Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division for American Republics Analysis and Liaison (Halle)
|Participants:||Ambassador Rocha, Representative of Colombia on the Governing Board of the Pan American Union|
Dr. Rocha came at his request to inform Mr. Braden that his Government had authorized him to announce to the Governing Board of the Pan American Union its desire to set the date for the Ninth International Conference of American States at Bogotá without reference to the date on which it might be decided to hold the Rio Conference on the Maintenance of Continental Peace and Security, and its further desire to hold the Conference in December, 1947. He said that he had in mind making such an announcement at the Board meeting tomorrow (December 4), but wished first to consult Mr. Braden on any views he might hold.
Mr. Braden asked whether it would not be possible for the Colombian Government to call the Conference at a considerably earlier date next year, but Dr. Rocha replied that it could not be held at a materially earlier date. Mr. Braden then informed Dr. Rocha in confidence of indications he had received recently from representatives of the Brazilian Government to the effect that that government was no longer interested in holding the Rio Conference at an early date but was apparently agreeable to having it postponed until after the Bogotá Conference. He added that, in a confidential conversation he had had with Señor Nieto del Rio,16 newly designated Ambassador of Chile, they had discussed the possibility that the proposed treaty to perpetuate the Act of Chapultepec17 might be confined to political and juridical matters, omitting anything that dealt with arms agreements, and that it might be concluded among the American republics without holding any special conference for that purpose. One possibility was that such a treaty might be concluded along with other treaties at the Bogotá Conference.
This latter possibility appeared to appeal to Dr. Rocha, who said it might be well to engage in some private consultation among the members of the Governing Board toward that end. Mr. Braden pointed out that this Government would naturally have to keep in the [Page 39] background. To Dr. Rocha’s question whether the Brazilian Government would be agreeable to foregoing the Rio Conference, Mr. Braden replied that his own information and that of Nieto del Rio gave grounds for thinking it might.
Mr. Braden asked for Dr. Rocha’s confidential personal opinion on the prospective agreements to furnish arms to the American republics. Dr. Rocha replied that he viewed them with misgivings on two grounds: (a) because he felt that, with the termination of the war, the conclusion of agreements for maintaining the peace and for developing the procedures of the inter-American system should take precedence over agreements for developing the war-making capacity of the American republics; and (b) because the supply of arms to the American republics was a most dangerous thing in view of the instability of many of their governments and the potential role of the armed forces in those governments. He said that such agreements no longer had the justification that they might have had while the war was still in progress.
In discussing the Argentine situation, Dr. Rocha said that Señor Dassaut, Chargé d’ Affaires of Argentina, had recently expressed to him his feeling that a golpe de estado against Perón might be in the making. Dassaut had pointed out that Perón was now in full enjoyment of a newly acquired power but that opposition groups were developing and would develop. Mr. Braden said that his information led him to believe that Perón had pretty complete control of the situation.
In conclusion, Dr. Rocha said he would announce at tomorrow’s Governing Board meeting the desire of his government that the Bogotá Conference be held next December, regardless of when the Rio Conference was held.