710. Consultation 4/5–746

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs ( Braden ) to the Acting Secretary of State

When the agenda of the Conference of Rio de Janeiro was considered last fall, the Department was opposed to including in the scope of the Conference the conclusion of provisions for the pacific settlement of inter-American disputes because we did not feel it possible to prepare ourselves on this subject in addition to the Treaty of mutual assistance.

During the last months, however, several American republics have indicated their desire to have procedures of pacific settlement agreed upon at the Conference, either as part of the treaty of mutual assistance [Page 21] or in the form of a separate treaty. Officers of the Department who have been working on this problem have recommended that this Government favor such a step, not only because of the interest of the Latin American countries, but also because the conclusion of peaceful settlement provisions would balance the primarily military character of the mutual assistance pact.

Mr. Hiss45 and I agree that it would be desirable to include the subject of peaceful settlement in the Rio Conference if the other governments so desire. The Brazilian Government has, however, indicated through its representative on the Governing Board a strong objection to any broadening of the agenda for the Conference. We have assured the Brazilians that we will not make any move to change the agenda without first consulting with them. There are indications, however, that many of the other governments do desire to take up the subject of peaceful settlement at the Conference, and it is quite likely that the question will come up before the Governing Board for decision.

I am therefore asking the officers working on this Conference to draw up, on the basis of work already done, provisions for pacific settlement of disputes which could be used by our delegation at Rio de Janeiro, in the event the Conference is to take up this question. If you concur, I believe that this subject should be taken up with the Congressional group advising on the Rio treaty, if and when it becomes clear that the Conference will negotiate provisions of pacific settlement.

Spruille Braden
  1. Alger Hiss, Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs.