134. Report From the Inter-American Committee of Presidential Representatives to the Chiefs of State of the American Republics1


General Comments

The recommendations of the Inter-American Committee of Presidential Representatives to the Chiefs of the American States on the problems submitted to it for consideration vary, of course, with the specific characteristics of the problems to which they relate. Nevertheless, all the recommendations—as do all the problems that the Member States brought up for discussion—have one common denominator, namely, their essentially hemispheric character. It has [Page 486] been recognized that the needs and desires, and even the ills from which the peoples of America suffer, are not the needs, the desires, or the ills of each nation separately but of all of them. This is the spirit that has pervaded the Committee’s deliberations.

All the representatives have kept in mind the fact that Pan American organizations cannot take away from the Member States the responsibility for attacking problems which each one faces individually, nor should they attempt to do so, even though the problems are of general character. Members of the Committee are convinced, however, that inter-American cooperation will increase the effectiveness of local programs.

In Part I of the present report, the Committee describes in general terms the nature of the problems it has considered and summarizes the recommendations for their solution. Part II contains the detailed reports on the proposals submitted.

In those cases in which the agencies to take the suggested action are not specified, it would be the responsibility of the Council of the Organization of American States to make a determination in that respect. Except where specifically stated, the recommendations of this Committee do not involve changes in the structure of the Organization of American States.

The Committee has given special attention to the question of cost. Its purpose in determining the cost estimates for each recommendation was to arrive at an approximate figure on the basis of which the Council of the Organization of American States and other inter-American organizations could later prepare the definitive budgets. The Committee’s firm policy has been to reconcile the objective of reducing expenditures to a minimum, with the purpose of maintaining the effectiveness of the programs it hopes will be carried out. A recapitulation of the financial implications of the Committee’s recommendations is included as Part III of this report.

In the light of the comments contained in this report, the twenty-one Representatives submit the following recommendations for the consideration of their Chiefs of State.

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Economic and Financial Matters

Since the first International Conference of American States in 1890, when it was agreed to establish the International Union of the American Republics for purposes related principally to the commerce and industry of the American countries, a constant interest in working out coordinated solutions of the economic problems confronting all the countries of America has been recognized. This interest increased during World War II and gathered impetus at the Ninth International Conference of American States, at which the Charter of the Organization of American States was adopted and the Economic Agreement of Bogota was signed.2 It has been a growing desire of the American Republics to have inter-American cooperation in these fields of activity of their peoples reach the same high level as their cooperation in other fields of endeavor.

The Committee studied the same economic problems that have long been the subject of so many inter-American discussions, particularly those concerned with economic development and the promotion of trade. The Committee concluded that there are many fields in which the activities of the Organization of American States relating to economic matters can and should be increased.

The Committee proposes that the activities of the Organization of American States in agriculture be strengthened and expanded. This would include: (1) amendment of the Convention on the Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences so that its Board of Directors will be composed of the Directors General of Agriculture or of other officials of equal rank in the Ministries of Agriculture, and modification of the system of financial support; (2) transfer to the Institute of the present agricultural training activities of the Technical Cooperation Program of the Organization of American States; (3) expansion of the program of the Institute especially in the field of agricultural activities (establishment of the Regional Temperate Zone Center) and in research into the diseases of banana and cacao (establishment of the Regional Center for Study of the Diseases of Banana and Cacao) and for this purpose to provide the necessary installations; (4) strengthening of the action of the competent agencies of the Organization of American States so that they may cooperate with the Governments of the Member States in achieving an adequate system of statistical information on agricultural products; (5) utilization of nuclear energy in agriculture. The desirability of participation in the Institute by the greatest possible [Page 488] number of Member States of the Organization of American States is pointed out.3

With respect to the development of industry, the Committee recognized that the Pan American Union in its Department of Economic and Social Affairs should be able to provide the Governments of the Member States of the Organization, as a part of its services, with information or advice on industrialization and industrial statistics. It was felt that the Pan American Union should also coordinate its activities with those of other international organizations in this field.4

To assure to the countries of the Hemisphere an opportunity to know and put to use the wealth of the natural resources of the tropics, the Committee recommends that the Council of the Organization take the necessary steps for consideration of the possibility of establishing an institute to study the utilization of those resources.5

