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

Reference is made to your memorandum dated March 13 relative to the Ninth International Conference of American States to be held in Bogotá to which was attached the Report on the Program of the Bogotá Conference approved by the Governing Board of the Pan American Union.

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The permanent organization of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council is the only topic on the proposed agenda on the economic side. Altho the Inter-American Development Commission is not specifically mentioned, it is desirable that the Department’s policy with regard to it be defined and that it be included in the agenda in such a way that this policy toward it will be adequately presented.

The policy of this Government toward the future of the Inter-American Development Commission established by a document of the Executive Committee on Economic Foreign Policy (ECEFP D–26/45) dated February 23, 1945 and subsequently approved by the Secretary of State, can remain substantially unchanged. I believe that if IADC is to be perpetuated it should become attached to or a dependency of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council.

Developments since the receipt of your memorandum indicate that this Conference will probably not be held in December as scheduled.13 Mr. J. Raphael Oreamuno, Vice Chairman and Director of the Inter-American Development Commission, has stated that the Commission has sufficient funds to carry on planned activities during 1946. It may, therefore, be desirable for the questions concerning the future of IADC to be considered again by the Executive Committee on Economic Foreign Policy and, following approval of its action by the Secretary, the subject should be introduced in the Inter-American Economic and Social Council. Presumably the Council would then make recommendations to the governments of the American Republics.

As to substantive economic questions, I do not believe that we should take the initiative in proposing anything for discussion in the general commercial policy field. We would hope that it might be possible to keep this subject off the Bogotá agenda in view of the timing in relation to the general international trade conference. However, this may not be possible and it may be that one or more of the countries will want a discussion of the “Proposals” placed on the program. If it comes to a public attitude before the Latin American nations, we will probably have to be enthusiastic about the opportunity of discussing the “Proposals” with the neighbors in advance of the general conference.

It is believed that any “spot” economic problems which might be in the minds of Latin American nations at the time the agenda for the meeting is drawn up, will probably have changed or disappeared when the meeting is finally held. As far as Conference action is concerned on such problems, I believe that the various resolutions at Mexico City last year covered the various questions to about as thorough a degree [Page 37] as we would be prepared to go at present or within the next several months. I think we should be able to resist including such “spot” problems on the program both on the above grounds and because of the general principle laid down that the International Conference of American States “shall be the inter-American organ and trusted with the formulation of general inter-American policy”.

With regard to broad economic policy questions, once again I believe that the resolutions at Mexico City covered the ground rather thoroughly, and at the moment I can think of no general issues which this government would want to have included in the program other than those which we would prefer to have discussed in an international rather than an inter-American setting.

  1. In a letter of May 24, 1946, to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Governing Board of the Pan American Union indicated that this body had voted to postpone the Conference until 1947 (710.J/5–2446).