710 Conference W and PW/2–845

Political Memorandum No. 4 by Mr. William Sanders, a Technical Officer of the Delegation


Conversation Between Licenciado Alfonso García Robles, Assistant Director of Political Affairs and of the Diplomatic Service of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Messrs. Bohan and Sanders, February 6, 1945

topic i

After the usual caveat by Lic. García Robles and Mr. Sanders regarding the tentative character of the preparatory work in Mexico and Washington, the former stated that the study of possible resolutions under Topic I of the agenda was being held up awaiting Ambassador [Page 91] Castillo Najera’s arrival from Washington. From the tenor of his remarks it would appear that the Mexican officials are presently thinking primarily in terms of military cooperation.

Lic. García Robles will arrange for a meeting within the next day or two with the secretary of the First Committee.53

Mr. Sanders explained the nature and scope of the subjects being considered in the Department in the field covered by this part of the agenda. Lic. García Robles thought the declaration of general principles, including those of the Atlantic Charter, would perhaps fit better under Topic II. Regarding a resolution reaffirming paragraph 4 of Resolution I of Rio, he inquired if we were prepared to answer any inquiries from other delegations with respect to problems of the type that arose in connection with the recognition of the Italian Government. He apparently had in mind certain doubts Lic. Tello54 had at one time on the recognition of a government in an enemy country prior to the conclusion of definitive peace. He said that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs had not given thought to the protection of the interests of American Republics in enemy countries and inquired whether the protection of the interests of nationals as well as governments was contemplated. He thought that a resolution on political defense along the lines indicated to him would be to the point.

topic ii

Proposals on the following subjects are being prepared in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs:

1. Project of Dumbarton Oaks for the creation of a general international organization (Proyecto de Dumbarton Oaks para la creación de una Organización Internacional General).

Lic. García Robles said that at the moment they were thinking of something very general. In answer to a question as to whether they contemplated including any reference to specific bases of organization, he said that he did not think it was necessary or advisable; that their present thought was that it would be enough for Mexico to submit its memorandum on the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals for general discussion. They plan to have the memorandum in English and Spanish. The contents of the draft prepared in the Department were described to him in general terms, and he thought that nothing more was needed on the subject.

From his remarks, it would appear that there has been a definite change in the thinking of the Mexican officials on this subject and that [Page 92] they now see eye to eye with us. This shift is unquestionably the result of the conversations held with the Foreign Minister and Licenciados Tello and Campos Ortíz.

2. Protection of the international rights of man (Protección de los derechos internacionales del Hombre).

It is now definite that the Mexican officials are thinking of a resolution looking toward the preparation of a statement on basic human rights. This resolution would be one of the supporting documents of the affirmation in the Declaration of Chapultepec of the democratic faith of the American Republics. Lic. García Robles referred to the various existing projects on essential human rights, including those sponsored by the Institute of International Law, Lord Sankey,55 H. G. Wells56 and the draft prepared by a committee of experts for the American Law Institute. He added that the thought was that the Juridical Committee could be requested to undertake a study of these proposals and to submit concrete recommendations to the governments. On the basis of the observations of the governments, the Committee could than prepare a project for consideration by the International Conference of American Jurists.

The final product of these studies would, according to Lic. García Robles, be incorporated in a statement which would envisage a series of political, social and economic rights of man having universal moral validity. Apparently, within the scope of this statement of essential rights, the individual would become the subject rather than the object of international law, although the document would not have conventional or obligatory force.

3. Development of the existing inter-American system (Fomento del actual sistema interamericano).

On this subject the information contained in Political Memorandum No. 357 seems to be correct, with the following changes or additions:

Lic. García Robles was not sure that a permanent political body is necessary in the security field, although he thought the possibility should be considered. He was also not in favor of authorizing the Governing Board of the Pan American Union to undertake conciliation functions; that is, to act as a permanent agency in the security field. He considers that a consolidation of existing instrumentalities and procedures of pacific settlement along the lines of Document A of the report of the Juridical Committee, in conjunction with an improvement in the consultative procedure, will be sufficient. In this latter connection he has in mind a more rapid, simple and informal method for special cases. In his view the Meetings of Foreign Ministers [Page 93] are too cumbersome and unwieldy for ordinary emergency situations. He mentioned as an example of the procedure he has in mind the Mexican proposal of last year that the recognition of the Bolivian regime be considered by a meeting of representatives of the governments, held in some American capital under the auspices of the respective Minister of Foreign Affairs.
It was quite clear that the Mexicans are thinking of a change in the Pan American Union which would convert the Governing Board into a species of perambulating conference or general council of the system. He quoted Erasmus’ saying that men fear more what they think of things than the things themselves, in support of his view that it was politically desirable to remove the Governing Board from Washington under some rotating arrangement, so as to eliminate the opportunity for “unfounded” allegations that the Union is controlled by the United States. Under this revised system the governments would appoint special representatives and the Governing Board could exercise political functions. However, in this last connection he appears to be thinking of political functions in a generic sense rather than specifically in connection with settlement of disputes, that is, along the lines indicated in the letter from Mr. Sanders to Mr. Dudley Bonsal of February 2, page five.58