Convinced that the over-all development of a nation is inevitably linked with its communication and transportation system and well aware of the basic shortages in this field from which most of the American Republics suffer, the Committee studied carefully the problem of the transportation systems of the Americas. It recommends that the Council of the Organization of American States consider the possibility of establishing an inter-American center for technical research and training in transportation, as a regular activity of the Organization.6

The Committee, recognizing the importance to all the American nations of the construction of the section of the Pan American Highway known as the “Darién Bottleneck,” recommends that instructions be given to the delegates to the Seventh Pan American Highway Congress to prepare a plan to complete the studies concerning the construction and financing of that section of the Highway.7

Great importance was attached to the subject of financing, both public and private, of economic development. In particular the Committee realized that the idea of creating a finance institution exclusively for this Hemisphere, which would concern itself especially with problems of economic development of the Latin American countries, has been a matter of constant concern to those nations.

The Latin American Representatives, while recognizing the benefits that existing international financial organizations have been giving to the economic development of some nations, expressed the [Page 489] firm opinion that these organizations do not cover the entire field, nor are they sufficient to help all the Latin American countries to achieve an adequate rate of investment in projects considered essential to their economic improvement and the raising of their standard of living. The Latin American delegates also believe that an inter-American credit agency working in close harmony with existing international finance organizations not only would provide a new source of credit but also could deal with the specific problems relating with greater flexibility and specialized knowledge to the development of each of the Latin American nations. The Representative of the United States of America maintained that the resources of existing institutions are adequate to meet effective demand, and, therefore, that the establishment of new credit institutions would not be justified, since greater progress could be made by using those already in existence.

In view of the importance of this matter, the Committee recommends that the Organization of American States, through its appropriate organs, including the Economic Conference of the Organization of American States, continue, with the urgency that the case merits, to study the problems relating to the financing of economic and social development in the Hemisphere, as well as possible solutions to these problems. This study should give due consideration to the proposals submitted to the Committee, and to those submitted at other inter-American meetings, as well as to discussions held on them and those which may be held in the future. The purpose of the study should be to arrive at concrete conclusions.8

The Committee also recognizes that the countries in the process of economic development should prepare specific “bankable” projects that will give them a clear idea of the nature of the problems to be solved. It also realizes that many American nations find it difficult to prepare such projects, owing to the fact that the task requires theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as experience, that is not always available in the country concerned.

The Committee recommends the creation of an ad hoc inter-American technical committee which, at the request of each nation, and on a reimbursable basis, would assist it in the preparation of specific “bankable” projects for economic development.9

The problem of stimulating the flow of private investment capital to accelerate the economic and social development of the American Republics also was fully discussed. The progress of insufficiently developed American countries demands a considerable flow [Page 490] of private foreign capital to supplement national savings. To facilitate the flow of private capital to the insufficiently developed nations of the Hemisphere, the Committee recommends that the American Governments, by means of bilateral or multilateral agreements, as well as their own tax legislation, adopt the measures necessary to contribute to the elimination of obstacles to the movement of private capital; and that the Organization of American States study measures that would tend to increase the international flow of private capital.10

With a view to the expansion of the international trade of the American Republics as a factor essential to their development at a satisfactory rate, and to the reduction or elimination of the factors which obstruct it, the Committee considered that it is necessary to bring the forces of inter-American economic cooperation to bear upon this problem. All the proposals submitted have emphasized the urgency of adopting practical measures to achieve this expansion. The Committee recommends that the Representatives on the Inter-American Economic and Social Council be instructed to have the Council call a meeting of high-ranking governmental experts during the first quarter of 1958, to study the main aspects of the international trade of the American Republics and to recommend ways in which that trade might be stimulated.11

Regarding this matter, the Committee recognized that maritime and river freight rates have a fundamental effect on not only the cost of the commodities traded, but also on the competitive standing of the nations’ exports. A coordinated policy must, therefore, be developed to obtain the lowest possible maritime and river freight rates which are, at the same time, compatible with adequate and efficient services. In that sense, the Committee recommends to the Governments several measures designed to achieve these ends. Similarly, it recommends that the Inter-American Economic and Social Council continue its work of analyzing the various factors determining maritime and river freight rates in inter-American trade, with a view to ascertaining whether rate differences exist which cannot be justified by normal trade factors or by other valid economic reasons.12

