710 Conference (W & PW)/2–245

Political Memorandum No. 3 by Mr. William Sanders, a Technical Officer of the Delegation

Conversation Between Licenciado Pablo Campos Ortíz and Messrs. Bohan and Sanders, Held at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, February 1, 1945

The conversation began with statements by Messrs. Bohan and Sanders stressing the preliminary status of the work in Washington and the expectation that these informal conversations would prove mutually helpful in giving practical effect to the common desire of the two governments to make this a truly significant conference.

Thereafter, Lic. Campos Ortíz did most of the talking, except when Messrs. Bohan and Sanders indicated the close concurrence revealed by his remarks in the thinking in Mexico and Washington, of which there appears to be a great deal, or suggested a difference in emphasis or approach on some specific point.

Lic. Campos Ortíz’ remarks related, primarily, to Topics I and II of the agenda, since, as he explained, he has not kept in touch with the preparations in the economic field. He is to make arrangements for Mr. Bohan to see the members of the Economic Committee, probably early next week. Mr. Bohan has informed Mr. McClintock on this point.

topic i

Under this topic the Mexican delegation will submit a general resolution, which will constitute the foundation document of the Conference, to be known, perhaps, as the “Declaration of Chapultepec”. This will be the “cumbre” or apex of the pyramid of Conference conclusions, which will spell out the general principles of that Declaration in the different fields. Among the principles to be included in the Declaration are:

An affirmation of American democratic faith. The scope of this statement is not clear, but it will probably set forth, among other things, that democracy is the only true basis of individual welfare and dignity and of lasting international peace. This will be the theme or leitmotiv of the Conference. Great importance is being attached to this statement, and it is apparent that, if the views of Dr. Padilla and Lic. Campos Ortíz are representative, perhaps as much significance is being attached in some minds to this ideological aspect of the Conference as to the economic phases.
Some or all of the principles of the Atlantic Charter.
Affirmation that America is an economic unit.
Affirmation that America must be a strong regional system able to cope with its own problems.
Reaffirmation of principles of solidarity against all aggression.

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topic ii

The various resolutions under this topic would particularize the general principles of the Declaration of Chapultepec as follows:

A. International Organization. A resolution reciting that in view of the need for a strong international organization and of existing projects on the subject, including Dumbarton Oaks, the Mexican proposals and the draft of the Juridical Committee, etc., the Conference declares that the American Republics will support a strong and effective world organization based on certain principles, which will be specifically mentioned. These will include juridical equality of states, and other well-known inter-American principles, as well as certain principles of organization, which will be worked out at the Conference.

Sr. Campos Ortíz at first stated that among the latter could be included one declaring that the international organization should have tin Assembly and a Council. When pressed for details on this, particularly if the problem of composition, functions and powers of the Assembly and Council would be covered, he said that all he had in mind was something very general. He also said that Dumbarton Oaks need be mentioned, if at all, only in the preamble of the resolution. It is apparent that the Mexican officials are expecting that there will be considerable pressure at the Conference for a statement incorporating the views of the American Governments on the desirable bases of the new world organization. However, they are aware of our own attitude on the subject and may work with us to prevent an embarrassing situation from developing at the Conference.

B. Relationship of Regional to World Organization. A resolution that there should be a strong inter-American regional system able to solve its own problems; that there should be consultation and mutual agreement on questions that are to go before the world organization; and that all local remedies must be exhausted before the world organization should take cognizance (this has reference probably to disputes). It was remarked that perhaps it would be sufficient to confine this resolution to the first principle and not to go into the other two-questions, which it might not be expedient to cover at this time. Lic. Campos Ortíz agreed that this might be better.

