710 Conference (W & PW)/3–245: Telegram

The American Delegation to the Acting Secretary of State

301. From the Secretary. Please repeat to the President. Except in the economic field, work was suspended yesterday afternoon because [Page 136] of the luncheon given in Cuernavaca by the Minister of Economia.

In all committees, except Committee I, the issues are coming to a focus and tenseness is obvious. Today and tomorrow should bring forth the essential debate.

Committee I this morning approved three resolutions: (1) to extend the life of inter-American Defense Board pending the establishment of the permanent military organization provided for in a resolution which was approved at an earlier meeting; (2) a resolution on the elimination of remaining centers of subversive influence and prevention of admission of deportees and propagandists following the general lines of the proposal submitted by the United States; (3) a declaration and resolution on war crimes in the form proposed by the United States but with the addition of a paragraph expressing adherence to the United States-British-Eussian declaration of October 1943.13 This apparently concludes the work of Committee I. Committee II is expecting to commence discussions of the subcommittee report this afternoon. There has, as yet, been no agreement with the Mexicans on the final resolution although confidence is felt with regard to this by those of the United States delegation on Committee II. It has not been possible to sit down on a draft of final resolution until the terms of the invitation to the San Francisco Conference are out. The disturbing factor is that Padilla does not appear to be entirely in control of his own delegation. The Cubans, whose delegation is also not a unit, are pressing for permission for every delegate to have free opportunity to make speech of 10 minutes on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals.

Committee III approved the remainder of the resolution on the inter-American system. It had been expected that the smaller states would object strongly to the provision for ad hoc members of the Pan American Union Governing Board. Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti did oppose this provision but received no support from other countries and the provision was approved. Our representatives did not participate in this discussion. In the course of the discussion the Chilean representative said that his Government would object to granting political powers to the Pan American Union if a provision for ad hoc representatives was eliminated. The Brazilian delegate objected to the provision forbidding the reelection of the Director General but received no support. Oreamuno14 of Costa Rica proposed that the Inter-American Economic and Social Council15 be made independent [Page 137] of the Pan American Union. This was not approved but the Committee voted that the representatives on the Inter-American Economic and Social Council should be appointed by the respective governments. One of the feminine members of the Mexican delegation, with the support of Miss Beinafdino16 of the Dominican Republic, persuaded the Committee to include in the resolution a provision for the continuance of the Inter-American Commission of Women.

In Committees IV and V the major developments have been that yesterday a small drafting group, including United States representatives, worked together all day on a proposed resolution covering continuance of wartime purchases during the transition period, export of capital goods, and the elimination of wartime controls. The major issue concerns the continued purchases of materials. This draft was further revised this morning and currently provides that reductions in purchases will be carried out in cooperation with the sellers and in such a manner as to maintain the essential stability of the economies of the selling countries. To the extent necessary, legislation in support of this agreement will be sought. The proposal is presently the subject of intensive study by the United States delegation. It is a crucial item. Some of the other delegates say that they had hoped to receive concrete assurances with respect to specific commodities.

In the field of exports of goods in short supply, some of the delegates from the other American Republics express the fear that the United States is not keeping faith with its obligations under the Rio resolutions17 and that we should guarantee to them their fair share of exports throughout the full transition period. The resolution covering this subject is still the subject of discussion.

This morning Subcommittee A of Committee V completed its reports. It passed four resolutions: the first on prices for purchases of commodities (the coffee issue) along the lines mentioned in yesterday’s telegram. The second was United States originated proposal for modifications of Rio resolution V. The third called for further cooperation in the prosecution of the war. The fourth covered Axis funds and property.

As to Axis funds and property, Mr. Cox18 made a strong statement on the importance of getting looted property into the hands of rightful owners, of stopping the flight of Axis capital, and of eliminating [Page 138] Axis interests now in the hemisphere. This statement was released to the press today.

All representatives connected with this matter have expressed great pleasure at the explicitness of the resolution adopted.

The Economic Charter is meeting some opposition principally in Mexico itself. Individual business groups have asserted their opposition to free international trade and in favor of local protection. This morning the CTM19 came out with a full page advertisement, declaring that they are allying themselves with “the progressive industrialist” in opposition to the “archaic policy of free trade and charging that the Economic Charter does not guarantee the weaker countries of America a right to obtain the equipment which the United States ought to provide to Latin America for its rapid economic development. The labor advisers to the delegation, on an early consideration of this advertisement, stated that they could not see in it any real labor angle but only an issue of nationalism. Discussion of this Mexican opposition in this morning’s United States delegation meeting indicated that it represented a combination of nationalistic feeling, plus local politics, namely, opposition to Padilla. An important fact not to be overlooked in this connection was the arrival in Mexico yesterday of Lombardo Toledano.20

Yesterday in a subcommittee of Committee IV there was a Peruvian motion to adopt and approve the report of Subcommittee V of the Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee.21 This report was specifically prepared for the Technical Economic Conference and hence was referred to it. The local press has played up this action as being a rejection of the Economic Charter. This is not accurate reporting.

Other subcommittees of Committee IV are engaged today in discussions of the future of synthetic products, of subsidies to production and export subsidies, and various financial matters. These discussions are still going on.

The Steering Committee of the Conference met during the morning and formally received the delegates of the new government of El Salvador. At the same meeting it was announced that the Conference would end on March 7.

Some United States press representatives here have been asking about disagreements in the economic field within the United States delegation. In fact, there have not existed such disagreements. The unanimity with which various government agencies and the representatives of labor, business and farm groups have worked together [Page 139] has been most notable. Probably the press has imagined such difficulties because in the economic field a practice has been followed of negotiating in subcommittees with the other delegates, followed by general meetings of the economic members of the United States delegation at which the day’s progress is reviewed and plans for the next day made. As neither the meetings of the subcommittees nor of the United States delegation are open to the press, and as the subject matter is most delicate and therefore not open to full discussion with the press representatives, this impression may have arisen.

The press is naturally focusing its inquiries upon the three areas which have been the most important and from which definitive material has not yet come, namely, the Dumbarton Oaks discussions, which are still held up pending the Secretary’s statement; the discussion of the joint guarantee against aggression; and the economic matters above referred to. There is the natural danger with regard to all of these that the press representatives in seeking news items will seek to find and play up areas of difference and controversy. Every effort has been made to explain away these reports of controversies as far as possible by background discussions, but it has been difficult to achieve it since it has not been possible fully and frankly to discuss many of these questions on their merits at this stage. [Stettinius.]

  1. Department of State Bulletin, November 6, 1943, p. 307.
  2. J. Rafael Oreamuno, former Costa Rican Minister to the United States.
  3. Created pursuant to Resolution IX, paragraph 7 of this Conference. For text, see Pan American Union, Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, p. 44; for documentation on the Council, see post pp. 172 ff.
  4. Presumably Minerva Bernardino, President of the Inter-American Commission of Women.
  5. For resolutions of the Third Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics, held at Rio de Janeiro, January 15–28, 1942, see Department of State Bulletin, February 7, 1942, pp. 117 ff. For documentation concerning the meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. v, pp. 6 ff.
  6. Oscar Cox, Deputy Foreign Economic Administrator.
  7. Confederaciόn de Trabajadores Mexicanos.
  8. President of the Confederaciόn de Trabajadores de la America Latina.
  9. Not printed.