363/12–1650: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Diplomatic Offices in the American Republics


277. Secy Acheson made fol announcement 3 p. m. today:

  • Verbatim Text. “Pursuant to instructions from Pres Truman, I have today instructed the rep of the US in the Council of the Organization of Amer States to request that a Mtg of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs be held in accordance with Art 39 of the Charter of the Org, which provides that such Mtgs shall be held ‘to consider problems of an urgent nature and of common interest to the Amer States’.
  • “The aggressive policy of intnatl Communism, carried out through its satellites, has brought about a situation in which the entire free world is threatened. The free world is mtg that threat by resolute action through the UN, in keeping with the principles of the UN Charter. As Pres Truman announced in his speech last night, the US, for the purpose of organizing its strength in support of these principles, has embarked on an emergency program of economic and military preparedness.
  • “Within the UN, the US is also part of the established regional community represented by the OAS. All twenty-one members of that community have jointly dedicated themselves to the cause of freedom. This common cause, even more than geography, has prompted them to work together for their common security. Their cooperation is based on the principle that the defense of any one of them is inseparable from the defense of all of them. What is at stake in the present situation, with respect to this inter-Amer community of ours, is the survival of all that it stands for in the world.
  • “The US, having embarked on urgent mobilization for the common defense, wishes to consult its fellow members in the inter-Amer community with respect to the situation which we all face and on the coordination of the common effort required to meet it. That is the reason why it is requesting that a Mtg of Consultation be held.
  • “In the near future this Govt, after consultation with Cong leaders and the Govts of the other Amer Reps, will have proposals to make respecting the date and place of the Mtg and its agenda.” End Verbatim Text.

You shld as soon as possible seek urgent interview Pres or FonMin and communicate fol: US Govt contemplates suggesting mtg be held about mid-Feb with agenda limited to broad outlines of appropriate inter-Amer cooperation to meet emergency in three fields: Polit, Mil, Econ. Announcement timed to obtain maximum effectiveness in relation Pres Truman’s speech re natl emergency, in view of many aspects intensified US preparation which have special importance to other Amer Govts. We wld be happy have mtg in Washington. We desire advice judgment which Govt to which you accredited may have to offer re proposal, contents agenda, and gen approach. For your info and possible use in carrying out this instr, this Govt attaches major [Page 929] importance to limiting agenda items to those directly and immed related to emergency.

Primary reason for calling Mtg under Art 39 OAS Charter rather than under Bio Treaty1 provisions is latter might imply failure or loss of confidence in security action by UN.

For your own info, present plan is that US Rep will make brief statement of request at COAS mtg next week,2 at same time indicating mtg (in 2 weeks).3 Time thus afforded for consultation on major points.

  1. Reference is to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty), opened for signature at Rio de Janeiro, September 2, 1947, and entered into force for the United States on December 3, 1948; for text, see TIAS No. 1838, or 62 Stat (pt. 2) 1681.
  2. For text of the press release announcing that the U.S. request for a Meeting of Consultation would be brought before the Council of the Organization of American States (COAS), see Department of State Bulletin, January 1, 1951, p. 8; for text of the request, which was placed before the COAS on December 20 and approved the same day, see ibid.
  3. The Department of State issued a press release on December 29, concerning U.S. proposals for the agenda of the Meeting of Consultation; for text, see ibid., January 8, 1951, p. 66.