OAS Files, Lot 60 D 665

Position Paper Prepared in the Department of State1

IAM D-6a

Affirmation of American Republics Support for the UN


What position should the U. S. take regarding affirmation by the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of American Republics’ support for United Nations action against aggression or the threat of aggression.


The U. S. should initiate or support approval by the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of a resolution in which the responsibilities of the American Republics as members of the UN to support UN action against aggression in other parts of the world would be emphatically affirmed. A proposed draft resolution is attached.2


The first item of the IAM agenda of the Foreign Ministers Meeting is entitled “Political and Military Cooperation for the Defense of the Americas, and To Prevent and Repel Aggression, in Accordance with Inter-American Agreements and with the Charter of the UN and the Resolutions of that Organization.” The wording of this agenda item and the discussions in the Council of the OAS while it was being considered have made it unmistakably clear that action by the Consultative Meeting in support of UN efforts to prevent and repel aggression is anticipated by the Governments of the American Republics. The question to be decided, therefore, is not whether there will be such action, but the nature of the action which will be most desirable. This action will have greatest political and practical value if it is directed at strengthening the support of the other American Republies for the UN efforts most directly related to the emergency which is the basic reason for the meetings being held.

[Page 959]

The UN action in Korea and the Uniting for Peace program adopted by the General Assembly3 are based upon the principle that defense against aggression is indivisible and that each member state of the UN has a responsibility to contribute within its capabilities to the maintenance of peace and security throughout the world. The U.S. has accepted this principle and played the leading role in the adoption by the UN of these two programs. The success of both programs depends on maximum cooperation by the members of the UN. The U.S. is particularly anxious to gain further positive support and participation of the 20 American Republics. The Meeting of Consultation affords an excellent opportunity for reawakening and stimulating this support and participation.

While the American Republics are all members of the UN and have almost unanimously approved the above UN actions (Argentina abstained on the Uniting for Peace Resolution) there is an inevitable inclination among the Governments and peoples of some of them, reinforced by traditional hemispheric or nationalistic isolationism, to concentrate exclusively on local or hemispheric problems. There is a tendency also to consider that hemispheric defense and universal collective security are mutually exclusive, and that self-defense and hemispheric defense action through the OAS machinery excludes participation in UN programs for maintaining peace and security in other parts of the world. So far as the UN is concerned, the Latin American countries all too often appear to assume that their UN responsibilities are fulfilled by merely voting their support for UN programs for collective security. These attitudes are not only unfortunate from the UN point of view, but they foster an irresponsible approach which is not helpful in dealing even with localized hemispheric defense problems. They also tend to fail to take into account the danger to hemispheric security which results from aggression in other parts of the world.

For these reasons, it is imperative that the backing of the American Republics for the UN, and particularly for the Korea and Uniting for Peace programs, be reaffirmed in an effective manner by the Meeting of Consultation. The military resolution is directed at tasks and policies, which appear from the military point of view to fall directly within the province of the regional organization, should be complemented by action in which the responsibilities of the members of the OAS as members of the UN are affirmed. It is particularly important to have this affirmation because of the position that, from the U.S. military point of view, the OAS machinery should not be used in present circumstances to provide military forces for action outside the hemisphere.

[Page 960]

It is of the utmost political importance that the Uniting for Peace Program was adopted by the UN General Assembly as a result of U.S. efforts. These efforts were based upon the importance of building upon the effort improvised for UN action in Korea and in order to maximize the military contributions of UN member states other than the U.S. Accordingly, U.S. silence or a negative U.S. attitude on this highly important program of its foreign policy, taken together with the rather restricted military resolution, would have unfortunate public and political repercussions, both in the U.S. and among the other American Republics, which the U.S. must avoid. It can be expected that this Uniting for Peace program will in any event be raised by some of the Latin American Delegations. In fact, the agenda item specifically encompasses the Uniting for Peace program and the necessity that it do so was strongly argued by a number of the representatives of other Governments in COAS discussions of the agenda.

  1. The cover sheet to the source text reads in part as follows: “The attached position paper and accompanying proposed resolution … have been finalized in the Departments of State and Defense.”
  2. Not printed.
  3. For documentation on the Uniting for Peace program, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. ii, pp. 303 ff.; related documentation concerning United States policy with respect to proposals for strengthening the United Nations system in order to meet aggression may be found in vol. i, pp. 616 ff.