The Committee agrees that, in order to make useful studies of international trade and to find a means of expanding it, it is essential to have uniform, complete, and timely statistics. To this end it [Page 491] recommends expansion of the statistical services of the Pan American Union.13

In view of the importance for the economic and social development of the Latin American nations of the availability of adequate foreign exchange, especially as regards the need to accelerate the rate of such development, and also because of the close connection between this topic and various economic aspects of the agenda of the Economic Conference of the Organization of American States, the Committee recommends that this subject be treated in that Conference.14

The Committee believes that it would be of benefit to the American Republics to have a mutual exchange of information relating to their present and future economic situation, in order to provide a more definite idea of the economic problems that affect them and of the most practical policies which might be adopted to solve them. The Committee recommends that the Organization of American States convoke periodically, for this purpose, meetings of high governmental officials who are experts in economics.15

Public Health and Social Security

One of the fields offering the greatest scope for strengthening the cooperative action of the American Republics is that of public health. After having considered in detail several aspects of this problem, the Committee reached the conclusion that the eradication of malaria is the most important sanitary problem confronting the American Hemisphere, not only from the viewpoint of health, but also because of its repercussions on the economic development and social welfare of the people.

The studies presented to the Committee make it possible to assure that in a brief period, perhaps of five years, it is possible to eradicate malaria from America if a continent-wide program is adopted and is carried out systematically and urgently.

Therefore the Committee recommends that the program of total eradication of malaria in America, which has already been planned by the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, be carried out, and that every effort be made to meet the deficit resulting from its total cost.16

The Committee also recommends that the Chiefs of State support the programs elaborated by the Pan American Sanitary Bureau with respect to the control and eradication of communicable diseases.17

[Page 492]

In view of the serious consequences which food shortages have on economic development and general welfare in vast areas of America, the Committee recommends that support be given to the activities on nutrition carried out in America, by the several international organizations that are concerned with this problem.18

The Committee has noted with concern the increasing shortage of housing of social interest, and considers that it is of urgent necessity to promote urban and rural planning. With a view to increasing to the greatest possible degree inter-American cooperation for the solution of these problems, the Committee considers it especially important to ensure, by means of the measures recommended, the permanence of and a regular source of income for the Inter-American Housing Center.19

Besides, it is recommended that the Inter-American Economic and Social Council be provided with the funds necessary for executing studies on the effect which the creation of a Private Inter-American Bank for the Promotion of Housing of Social Interest would have on the coordinated solution of the problem of housing in the Hemisphere.20

Upon considering the subject of social security and social welfare, the Committee recognized that in some cases it has not been possible to initiate national systems of social security, and in other cases it has not been possible to make uniform progress, because, among other reasons, the different economic and social conditions of the American countries required the adaptation of the respective social security plans to the special characteristics of each particular region.

With respect to social welfare, it was realized that the greatest urgency should be given to the achievement of better coordination among the existing programs and institutions, greater attention to the needs of the rural zones, improvement in the administration of public and private institutions offering services to the needy, more emphasis on preventive activities, and better training of professionals in the field of social welfare.

The Committee recommends that in order to cope with the social problems which exist in America today the activities of the Organization of American States in the fields of social security and social welfare should be strengthened.21

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Education and Technical Cooperation

The Committee recognizes that despite the efforts which the American Republics are exerting to plan and execute programs which offer the benefits of universal free and obligatory education, there still exists the serious problem of the elimination of illiteracy as well as other problems, such as the necessity of improving and increasing the number of teachers, of providing primary education for all, of improving adult education, and increasing the number and improving the quality of the schools.

