendations

With the foregoing considerations in mind, it is proposed that a resolution be drafted incorporating the following provisions:

1. On world organization. A general declaration expressing intention of the American republics to support and to take an effective part in a world organization adequately equipped to maintain peace and security.

It may be well to be prepared to side-track or render innocuous pressure for a resolution formalizing the views of the other delegations on Dumbarton Oaks. This might be done by including in the declaration a reaffirmation of inter-American principles. We should be prepared, however, to deal with any proposal which would include among those principles that of equal representation, because of its direct effect on Dumbarton Oaks.

2. Relationship. A recommendation that once the statutes of the general international organization have been approved by the United Nations, consideration be given to the principles and methods by which the responsibility of the inter-American system for the maintenance of peace and security in this hemisphere may be coordinated and integrated with that of the general organization.

3. Strengthening inter-American system. A resolution in which the participating governments agree to the following modifications in the system:

The general Pan American conferences shall continue as the general overall policy forming and reviewing instrumentality, but shall meet every three years instead of every five;
The meetings of Foreign Ministers shall continue to deal with emergency situations and to exercise primary responsibility for peace and security;

Triannual International Conferences of American States are suggested because experience shows the need for more frequent meetings of these conferences, which are the only competent instrumentality for overall review of progress and decision on further necessary steps in the entire inter-American field. It is also expected that, while annual meetings of Foreign Ministers will prove most helpful during the next few years, they will probably be abandoned in favor of special meetings, because:

There would ordinarily be no need for such annual meetings, particularly if the past tendency to have the Foreign Ministers themselves attend general conferences continues;
There would be a tendency, difficult to avoid or to check, to have these meetings enter the field of general conferences, as is shown by the experience with the consultative meetings held to date;
The meetings are preeminently suitable for emergency situations and are too cumbersome to be an adequate means for handling the ordinary run-of-the-mill emergency or political problem;
They would, consequently, tend to “make work” and thus lower the prestige of their conclusions and decisions.
There shall be a standing or permanent agency to function and to implement the decisions of the meetings of Foreign Ministers in the interval between meetings. The governments will send proposals on this to the Pan American Union which shall classify and coordinate them in a report to the Bogotá Conference.
The special and technical conferences shall be held more frequently and shall be better organized, coordinated and integrated. The Pan American Union shall submit proposals on this to the Bogotá Conference.
The Pan American Union shall be strengthened and expanded by the granting of additional powers of general review and supervision over autonomous and semi-autonomous agencies, by a considerable increase in its budget and by organizational changes that will place it in more direct and constant contact with all the governments. The Union shall submit proposals on this to the Bogotá Conference.

A suggested draft resolution along the foregoing lines is being prepared which uses the Peruvian draft on the subject as a basis, as well as the Washington draft of January 20, 1945.

V. Creation of a Permanent Agency in the Political Field

It is now generally recognized that the element of permanency and continuity should be added to the political structure. The method for achieving this is in issue. For this reason, item (c) above leaves [Page 77] that question open for further study and later decision. This does not, however, weaken the definitive undertaking to add the element of permanency and continuity to the political structure.

The ad hoc political structure runs parallel to and independently of the permanent non-political structure, of which the Pan American Union is the principal agency.

The political structure deals with disputes between states and any situation which threatens the peace and security of the continent, from within or from without. This structure is composed of the following:

International Conferences of American States, which establish the basic policies and procedures.
Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which determine specific application of those policies or adopt policy decisions with respect to specific emergency situations.
A series of principles, which provide for cooperative action for the maintenance of peace and security and enunciate certain standards of international conduct.
A series of general treaties providing for specific settlement of disputes through the action of ad hoc agencies.
Two so-called permanent Gondra diplomatic commissions,46 which facilitate the organization of ad hoc commissions of conciliation and which can undertake of their own accord limited conciliation functions in serious cases. These commissions are composed of the three longest accredited American diplomatic representatives in Montevideo and Washington.
A permanent committee of five authorized to exercise constant vigilance in behalf of peace. This commission has not been appointed, although the governments authorized to make the appointments have been designated.

The specific issue is whether the parallelism of the past between the political and non-political, reflected concretely in the fact that the Union is barred from activities covered by 4, 5 and 6 above, should be retained or whether the two should be merged.

The following considerations favor retaining this separation:

It is desirable to retain the traditional segregation of the political from the non-political, in order to insulate the Pan American Union from the stresses and strains of political controversy.
The Pan American Union cannot become an effective instrumentality in the security field without increasing the possibility of criticism arising from the fact that it exists in the “shadow” of the Department of State.
The granting of political power to the Union would operate after the fashion of a billiard shot, leading to a steadily developing pressure over a period of time for basic structural changes in the Union, which [Page 78] might ultimately result in the removal of the Union or the Governing Board from Washington under some rotating arrangement. It is believed that the presence of the Union in Washington is a factor of stability and efficiency in the system and gives the United States an advantage which it should not forego.
By retaining the present system and simply adding a permanent agency with headquarters in some other republic, we reduce criticism to a minimum and give evidence of willingness to depart, in the Americas, from the concentration of power in the major states, characteristic of the plans with respect to world organization. Moreover, it is believed that nothing else that we could do would so satisfy the urge for decentralization, so prominent a feature in the inter-American system.
By this move we would avoid focusing in Washington the responsibility for political decisions carrying with them disagreeable implications and repercussions and would generalize the responsibility for such decisions.
It is not necessary, in order to strengthen the Union, to give it political functions. It is submitted that the proposal in (e) of section IV above is the sounder procedure in strengthening the Union. The exclusion of the Union from the political field would not entail weakening that body, particularly if political problems are narrowly defined as those involving disputes between states or any matter which, although originally non-political in character, becomes political by the injection of a controversial element. Moreover, should a separate political agency be created, the Union could continue, as in the past, to act as the permanent secretariat of the Meetings of Foreign Ministers. The political agency could have a skeleton clerical staff and could call on the Union for additional personnel in special cases.

It should be borne in mind that the creation of a special political agency would not divide the inter-American system. The division between political and non-political would exist, as it does today, only with respect to certain interim operating activities. The major policy determinations would continue to be made by the general conferences, the source of all authority, whether political or non-political, and the major political decisions and implementing activities would continue to be the responsibility of the Meetings of Foreign Ministers.

For the above reasons, it is not believed desirable that the Union be granted political powers, even if there is general support at the Conference for such a step. It is believed that the United States’ proposal at Buenos Aires in 193647 for a permanent “Inter-American Consultative Committee” of twenty-one members, was the correct approach.

W. S[adders]
  1. Sr. Padilla has suggested this possibility. [Footnote in the original.]
  2. Former Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. The commissions set up under the treaty to avoid conflicts between the American States, known as the Gondra Treaty, signed at Santiago May 3, 1923; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, p. 308.
  4. The proposal in this form does not appear to have been presented to the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, held at Buenos Aires, December 1–23, 1936. For documentation on the Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. v, pp. 3 ff.