C. Strengthening the Inter-American System. It is apparent that the Mexican officials are thinking in rather ambitious terms on this subject. The general lines of their approach include:

Continuation of the general Pan American Conference and Meetings of Foreign Ministers;
Creation of a strong overall executive body (a revised Governing Board of the Pan American Union);
Coordination and reduction of agencies;
Coordination and integration of resolutions of the Pan American Conferences;
Coordination and integration of means of pacific settlement (they apparently prefer Document A proposed by the Juridical Committee, considering Document B, which is based on the Mexican Peace Code, as being too ambitious and bringing in too many new ideas and procedures);48
Integration of methods for codification, perhaps through the elimination of all but one of the existing agencies.

Under the Mexican proposal, the Pan American system would be modified somewhat as follows:

An overall body in the form of a governing board or council composed of special representatives of the American Republics rather than of the diplomatic officials resident in Washington; it would meet infrequently, perhaps twice a year; it would exercise political functions and would not be bound by the unanimity rule (Lic. Campos Ortíz likes the UNRRA formula).
A permanent economic body.
A permanent political body specifically charged with the pacific settlement of disputes and authorized to act of its own initiative to set in motion the different procedures of peaceful settlement, and apparently to take strong action where necessary.
A juridical body, apparently to undertake the codification of international law and to consider other technical legal problems.
A permanent body to promote intellectual cooperation.
A permanent secretariat of the inter-American system under a secretary general; that is, the Pan American Union apart from the Governing Board.

Lic. Campos Ortíz referred to the Colombian-Dominican project on the establishment of a League of American Nations to say that it contains many sound ideas on the foregoing, but that it was perhaps overly ambitious. Nevertheless, it is evident that they are thinking in terms of a somewhat similar major overhauling of the system. Of special interest is the idea of an overall executive council meeting periodically or ad hoc, and perhaps not always in Washington (rotating idea), as a sort of peripatetic conference of a third category in the system, which would supervise the activities of permanent, decentralized bodies in the different fields. Since these permanent “functional” bodies would apparently channel through and be responsible to this executive council, the latter would deal with matters within the purview of the standing political entity for pacific settlement and would, of course, be competent to pass on major (disputes between [Page 82] states) as well as minor (controversial issues in all fields calling for common decision and action) political questions.

D. Other Resolutions. Lic. Campos Ortíz also mentioned the possibility of a resolution providing that international law be recognized as part of municipal law, and another resolution containing a declaration of basic human rights. In this latter connection, and in answer to a question as to the meaning attached to the term “human rights,” he read part of a resolution prepared by Sr. Samuel Ramos, one of the advisers of the Mexican Delegation, containing an affirmation of democratic faith by the American Republics, with directives for education in democracy and provision for a conference of Ministers of Education to work out the details of such a program. He also stated that the possibility of a resolution recommending that all republics declare war on the Axis had been considered, but it was thought it was too late for such a recommendation.

There would be no treaties and the resolutions would simply establish bases or principles to be applied by the governments or to be worked out in detail for later decision. For example, under agenda Topic II–B, there would be an agreement on the principal changes to be made in the system and on the entity to work out the details. Lic. Campos Ortíz thought a special entity could be created or the Juridical Committee could be selected to submit detailed plans to the revamped Governing Board for revision. He was not clear as to how these plans would be approved but seemed to think this could be done by the Governing Board as the representative of the governments.

The foregoing gives the broad outlines of thinking in the Foreign Office on the political topics of the agenda. It should be borne in mind, however, that this is all preliminary and that, as Lic. Campos Ortíz stated, “some of these ideas may be expanded, modified or even discarded when the Foreign Minister and the delegation as a whole pass upon them.”

It is expected that further conversations will be held early next week with Lic. Campos Ortíz and other members of the Second (Political) Committee. These conversations should supply the answers to the many obscure points, as well as to others of interest not touched upon, in this memorandum.

W. S[anders]
  1. On March 6, 1944, the Inter-American Juridical Committee presented two proposals. Proposal A analyzed existing agreements to show the inefficiency of existing machinery to preserve peace. Proposal B made recommendations for changes in the existing system. For an account of the Committee, see Charles G. Fenwick, “The Inter-American Juridical Committee,” in the American Journal of International Law, vol. xxxvii, pp. 5 ff.