To meet the serious problems of education in America, the Organization of American States should collaborate actively with the Governments in the preparation and execution of their respective national plans. To this end, the Committee recommends an increase in the information and publication services, an increase in consultatory and advisory services, and the holding of national seminars and technical meetings. To guarantee an effective program and to avoid any duplication of efforts in the field of education, it is suggested that the Secretary General, assisted by independent experts, make a periodic evaluation of the program. Likewise, the Organization should coordinate its activities with the various national, bilateral, and multilateral programs.22

In addition to the necessity of finding solutions to the common problems related to education in the American countries, the Committee has recognized the importance of cultural exchange among them to aid in the advancement of their economic and social development. It recommends that the Organization initiate a regular program of 500 scholarships independent and apart from those which are at the present offered by the governments and the Organization through its own programs and those of its specialized organizations. This program will have, among other objectives, that of supplementing the technical cooperation activities of the Organization.23

In the preceding pages mention has been made repeatedly of the desirability or strengthening the inter-American system through technical cooperation and assistance. Experience over the six years in which the Organization of American States has carried on its Program of Technical Cooperation has shown the value of that program, but has proved, as well, that its capacity to aid the governments of member states is clearly limited. It is necessary, therefore, to increase the capacity of the Organization of American States to furnish technical cooperation and assistance.

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The Committee recommends that the Program of Technical Cooperation of the Organization of American States be expanded and given greater flexibility and that the Economic Conference at Buenos Aires consider the possibility of converting it into a regular and continuing activity of the Organization.

With regard to direct technical assistance, it recommends that the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States increase services of this type to the member states, utilizing its personnel towards this end, and that expenses involved be paid, as a general rule, by the requesting governments.24

Nuclear Energy

Among the subjects submitted for the consideration of the Committee that relative to the utilization of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and possible inter-American collaboration in that field, was of particular interest because of the possibilities that it holds for the well-being of the Hemisphere. The accomplishments already achieved in the application of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes reveal the hitherto unforeseen possibilities it holds for the future and the role which it can play in the development of society.

The Committee recognizes that the application of nuclear energy is presently in various stages of development in the American Republics. While some have been able to carry out relatively advanced work, in the majority of them activity in the nuclear field is still in its initial phase.

In the opinion of the Committee this matter constitutes one of the fields most appropriate and important for inter-American collaboration, and, consequently, is an activity in which the Organization of American States should play a part. For this purpose, the Committee recommends that there be established an Inter-American Nuclear Energy Commission which would serve as a center for consultation on matters relating to the peaceful application of nuclear energy, lend assistance to the American Republics in the development of a coordinated plan of research and training in nuclear matters, promote the coordination and augmentation of the national programs on nuclear energy to meet the needs of the inter-American community, and, once it has finished the program set forth for the first stage of its work, it might study the advisability of the creation of a Specialized Organization of the Organization of American States that might, in the future, replace it.

The Committee recommends that the Pan American Sanitary Organization encourage the use of radioisotopes or other ionizing radiations in medical research, diagnosis and therapy; and that the [Page 495] Pan American Sanitary Organization draft practical regulations for the safe handling of radioactive material. The Committee likewise recommends that the Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences utilize nuclear energy in the field of agricultural research.

The Committee has taken special note of the proposals and offers relative to the establishment of an inter-American regional center for investigation and training in nuclear matters. In view of the complexity of the problems which this question presents, the Committee considers it preferable to refer this matter and the related documents to the proposed Inter-American Nuclear Energy Commission for its consideration when opportune.25

Public Relations

The recommendations of this Committee would only partially achieve their ultimate objective—which is to make the Organization of American States a more effective organization—if they do not succeed in making the principles and objectives of the Organization known to the public. The Committee, therefore, suggests the review and, if called for, the expansion and strengthening of the public relations activities of the Organization of American States and the establishment of local offices in all the American republics. Moreover, the Organization of American States should stimulate private participation in its activities and encourage the governments to establish National Committees for the Organization of American States.26

Organization Affairs

The various recommendations of this Committee cannot be carried out without the effective operation of the Organization in all its parts.

Projects approved by the Committee point up the possibility of a considerable increase in the activities of the Organization of American States and, therefore, in the budget of the organs concerned. In order to make the maximum use possible of local currencies to finance activities of the Organization, the Committee recommends: that, in considering expenditures related to the activities of the Organization, the currencies of the countries in which the activities take place, or in which expenditures are made, be used to the fullest extent possible; and that to the extent possible the Organization of American States and other inter-American organizations establish their centers and spread their activities among all the [Page 496] member states with due regard for the principle of geographic distribution.27

In regard to the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, the Committee considered that this Council has not been able fully to achieve the purpose and carry out the functions assigned to it by the Charter of the Organization of American States. In view of this fact, the Committee recommends that the Inter-American Economic and Social Council urgently study and put into effect immediately all feasible measures to improve its operation, and that the governments in forming their delegations to the Council in accordance with the terms of Article 65 of the Charter of the Organization, keep always in mind the necessity of strengthening the membership of the Council and in this manner making its work broader and more effective.

