135. Editorial Note

At the Ninth Inter-American Conference of American States, held in Bogotá, Colombia, March 30–May 2, 1948, it was agreed that an economic conference of the Organization of American States should be held in the last quarter of 1948 at Buenos Aires, and that the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (IA–ECOSOC) should fix the date, propose the agenda, and prepare background studies on economic issues for the Conference. The Conference was not held in 1948, however, and for various reasons it was postponed in succeeding years.

During the latter part of 1955, it appeared that the Conference would convene late the following year. In a memorandum to the Chairman of the Council on Foreign Economic Policy (CFEP), Joseph Dodge, dated November 11, 1955, Under Secretary of State Herbert Hoover, Jr., discussed preparations for the Conference and recommended the establishment of a Subcommittee of the Council to develop for Council consideration the United States position for the forthcoming Conference. Hoover also recommended that the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, Henry F. Holland, serve as Chairman of the Subcommittee. (Department of State, Central Files, 365/11–1455) In a memorandum to Hoover, dated November 30, Dodge stated that at its meeting on November 22 the CFEP had approved the Under Secretary’s recommendations. (Ibid., 100.4–FEP/11–3055) The Subcommittee’s initial meeting took place at the Department of State on December 28, 1955, but the Conference was postponed again, and the Subcommittee’s meetings were discontinued until May 1957, when a date for the Conference was [Page 498] finally set. By that time, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Roy R. Rubottom, Jr., had succeeded Holland, who resigned from the Department in September 1956, as Chairman of the Subcommittee.

The Subcommittee was originally comprised of representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Interior, State, and the Treasury, the Export-Import Bank, the Office of Defense Mobilization (ODM), and the International Cooperation Administration (ICA). It was responsible for reviewing policy on each issue that was expected to arise at the Conference, and also giving direction and guidance to the Interdepartmental Committee on Economic Affairs (EA).

The EA Committee, chaired by James C. Corliss, Acting United States Representative in the IA–ECOSOC, had met as early as June 1955 to review a report concerning a draft of a General Inter-American Economic Agreement prepared for the Conference by an IA–ECOSOC working group. The Committee had responsibility for preparing memoranda on agenda subjects and preliminary position papers for the Conference. These memoranda were forwarded to the CFEP Subcommittee for review. After review and approval, they became the basis for formal position papers, also prepared by the EA Committee, for use by the United States Delegation at the Conference. The position papers were designated EA–1 through EA–33, and indexed according to Conference agenda items.

In addition to these two interdepartmental committees, a Working Group on the Economic Conference was established in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (ARA) within the Department of State. This group served as a “sounding board” for the planning for the Conference, and also as a means of channeling ideas and proposals to the EA Committee.

The memoranda, notes, minutes of meetings, correspondence, position papers, and other documents generated by the Subcommittee, the EA Committee, and the ARA Working Group are ibid., OAS Files: Lot 60 D 665, Boxes 175–178. Additional documentation is ibid., Central Files 100.4–FEP and 365.

At Buenos Aires, the United States Delegation set up an 11–member Steering Committee, comprised of Senior Advisers and the committee spokesmen on the 5 working committees of the Conference. The Steering Committee met daily from August 19, 1957, to discuss progress in the working committees, and to coordinate United States actions with respect to the working committees. Assistant Secretary Rubottom served as Coordinator of the Delegation and as liaison between it and the Steering Committee.

The documentation generated by the United States Delegation to the Conference fell into six main categories, identified by symbols: [Page 499] 1) the USDel/ series includes all documents, except the ECOAS series, dealing with substantive matters pertaining to the Conference; 2) the USRPT/ series was used for reports of the delegation members on meetings of committees, subcommittees, and working groups of the Conference; 3) the ECOAS/ series contains position papers, numbered according to the agenda items; 4) the USPR/ series identified press releases issued by the delegation; 5) the USAdm/ series related to physical arrangements, travel, and general information, usually of an administrative nature, for delegation members; and 6) the USOD/ series designates the Order of the Day for the delegation. All of these series are ibid., OAS Files: Lot 60 D 665.