101. Memorandum From the Secretary of State to the President1


  • Final Act of the Fifth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of American States, Santiago, Chile, August 12 to 18, 1959

I have just returned from the Fifth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics held at Santiago, Chile, from August 12 to 18, 1959. This meeting was called principally to consider the situation of international tension in the Caribbean area. I am enclosing an unofficial translation in English of the Final Act of the Meeting, which I signed as the U.S. delegate.2

The Foreign Ministers agreed at the meeting to provide the Inter-American Peace Committee with temporary emergency powers, until the close of the Eleventh Inter-American Conference to be held at Quito, Ecuador, in February 1960, to study in particular the situation of tensions in the Caribbean. The Committee may now take action on its own initiative to investigate a situation without necessarily awaiting the consent of governments concerned, except that the Committee cannot carry on investigations within the territory of any country without its express consent.

The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed, in the Declaration of Santiago de Chile and other resolutions, the principles of the inter-American system having to do with nonintervention, respect for fundamental human rights, the effective exercise of representative democracy, and economic cooperation with one another.

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The high degree of tension which has existed among some of the countries in the Caribbean, and the conflict between the principle of nonintervention, on the one hand, and the desire of some governments to compel countries to adhere in practice to the principle of representative democracy and respect for human rights, on the other hand, made the work of the meeting difficult. I believe, however, that as much as possible at this time was accomplished, certainly as much as we had expected, and the meeting may be considered a success.

Christian A. Herter
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DullesHerter Series. Drafted by Luboeansky. The President initialed the source text.
  2. Not printed here. The Final Act was signed by the 21 Foreign Ministers at Santiago, August 18; for text, see Fifth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Santiago, Chile, August 12–18, 1959, Final Act.