710. Consultation 4/2–2449

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs (Daniels)


Subject: Obligations of the Rio Treaty.

Participants: Ambassador Domínguez Cámpora of Uruguay
Mr. Paul C. Daniels, Director of ARA
Mr. Robert F. Woodward—ARA
Mr. William Sanders—UNA
Mr. John C. Dreier—IA1
Mr. R. Kenneth Oakley—RPA

The conversation was in continuation of the discussion held in Mr. Daniels’ office on February 10 (see memorandum of conversation of that date2).

After some preliminary conversation on miscellaneous subjects, Mr. Daniels told the Ambassador that he had given further thought to our earlier conversation and had consulted with various colleagues in the Department with the result that he did not find it [Page 786] possible to go any further than he had during their earlier conversation with regard to the exact nature of the assistance which the United States might give to Uruguay in the event of an armed attack. He said, however, that he felt further discussion would be useful because it was the Department’s desire to reach a clear, common understanding with the Government of Uruguay regarding the nature of the obligations imposed by that Treaty.

The Ambassador reviewed at some length the problem on his mind, which may be summarized as follows:

Authoritative statements from official United States sources (e.g. the Report of the U.S. Delegation on the Rio Conference, and the Report of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Rio Treaty3) expressed very clearly the view that the Rio Treaty involved an obligation for immediate and effective assistance in the event of an armed attack coming under Article 3, even before a meeting of the Organ of Consultation;
Uruguay wished confirmation of this view in terms of the hypothetical case of an armed attack upon her;
The Ambassador had been disturbed by what he termed Mr. Daniels’ “reticence” in replying to his question during their last conversation. He said he felt that the spirit of the Rio Treaty had been lacking in the reply (see memorandum of conversation of February 10, 1949).

Mr. Daniels expressed the very cordial feeling of friendship which the United States had for Uruguay, but pointed out that provisions of the Rio Treaty would, of course, be applied equally to all parties, and that however friendly our feelings for Uruguay were, we could not develop a special case for application of the Treaty to situations in which she might become involved. The Ambassador agreed with the correctness of this view.

Mr. Sanders said that the United States, like Uruguay, interprets the spirit of the Rio Treaty as requiring immediate and effective assistance in case of an armed attack. The nature, timing and exact extent of the immediate assistance is of course left for determination by each of the parties. He understood that Article 7, which had been drafted because of the strong feeling of many of the Latin American governments that conflicts between American states should be handled through pacific procedures, contemplated possible cases in which it would be more appropriate to await the decision of the Organ of Consultation in order to avoid a generalization of the armed conflict. The [Page 787] Ambassador seemed to feel that Article 7 did not apply in the case of an armed attack.

There followed further discussion of various technical points of the Treaty, at the close of which Mr. Sanders said he, of course, fully agreed that the Treaty contained, as basic to all its provisions, the juridical obligation, stated in Article 3, that each party would assist in meeting an armed attack. Mr. Sanders’ comments, with which no one had even implied disagreement, apparently pleased the Ambassador greatly, who said he felt that, on that basis, we could easily come to an understanding regarding the nature of the obligations imposed by the Rio Treaty.

It was agreed that the discussion should continue, and that the Ambassador would, before the next conversation, present a memorandum of his interpretation of the treaty obligations which he believed would serve as the basis of a mutual understanding.

Paul C. Daniels
  1. Robert F. Woodward, Deputy Director, Office of American Republic Affairs; William Sanders, Acting Director, Office of United Nations Affairs; John C. Dreier, Chief, Division of Special Inter-American Affairs.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Executive Report No. 11, 80th Cong., 1st Sess.