146. Consolidated Memorandum of a Conversation, Buenos Aires, August 17, 1957, 3–6 p.m.1



  • United States
  • Secretary Anderson
  • Deputy Under Secretary Dillon
  • Assistant Secretary Rubottom
  • Latin American Countries
  • Urzua Merino, Chile—Embassy Residence, Esmeralda 851
  • Vasconcellos,2 Uruguay—Crillon Hotel, Room 601
  • J. Octavio Durón,3 Honduras—Plaza Hotel, Room 244
  • Alvarez Restrepo,4 Colombia—Plaza Hotel, Lobby
  • Despradel,5 Dominican Republic—Plaza Hotel, Room 658
  • Serrano,6 El Salvador—Plaza Hotel, Lobby

On the problem of a general economic agreement:

Urzua Merino of Chile wants a formal agreement on broad principles; not inflexible on this point if others approve a resolution or manifesto in general terms, especially if discussion drags. Vasconcellos of Uruguay not specially committed to the idea that an economic agreement should be a long and detailed document but would want a general agreement on broad principles to emerge from this Conference. Durón of Honduras was amenable to a statement of general principles, felt that long speeches on detailed treaty would be unproductive and unlikely to obtain legislative approval in different countries. Despradel of the Dominican Republic goes along with the US view on a general statement of principles; claimed that his country could view the problem serenely because its economy is in good condition. Serrano of El Salvador insisted that the general [Page 524] agreement should consist of a formally signed treaty even though brief and based on general principles; he considers this the most important item before the Conference. Alvarez Restrepo of Colombia favored a general agreement on broad principles that could later be amplified.


On the problem of financing of economic development:

Urzua Merino of Chile is specially interested in the establishment of an Inter-American Development Fund; he feels that existing agencies are not adequate to fill present needs for increased financing; a new institution is definitely needed arguing that investments are mutually advantageous. (Just as a democratic majority attitude in the US toward a new institution is an important consideration to the US delegation, the democratic majority attitude in the conference toward said institution should be a deciding factor). Durón of Honduras expressed no special interest in an Inter-American Development Fund. Alvarez Restrepo of Colombia, expressing gratitude for Eximbank and World Bank aid, felt that increased activity on their part might be better than establishing a new institution. Despradel of the Dominican Republic expressed interest in financing of economic development stating that his country had contributed to the Export-Import Bank, the IMF and other agencies but has not yet used their facilities; he seemed impressed with a Cuban proposal for serious study for the eventual establishment of an Inter-American financing system. Serrano of El Salvador favored the establishment of an Inter-American Fund on the grounds that the progress made in Central America on a regional program of economic integration and the contributions made by bilateral agreements to the same end justify trying an Inter-American financing system to bring about economic integration of the whole Latin American area.


On the problem of foreign trade: prices and markets and promotion of Inter-American trade:

Urzua Merino of Chile was greatly concerned about stabilization of prices of basic products. Pointing out that Chile’s copper economy suffers greatly from price fluctuations in the world market, he stated that the producing countries cannot do anything individually to get fair prices; the Chilean Government is taking all possible austerity measures in its efforts to stabilize the economy and check inflation. Vasconcellos of Uruguay advocated strongly the promotion of a common market plan and obtained from Secretary Anderson, upon inquiring, the reply that this was a problem requiring greater study. Durón of Honduras stated that his country would go along with any plan for promoting Inter-American trade acceptable to the majority as long as it does not interfere with Central American plans for economic integration within their area. Alvarez Restrepo of Colombia felt that OAS studies have shown that Inter-American trade [Page 525] should be stimulated. Common market idea should receive greater study and more sympathetic consideration. Despradel of the Dominican Republic stated that the diversified economy of his country offers no acute problems on markets and prices as is the case of monoculture countries; he aired no views about a common market program. Serrano of El Salvador limited his discussion of foreign commerce to an observation that the Central American economic integration program is proving a success in promoting commerce in that area.

  1. Source: Department of State, OAS Files: Lot 60 D 665, USDel/MC/1–23. Official Use Only. Prepared in the Delegation Secretariat.
  2. Amilcar Vasconcellos, Minister of Finance.
  3. Octavio Jacinto Durón, Undersecretary of Economy.
  4. Antonio Alvarez Restrepo, Minister of Finance.
  5. Arturo Despradel, Governor of the Central Bank.
  6. Antonio Serrano Langlois, Undersecretary of Economy.