CFM Files

Memorandum by Mr. Walter N. Walmsley, Jr., Political Adviser, United States Delegation17

Subject: Views on the draft treaties of other American Republics, other than Brazil, which declared war.

The following Latin American Countries declared war on at least Italy but are excluded from the Conference under the principle of the Moscow declaration: Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama and Bolivia.

We offered to consult with the Governments of these countries with regard to their views on the draft treaties; and said that although we would have been happy to have them at the Conference it was under the circumstances impossible but we would be glad to transmit their views to the Conference. The Mexican case differs slightly from those of the other countries in that Mexico had first approached us, and our offer was in reply to the Mexican démarche.

From the eleven mentioned above we may eliminate Bolivia, because the Government which sent us its views has been overthrown and the new Government has not renewed the expression of Bolivian interest; and Haiti and Nicaragua, which have not replied to our offer.

The remaining countries may be classified thus: 1) those which protested against exclusion from the Conference, and 2) those which replied within the proper limits of our offer.

1st. Governments Which Protested Their Exclusion

a) Mexico

On February 12 the Mexican Government addressed a memorandum to us asking for admittance to the Peace Conference. On March 23, we instructed Ambassador Messersmith to express our regrets but to offer to consult with Mexico with the purpose of conveying its views to the Conference. The Mexican Ambassador here furthermore approached the members of the Council.

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In early July Mr. Matthews under instructions of the Secretary informed the Mexican Ambassador that the Secretary would be glad to sponsor a motion at the Conference for Mexico to be heard.

In subsequent talks I have had with the Mexican Ambassador and members of his staff I recommended that the Mexican desire to be heard be made known to the International Secretariat, it being anticipated that the rules of procedure eventually adopted by the Conference would make provision for hearing third countries. I am informed that the Mexican Ambassador has now in fact addressed the International Secretariat.

b) Cuba

Cuba did not reply to the Department, but the Cuban Minister under instructions wrote the Secretary in Paris on July 31 citing the reasons why “Cuba aspires to take part in the work of preparing the Peace treaties”. The Cuban Minister has it is understood consulted the International Secretariat; and presumably we would be glad to lend support to a Cuban initiative to be heard.18

With the Cuban note came a note from the Minister of State expressing the Cuban Government’s views on the draft treaties as follows, and asking that “the peace conventions neither be discussed nor signed without the participation and approval of all the United Nations which declared war on the members of the tripartite pact”.

The Cuban views are that the treaties should be based on

equity and justice.
self determination and geographic unity.
non-recognition of conquests, without prejudice to means of avoiding renewed aggressions.
reparations by aggressors.
like conditions of work in home country and colonies.
consideration in the Italian treaty of Italian contributions to the Allied cause and of its democratic reforms so as to permit reconstruction of the country.

2d. Governments Which Ask That Their Views Be Conveyed, Without Protest at Exclusion19

a) Costa Rica

Costa Rica conveyed its views to the Council at London in September [Page 832] and has repeated them to us through a Foreign Office memorandum of April 22, 1946 handed our Embassy in San Jose, and a note to the Department of May 4, 1946 signed by the Costa Rican Ambassador at Washington. The Costa Rican views may be summarized thus:

It hopes Italy will be required to adopt liberal principles permitting UN to maintain cordial relations with Italy.
Italy should renounce any claims against Costa Rica on account of Costa Rican war measures affecting Italy.
Italy should consent to measures affecting its interests Costa Rica may take for its own security or for the security of UN.

The Costa Rican Ambassador’s note of May 4 specifically justifies the impounding of $142,000 US currency which the Italian Legation had confided to the Spanish Legation and the latter had turned over to the Costa Rican Government. This sum is intended to be held on account in connection with the Costa Rican claims of damages caused by the scuttling of the USS Fella in Puntarenas harbor.

b) Dominican Republic

The Dominican Foreign Office addressed our Embassy in Ciudad Trujillo on July 12 expressing very general views to the effect that Italy having chosen a democratic form of Government, the peace terms should be just and equitable.

On July 29 the Dominican Minister in Paris left a note with Ambassador Caffery stating in effect that the Dominican Government reserves the right to indemnify itself and Dominicans for losses of ships and lives by the application of Axis property within the Republic against such claims.

c) El Salvador

On May 7, 1946 the Salvadoran Foreign Office addressed a note to our Ambassador at San Salvador stating that it had no special conditions which it thought should be covered by the treaty with Italy, but that the Salvadoran Government would wish that the treaty contain a provision requiring Italy to waive any claims against the Salvadoran Government originating in measures taken as a result of war affecting Italian nationals and property in El Salvador.

d) Honduras

The Government of Honduras in a memorandum of April 27 stated that it had no claims to make upon Italy “for war or other reparations” but that the Honduran Government would expect Italy to renounce any right to make claims against Honduras for harm to Italian interests arising from measures taken by the Honduran Government for war purposes.

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e) Guatemala

The Guatemalan Government’s views are contained in a Foreign Office note to our Ambassador to Guatemala dated May 6. In the first place the Guatemalan Government expects the peace treaties with the Axis satellites to contain provisions protecting Guatemala against claims of the enemy states in question or their nationals arising out of war emergency measures in Guatemala. In the second place the Guatemalan Government wishes the enemy states to recognize in the treaties their obligation to repay to Guatemala the damages and harm suffered by Guatemala because of the war. The Guatemalan Government goes on to state that it reserves the right to communicate additional views with regard to the treaties and reserves the right furthermore to consider itself unbound by treaties until it has duly ratified them.

f) Panama

The Panamanian Government in a memorandum of July 16 delivered to our Embassy in Panama expresses the hope, based upon its friendly sentiments toward Italy, that the terms of the treaty will be sufficiently lenient to permit the rehabilitation of Italy.

  1. None of the notes and memoranda mentioned in this document is printed.
  2. In a note dated August 9, Secretary Byrnes informed Hector de Ayala, Cuban Minister in France, of his willingness to transmit the Cuban note of July 31 to the Conference Secretariat and “to support any proper measure designed to afford an opportunity for the Conference to hear the Cuban views”. (CFM Files)
  3. On August 20, the United States Delegation presented statements by the six nations, the views of which are described here, to the Secretary General of the Conference. The views of the six governments were circulated as C.P.(Plen) Doc. 13, not printed.