4. Coordination of inter-American agencies with the world organization in its various aspects (Coordinación de las instituciones inter-americanas con la organización mundial, en sus diversos aspectos).

This subject relates to the relationship that should exist between the regional and the world systems. Lic. García Robles had nothing to add to what has been reported, except that he expressed approval of the idea of a general recommendation that the problem be considered once the statutes of the general international organization are signed, and that specific directives should not be included.

5. Peace code (Código de la Paz).

On this subject see item C–5 on page three of Political Memorandum No. 3. The improved and simplified special consultative procedure referred to above under 3 would be the capstone of the integrated procedures of pacific settlement.

6. Incorporation of international law into national law (Incorporación del Derecho Internacional a los Derechos nacionales).

There is nothing new to report on this point.

7. Reaffirmation of the protocol on non-intervention, the “Estrada doctrine” and solidarity of democracy in America (Reafirmación del Protocolo de No Intervención, “Doctrina Estrada” y solidaridad de la Democracia en América).

[Page 94]

This resolution would reaffirm the principle of non-intervention as defined at Buenos Aires in 1936, accept the Estrada doctrine as governing relations with new governments, and declare the intention of the American Republics to support democracy by refusing to have relations with non-democratic governments.

Although Lic. García Robles was not clear on the rationale of this resolution, it would apparently be based on the following premise: the protocol on non-intervention does not preclude collective intervention in the general interests; it is in the general interest to promote and support the democratic form of government in the Americas; the Estrada doctrine can be used for this purpose since it gets away from the use of recognition as a unilateral coercive weapon on behalf of a purely national interest or policy.

Further clarification of the scope and nature of this proposal will be sought at an early date.

8. Motion on the significance of education in democracy and in the maintenance of peace (Moción sobre el significado de la Educatión para la Democracia y para el mantenimiento de la Paz).

From what Lic. García Robles said, it is now apparent that the resolution on individual rights will be one and the resolution drafted by Sr. Samuel Ramos will be another, contrary to what is implied at the top of page five of Political Memorandum No. 3.

9. Motion on the importance of health in the functioning of democracy (Moción sobre la importancia de la Salubridad para el funcionamiento de la Democracia).

This motion will express approval of the Hot Springs resolution on the subject.

10. Motion on the political rights of women (Moción sobre el estatuto de la Mujer en sus aspectos políticos).

Sra, Amalia C. de Castillo Ledón, Mexican delegate and Vice President of the Inter-American Commission of Women, is preparing a draft which will reaffirm the declaration on the political rights of women approved by the Eighth International Conference of American States at Lima in 1938.

11. Motion on international disarmament (Moción sobre Desarme international).

This will be a motion supporting the Dumbarton Oaks proposals on the subject.

12. Declaration of Chapultepec or of Mexico (Declaratión de Chapultepec o de México).

According to Lic. García Robles, this declaration would synthesize the “essence” of the basic conclusions of the Conference in the different [Page 95] fields. The thought is apparently to proceed inductively, rather than deductively, in the formulation of the principles of this document.


Lic. García Robles indicated that they are thinking of submitting just a “few” proposals, not more than the twelve foregoing under Topic II and perhaps no more than three under Topic I. He has no idea of the number for Topic III. He said the Mexican Government wants to give the other delegations an opportunity to have the initiative in proposing some of the resolutions.

[Here follows list of assignments of Mexican delegation to agenda committees.]

W. S[anders]
  1. Augusto Moheno, official of the Mexican Ministry for Foreign Affairs was secretary of this Committee organized to deal with complementary measures to intensify the cooperation in the war effort.
  2. Manuel Tello, Mexican Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
  3. British Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague.
  4. British author and philosopher.
  5. Ante, p. 79.
  6. Not printed. Similar views were expressed by Pablo Campos Ortíz of the Mexican Ministry for Foreign Affairs; see “Political Memorandum No. 3,” February 2, p. 79.