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CHAPTER ONE

Preparation
and Conduct
of the Conference

Background

N February March 1945, shortly before the termination of the war in

Europe, the American Republics met in the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace at Mexico City and agreed to expand their system of collective self-defense to cover attacks by any American state on another, as well as attacks by a non-American state on this continent. They accordingly adopted a declaration known as the Act of Chapultepec, in which the governments declared:

“That every attack of a state against the integrity or the inviolability of the territory, or against the sovereignty or political independence of an American state, shall ... be considered as an act of aggression against the other states which sign this act. ...

“That in case acts of aggression occur or there are reasons to believe that an aggression is being prepared by any other state against the integrity or inviolability of the territory, or against the sovereignty or political independence of an American state, the states signatory to this act will consult among themselves in order to agree upon the measures it may be advisable to take."

* Appendix three, part 4, p. 219.

1

The act then listed measures which might be agreed upon at the consultations referred to above, indicating that the American Republics anticipated the use of military force, if necessary, to put an end to aggression. Inasmuch as the conclusion of an agreement involving the possible use of military force, except for the duration of the war, was considered to exceed the authority of the executive branches of at least some of the governments represented at the Conference, and since the Act of Chapultepec was not designed for ratification by legislative bodies of the respective countries, the act also recommended in part II that the signatory countries consider the conclusion of a treaty which would give permanent form and validity to the principles stated in the act. It was further indicated that the act should be made consistent with any general international organization when established, having in mind that the San Francisco Conference for the establishment of the United Nations was to be held shortly thereafter.

It was subsequently agreed among the American Republics that a special inter-American conference should be convoked to conclude the treaty referred to and that it should be held in Brazil at a date to be determined by the Brazilian Government. Subsequent developments with respect to Argentina made it undesirable to hold the Conference as early as had been originally anticipated. However, in June 1947 the Brazilian Government announced after consultation with other governments that the Conference would be convoked at Quitandinha near Petropolis, State of Rio de Janeiro, on August 15, 1947.

Preparations

This Conference was almost unique in the nature and extent of the advance consultation and preparation which had been undertaken by the American Republics on a multilateral basis. In view of the fact that it had been originally planned for an earlier date, ample opportunity had been afforded for such preparations both in procedural and substantive aspects of the work of the Conference. With respect to procedural matters, the regulations had been approved by the Governing Board of the Pan American Union on September 13, 1945.7 Pursuant to a previous suggestion by the Brazilian Government, the Governing Board of the Pan American Union had agreed on the same date that the agenda of the Conference should consist of “the preparation of an inter-American treaty of reciprocal assistance to give permanent form to the principles embodied in the Act of Chapultepec.”

* Appendix three, part 2, p. 157.

Regarding the substantive work of the Conference, drafts of the treaty had been previously submitted to the other republics by the Governments of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, the United States, and Uruguay. Pursuant to a resolution of the Governing Board of the Pan American Union of April 10, 1946, a special committee of the Board made an intensive, analytical comparison of these projects, which was then sent to all the Governments and which proved extremely valuable, both in assisting the governments to a clearer understanding of the issues and in providing a frame of reference in orienting the work of the Conference.

In addition, in accordance with a resolution of the Governing Board of June 27, 1947, consultations were undertaken among the governments on certain principal points to be included in the treaty.? These consultations revealed a high degree of unanimity on the topics discussed, and the Conference was able to take them as points of departure for its work.

The original proposals submitted by the United States to the other governments on December 31, 1945, had been prepared by the Department of State in consultation with the other interested agencies of the Government. These proposals were reviewed in advance of the Conference, and certain changes and additions agreed upon which were formally submitted to the Conference by the United States delegation as supplemental to its original proposals.

Participation

When the Conference was originally planned, invitations had been extended by the Brazilian Government to all the American Republics. However, at the time of its actual convocation, due to a series of internal developments with respect to Nicaragua, the Brazilian Government submitted to the Governing Board of the Pan American Union the question of whether an invitation should be issued to that country. On July 28, 1947, it was decided by the representatives of the American Republics on the Governing Board by a vote of 14 to 5 with 2 abstentions that no invitation should be extended to Nicaragua.

Consequently, the governments of 20 of the American Republics were officially represented at the Conference. More than 250 delegates, advisers, and assistants participated, and the delegations of

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