Memorandum of Conversation, by the United States Representative on the Council of the Organization of American States (Dreier)


Subject: Draft Resolutions for Meeting of Foreign Ministers

Participants: Dr. Alberto Lleras, Secretary General of the OAS
John C. Dreier, U.S. Representative on the COAS

I took the opportunity this afternoon to show Dr. Lleras in greatest confidence some draft resolutions on economic subjects1 and on subversive activities, in order to gain his reaction to the general content thereof. I explained very carefully that these were in no sense approved drafts, and asked him to keep confidential for the time being the fact that he had even seen any such papers. This he assured me he would do.

After reading over the general economic resolution and the one on economic development (the only ones I showed him), he commented that he felt they were lacking in anything tangible or even significant. He said they would immediately be compared with the resolutions of Chapultepec2 and that the general impression would be that the policy of the American republics had gone backwards since that time. For example, he compared the vague statement of relative equal sacrifice with the much stronger statement of equal treatment contained in the Chapultepec resolution.

Dr. Lleras recommended that we do not use these draft resolutions, to consult other Governments, since the effect will be unfavorable. When I asked him what he felt the Latin American countries specifically looked for in resolutions at the Meeting of Foreign Ministers, he said frankly that he doubted whether the Latin Americans had thought things out sufficiently to know what they wanted in concrete terms. However, there was no doubt but that what they sought in general was assurance of fair treatment by the United States, so that they would not have to experience all the same problems of the last war in regard to basic interference with their economic operations. Actually Dr. Lleras pointed out that this kind of assurance could not well be stated in resolutions of the 21 Foreign Ministers because it really involved the policy and practice of only the United States. Therefore, he said the important thing for the United States was not the resolutions [Page 942] but the statements of policy which we made, in which we could give the Latin American Governments the reassurance they wanted that we were cognizant and sympathetic to their needs.

After reading the draft resolution on subversive activities,3 Dr. Lleras said he felt it substantially better than the economic resolutions because it was so much more specific; it set up a staff to do a specific job, told them what to do and to whom to report. In contrast the economic resolutions made references to “studies” by the IA ECOSOC without sufficient indication of what they were to contain, when they were to be completed, and what was to be done with them when and if they were ever finished.

Going back to the economic resolution, Dr. Lleras particularly advised against showing the Latin American countries any draft resolution which contained the language found in paragraph three under allocations and priorities. This reference to “such international arrangements as may be established”, he said, would recreate fears that the United States would, at the Meeting of Foreign Ministers, merely turn the Latin Americans over to the international conference on allocation of materials where they would be at the mercy of other countries of the world. He said that a recommendation such as that included in paragraph three, would be all right once the Latin Americans were fully familiar with the commodity group set-up, but at the present time might do a lot of harm.

  1. Versions of draft resolutions on economic subjects prepared by the United States for presentation to the Meeting of Consultation are contained in OAS Files. Lot 60 D 665; final drafts are printed in Proceedings, pp. 67–71, and Department of State Bulletin, April 16, 1951, pp. 614–615.
  2. Reference is to the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace. (Chapultepec Conference), held at Mexico City, February 21–March 8, 1945; for documentation on the conference, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ix,. pp. 1 ff. For text of the Final Act, containing the resolutions of the conference, see Pan American Union, Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, Mexico City, February–March, 1945 (Washington, 1945).
  3. For text of the final draft of the resolution on internal security, jointly submitted to the Meeting of Consultation by Bolivia, Ecuador, the United States, and Uruguay, see Proceedings, pp. 60–62, or Department of State Bulletin, April 9, 1951, p. 573.