In addition, the Inter-American Economic and Social Council should study the possibility of adopting measures permitting the governments to seek solutions in the Council for the economic and social problems which, in the judgment of that organ, can properly be solved through consultative means; and that the Inter-American Economic and Social Council make appropriate recommendations based on such study. Moreover, without prejudice to the programs it has under consideration and the recommendations that have been approved by this Committee, the Inter-American Economic and Social Council should give special attention to the following matters: trade in basic products of interest to the producer countries of the Continent, movement of private capital, transportation, cooperatives and social security.

The Committee recommends also that, in order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, the services of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs which serves as the Secretariat of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, be expanded and improved.28

  1. Source: Department of State, OAS Files: Lot 60 D 665, Report to the Chiefs of State of the American Republics. The third and final meeting of the Inter-American Committee of Presidential Representatives began on April 29 in Washington. The Committee considered and endorsed the 27 recommendations submitted by the Interim Committee and drafted the final report. On May 8, it announced the completion of its work and signed the letters which transmitted to the heads of state the report on the Committee’s recommendations for strengthening the Organization of American States. The minutes and documentation on this final meeting are Ibid., CPR Memos 145–223, President’s Committee (to review activities of OAS) October 1956, and CPR Summary Minutes, 2d Meeting Jan. 28–29, 1957.

    The report consisted of the text of the letter addressed to each of the Presidents of the American Republics transmitting the reports, an introduction explaining the origin and purpose of the committee, a summary of the 27 recommendations, brief sections on specific programs and suggested actions with respect to them, and a budgetary summary. Only the summary of the recommendations is printed here. The complete text of the report was not published until May 25, 1957.

    The recommendations are printed in Annals of the Organization of American States, vol. IX, 1957, pp. 167–178. A general summary of the recommendations is in Department of State Bulletin, June 24, 1957, pp. 1015–1016. The statement made by President Eisenhower in response to this report on May 26 is printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957 (Washington, 1958), pp. 415–416.

  2. The Ninth International Conference of American States was held at Bogotá, March 30–May 2, 1948. For documentation on U.S. participation, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ix, pp. 1 ff.
  3. Recommendations Nos. 1, 2, and 24. [Footnote in the source text.]
  4. Recommendation No. 3. [Footnote in the source text.]
  5. Recommendation No. 4. [Footnote in the source text.]
  6. Recommendation No. 5. [Footnote in the source text.]
  7. Recommendation No. 6. [Footnote in the source text.]
  8. Recommendation No. 7. [Footnote in the source text.]
  9. Recommendation No. 8. [Footnote in the source text.]
  10. Recommendation No. 9. [Footnote in the source text.]
  11. Recommendation No. 10. [Footnote in the source text.]
  12. Recommendation No. 11. [Footnote in the source text.]
  13. Recommendation No. 12. [Footnote in the source text.]
  14. Recommendation No. 13. [Footnote in the source text.]
  15. Recommendation No. 14. [Footnote in the source text.]
  16. Recommendation No. 15. [Footnote in the source text.]
  17. Recommendation No. 16. [Footnote in the source text.]
  18. Recommendation No. 17. [Footnote in the source text.]
  19. Recommendation No. 18. [Footnote in the source text.]
  20. Recommendation No. 19. [Footnote is the source text.]
  21. Recommendation No. 20. [Footnote in the source text.]
  22. Recommendation No. 21. [Footnote in the source text.]
  23. Recommendation No. 22. [Footnote in the source text.]
  24. Recommendation No. 23. [Footnote in the source text.]
  25. Recommendation No. 24. [Footnote in the source text.]
  26. Recommendation No. 25. [Footnote in the source text.]
  27. Recommendation No. 26. [Footnote in the source text.]
  28. Recommendation No. 27. [Footnote in the source text.]