84. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Missions in the American Republics1

59. Depcirtel 58.2 Department considers main problem re MFM at this stage is tendency several governments add subjects to agenda which will distract attention from central point and convert what should be brief and personal meeting of Foreign Ministers to consider single problem into broad conference that would invade sphere Quito Conference3 and extend time of MFM. This tendency obviously being furthered by Cuba and possibly Venezuela as means diverting attention from Caribbean problems as such.

Unless you have objection inform Foreign Minister that 1) US believes list subjects transmitted to govts by COAS adequate to permit consideration any aspect of Caribbean situation which is sole purpose of MFM, and that addition further topics or extraneous subjects would militate against success of meeting; 2) US hopes MFM can take form of truly personal discussion among Foreign Ministers as was originally envisaged when consultative meetings were first established, and that any tendency for MFM to develop into elaborate conference such as 4th MFM 19514 should be resisted for reasons mentioned first paragraph above and to save time of busy Foreign Ministers. US hopes meeting could conclude successfully within a few days. Transitory regulations re Committee of the Whole should help achieve this end.

Should question of inclusion economic topic be mentioned, you should say that if any Foreign Minister at MFM wishes suggest resolution pointing out relationship between economic progress and political democracy, that could be done under existing agenda items. However, inclusion separate item on economics would tend promote substantive discussion economic problems, which have been thoroughly considered in OPA and Committee of 21, will be taken up again at Quito and are therefore inappropriate for consideration in brief MFM called to consider political tensions in Caribbean.

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Refer also to tentative US ideas re action to be taken by MFM as set forth third paragraph Depcirtel 85 and request Foreign Minister’s thoughts this regard. FYI Further information re US objectives at conference will be sent shortly. End FYI.

Date August 12 was suggested in view various conflicts other Foreign Ministers and obvious desire to LA governments facilitate attendance Secretary Herter. Dept. has said that it is not at this time possible state definitely when Secretary Herter might be able return from Geneva6 and participate OASMFM. We trust this situation will be clearer by July 24 when final decision date is to be taken COAS. Dept. does not at this time wish to encourage any further postponement of MFM date.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 363/7–1859. Confidential. Drafted by Dreier and signed by Rubottom. Also pouched to USUN.
  2. Circular telegram 58, July 18, sent to the same addressees, concerned the OAS Council Resolution of July 17, regarding the date, site, and agenda of the Fifth Meeting of Consultation. (Ibid.)
  3. Reference is to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference originally scheduled to meet at Quito in February 1960, but postponed until March 1961, and then postponed indefinitely.
  4. For documentation on this meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. II, pp. 925 ff.
  5. This paragraph of circular telegram 8, July 4, reads as follows: “Department continues to believe that MFM must consider Caribbean problem with reference to causes as well as present circumstances; that MFM should on one hand reaffirm nonintervention policy and validity of collective security system, possibly appointing special committee to assist in pacifying action; on other hand express interest American peoples in achieving greater representative democracy possibly directing COAS to prepare specific projects this theme for consideration Quito Conference.” (Department of State, Central Files, 713.00/7–459)
  6. Reference is to Meetings of the Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union at Geneva, May 11–August 5, 1959.