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Inter-American Conferences:see Pan-AmericanismPan-Americanism,
movement toward commercial, social, economic, military, and political cooperation among the nations of North, Central, and South America. In the Nineteenth Century
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periodic conferences of the American republics, first convened in 1889. Prior to 1948 they were called International Conferences of American States, or Pan-American Conferences. The idea of convening such conferences was first proposed in 1826 at the Panama Congress of Latin American states. In the 1880’s the USA adopted this idea for the purpose of establishing its hegemony and defeating its European rivals in Latin America.
The First Conference (Oct. 2, 1889-Apr. 19, 1890, Washington) established the International Union of American Republics for the exchange of economic information and the permanent Commercial Bureau, affiliated with the alliance but actually under the secretary of state of the United States. At the Second Conference (Oct. 22, 1901-Jan. 31, 1902, Mexico City) the Commercial Bureau was renamed the International Bureau. The bureau was to be directed by a Governing Council formed in Washington and consisting of representatives of the American states headed by the US secretary of state. The Third Conference (July 23-Aug. 27, 1906, Rio de Janeiro), called in response to the Venezuela crisis of 1902-03, resolved to raise the question of the inadmissibility of the use of force to collect foreign debts at the Second International Hague Conference. At the Fourth Conference (July 12-Aug. 30, 1910, Buenos Aires) the USA’s attempt to compel the American states to adhere to the Monroe Doctrine was rejected by a majority of the delegates. At this conference the International Bureau of the American republics was transformed into the Pan-American Union.
At the Fifth Conference (Mar. 25-May 3, 1923, Santiago) a treaty on the prevention of conflicts between American states was signed. Providing for the creation of an inter-American regional system of arbitration, the treaty represented the USA’s efforts to establish a counterweight to the League of Nations, which was considered to be the instrument of British policies in the Americas. The Sixth Conference (Jan. 16-Feb. 20, 1928, Havana) adopted a convention on the Responsibilities and Rights of States in the Event of Civil War and established the Pan-American Union as the permanent organ of the inter-American conferences. Growing Latin American opposition to the imperialist policies of the United States compelled the US government at the Seventh Conference (Dec. 3-26, 1933, Montevideo) to sign a treaty proposed by Argentina prohibiting aggression and intervention and to adhere to the Convention on the Rights and Responsibilities of States, calling for the nonintervention of one state in the internal or foreign affairs of another. The Eighth Conference (Dec. 9-27, 1938, Lima) adopted the Declaration of Lima, affirming the solidarity of the countries of the Americas against aggression.
During World War II (1939-45) the functions of the inter-American conferences were actually carried out by consultative meetings of the foreign ministers of the American republics and by special inter-American conferences. In February and March 1945 an Inter-American Conference on war and peace was convened in Mexico City, at which the United States achieved the adoption of the Chapultepec Declaration of 1945. At an inter-American conference on the maintenance of hemispheric peace and security (August 1947, Rio de Janeiro) the United States, in order to strengthen its influence in the western hemisphere, forced the Latin American countries to accept the Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance. At the Ninth Conference (Mar. 30-May 2, 1948, Bogota), the Organization of American States (OAS) was created to supersede the Pan-American Union. Under the charter of the OAS, its supreme organ was to be the Inter-American Conference, convened every five years.
The Tenth Conference (Mar. 1-28, 1954, Caracas) reflected the growing contradictions between the USA and the Latin American nations, which were increasingly resisting the expansion of American capital. The United States forced the participating countries to adopt a resolution calling for struggle against international Communism, which it subsequently used in intervening in the internal affairs of Latin American countries. The next meeting of the Inter-American Conference was repeatedly postponed owing to deepening contradictions between the United States and the Latin American nations after the victory of the Cuban revolution in 1959. At consultative meetings of foreign ministers the United States attempted to represent its aggressive actions against Cuba as the collective measures of all American states. Under US pressure Cuba was expelled from the OAS in January 1962 at the Punta del Este Conference. A consultative meeting of the OAS held in Washington in July 1964 called for repressive measures against Cuba.
The First Extraordinary Inter-American Conference (Dec. 16-18, 1964, Washington), which adopted the procedure for accepting new members into the OAS, was held in connection with the attainment of independence by several British colonies in the West Indies. The Second Extraordinary Inter-American Conference (Nov. 17-30, 1965, Rio de Janeiro) adopted a resolution to review the charter of the OAS and outlined the changes to be made. The Third Extraordinary Inter-American Conference (Feb. 15-27, 1967, Buenos Aires) adopted amendments to the OAS charter, which went into effect in February 1970. As a result of organizational changes, the annual General Assembly of representatives of the member states replaced the inter-American conferences as the highest organ of the OAS.
The inter-American conferences attest to the growing contradictions between the United States and the Latin American nations.
REFERENCESFoster, W. Z. Ocherkpoliticheskoi istorii Ameriki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from English.)
Antiasov, M. V. Sovremennyi panamerikanizm. Moscow, 1960.
Gvozdarev, B. I. Organizatsiia amerikanskikh gosudarstv. Moscow, 1960.
Gonionskii, S. A. Latinskaia Amerika i SShA 1939-1959: Ocherki istorii diplomaticheskikh otnoshenii. Moscow, 1960.
Organization of American States. Washington, D.C., 1972.
B. I. POKLAD