Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 231

Memorandum by the United States Representative on the Council of the Organization of American States (Dreier) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Cabot)



  • Report on Outlook for Caracas Conference

As of the first week of January, I should like to submit the following report taking stock of where we stand with reference to the Caracas Conference, as I see it.

Work at the technical level in preparing position papers2 on the various agenda3 items is proceeding pretty much on schedule. I have every reason to believe that the large majority of position papers, based upon current policy, will be ready for consideration by the higher offices of the Department on or about January 15. We aim to have them all approved in final form by February 1, except for a few which are necessarily delayed because of external circumstances.

Arrangements for the Delegation4 are going forward. Budget limitations will inevitably force us to have a delegation somewhat smaller than we would like for the manifold list of subjects to be discussed. Arrangements for housing and offices of the delegation are also under way. Housing at the new hotel should be pleasant and convenient. [Page 265] Office space may be expected to be cramped due to physical limitations at the Conference site, as well as budgetary restrictions.

From the standpoint of intra-Latin American relations, prospects for the Conference seem somewhat brighter with the recent announcement of the release of a substantial number of political prisoners in Venezuela. There now appears to be no reasonable grounds for doubting that all the 21 republics will be represented at the Conference, although the position of Guatemala remains uncertain. On the other hand, the condition of the dispute between Colombia and Peru over the asylum of Haya de la Torre5 remains touch and go. If the Peruvian Government remains intransigent in its position, it is very likely that the Conference will be disrupted by the discussion of this case and the possible walkout of either Colombia or Peru. Moreover, some Latin Americans, notably the Venezuelan Government, as reported recently by Ambassador Warren, feel that rifts between Latin American Governments, such as that between dictatorships and advocates of democracy, will exert a divisive influence, obstructing positive achievement at the Conference.

This Government, as of this date, remains without any new policy in the major field of Latin American interest, namely, economic affairs. The major interest of the Latin Americans lies in seeking assurances from us on prices of raw materials and terms of trade, access to U.S. markets, and capital for economic development. The only subject on which any positive proposal by the U.S. is now feasible is that of public lending. A proposal on this subject is being sent to the Secretary. It has not yet been possible to clarify the administration’s program based upon the report6 of Dr. Milton Eisenhower. (Recommendations on this are due January 15.) The U.S. will, therefore, be in an essentially defensive position in regard to the subject on which the success or failure of this Conference depends. At the same time, the U.S. is seeking one or more anti-Communist resolutions which are not of major interest to many of the Latin American countries. The clarification of our positive economic program for this Conference therefore remains the largest and most important business to be accomplished if this Conference is not in fact to mark a considerable decline in the vitality of our inter-American relations.

John C. Dreier
  1. Position papers prepared for the Tenth Inter-American Conference and bound in three position books are contained in OAS files, lot 60 D 665.
  2. For text of the draft agenda, approved for submission to the governments of the member states by the Council of the Organization of American States (COAS) on July 1, 1953, see Annals of the Organization of American States, 1953 (Washington, 1953), p. 227; for text of the definitive agenda, see USDel Report, pp. 189–191, or PAU Report, pp. 145–146.
  3. For a complete list of the delegations to the Tenth Inter-American Conference, see USDel Report, pp. 191–206.
  4. Reference is to the Peruvian political leader who had sought asylum in the Colombian Embassy at Lima in January 1949 and had been unable to obtain safe conduct from the Peruvian Government to leave his refuge. On Mar. 23, 1954, however, the representatives of Colombia and Peru announced at the Tenth Inter-American Conference that their governments had concluded an agreement on the asylum case, which permitted Señor Haya de la Torre to proceed to Mexico.
  5. The referenced report, submitted to President Eisenhower under date of Nov. 18, 1953, was published as Report to the President: United States-Latin American Relations (Department of State Publication 5290, Washington, 1953); it is also printed in the Department of State Bulletin, Nov. 23, 1953, pp. 695–717. Regarding its implementation, see Mr. Bennett’s memorandum, Aug, 20, 1954, p. 229.