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This Meeting, the second in a series inaugurated at Panamá in 1939 following the outbreak of the European war, was held in accordance with procedure established at the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace (Buenos Aires, 1936) and elaborated at the Eighth International Conference of American States (Lima, 1938), providing for consultations of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American republics or their representatives whenever a state of emergency shall exist or whenever the peace of the Western Hemisphere shall be threatened.

The First Consultative Meeting i held in Panamá, September 23-October 3, 1939, took cognizance of the possibility that the occasion might arise when an attempt might be made to transfer the sovereignty of a geographic region of the Americas now subject to the jurisdiction of a non-American state to another non-American state. The Panamá Meeting, deciding that such an attempt would constitute a danger to the security of the Americas, provided that there should be a consultation whenever such a possibility seemed imminent.

During the first half of 1940 the military defenses of Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium had collapsed. On June 17, 1940 the Government of France requested an armistice from Germany. This act was of special interest to the governments of the American republics in view of the fact that an attempt might be made to transfer the territory of the French colonial possessions in this hemisphere to another jurisdiction. It was apparent that circumstances had arisen which were envisaged in the resolution of the Panamá Meeting regarding the possible transfer of territory to another non-American state. It was clear, therefore, that there was an obligation on the part of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs to consult on this new possible threat to the security and peace of the Western Hemisphere. In accordance with a resolution adopted at the Panamá Meeting, Habana was selected as the seat for the consultation, and invitations were extended by the Secretary of State of Cuba to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the other American republics. Each of the 21 American republics was represented either by its Minister of Foreign Affairs or by his personal representative. The Director General of the Pan American Union also attended, assisted by members of his staff.

The agenda of the Meeting, which was formulated by the Governing Board of the Pan American Union, was as follows:

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Consideration of the rights and duties of the belligerents and of the American republics, including:

* See Conference Series 49.


(1) The examination of the pertinent recommendations of the Inter-American Neutrality Committee and of the steps which have been taken as a result thereof;

(2) The examination, in the light of present circumstances, of the standards of neutrality set forth in the third article of the "General Declaration of Neutrality of the American Republics", which was adopted at the Panamá Meeting on October 3, 1939;

(3) Exchange of information on activities which may develop within the territory and jurisdiction of any American republic that tend to endanger the common American democratic ideal;

(4) Consideration of the humanitarian activities which, in a coordinated manner, can be conducted by the governments of the American republics, the national Red Cross societies, and other entities created for the purpose, for the benefit of refugees, prisoners, and other victims of the war.

II. PROTECTION OF THE PEACE OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE Consideration of measures to be taken with a view to the preservation of the sovereignty and peace of the nations of the Western Hemisphere:

(1) The study, in accordance with Resolution XVI approved by the Meeting of Panamá on October 3, 1939, of the problems which may confront the American republics in case the sovereignty now exercised by non-American states over geographic regions of the Americas is relinquished, lapses, or is materially impaired ;

(2) The examination of the measures which have been or may be proposed in order to insure the attainment of the objectives set forth in the Joint Declaration of Continental Solidarity, the General Declaration of Neutrality, the Declaration of Panamá, and the consideration of the problems of contiDental security;

(3) The examination of the machinery of inter-American consultation created by the Buenos Aires and Lima Conferences, with a view to determining the steps which may be taken to increase its effectiveness.


(1) Consideration of the measures which have already been proposed by the Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee;

(2) Examination of additional measures the adoption of which may be desirable under present cir mstances or which it may be desired to refer to the Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee for immediate analysis and recommendation.

At a preliminary session the following committees of the Meeting were created and their members appointed: Credentials, Coordination, Neutrality, reservation of Peace in the Western Hemisphere, and Economic Cooperation. For the constitution of the latter three committees, the division in three parts of the agenda of the Meeting was taken into consideration.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs considered the projects of the Inter-American Neutrality Committee 2 and recommended that the respective governments give immediate consideration to them. The Inter-American Neutrality Committee was requested to draft two

2 For an account of the origin and functions of the Inter-American Neutrality Committee, see post, p. 64.

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conventions, one dealing with the juridical effects of the Security Zone and the measures of international cooperation which the American nations should adopt in order to obtain respect for the Zone, and the other covering all principles and rules generally recognized in international law in matters of neutrality. A resolution adopted by the Meeting requested the American governments to adopt all necessary measures to prevent and suppress any activities directed from abroad against domestic institutions. It was agreed that, in the event the peace of any of the American republics is menaced by such subversive activities, the respective governments shall immediately consult if the state directly interested wishes to request it. The Meeting, noting the recent practice of certain governments to attach officials to diplomatic and consular agencies who perform functions other than diplomatic or consular, adopted a resolution setting forth the underlying principles relating to the functions of such missions and urging the respective governments to take action to prevent political activities of foreign diplomatic and consular agents within the territory to which they are accredited that may endanger the people and democratic tradition of the Americas.

One of the most important matters considered at the Meeting related to the possible transfer or attempted transfer to another nonAmerican state of the sovereignty over possessions in the Western Hemisphere now controlled by European powers. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, after considering the dangers presented by this situation, unanimously agreed upon a convention and the Act of Habana. The convention provides that, if a non-American state shall directly or indirectly attempt to replace another non-American state in the sovereignty or control which it exercises over territory located in the Americas, such territory shall automatically come under the provisions of the convention and shall be submitted to a provisional administrative regime. Provision is made for the establishment of an Inter-American Commission for Territorial Administration, composed of a representative of each of the states ratifying the convention. The Commission is authorized to establish a provisional administration in the regions affected, to determine the number of states which shall exercise the administration, and to supervise the exercise thereof. Such territories or possessions as are the subject of dispute between the European powers and one or more of the American republics are excepted from the provisions of the convention. The convention shall enter into force when ratified by two thirds of the American republics.

The Act of Habana, which consists of a declaration and a resolution, is an emergency measure designed to give immediate effect to the main provisions of the convention regarding the setting up of

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a collective trusteeship over colonial possessions of non-American powers in case of their attempted transfer before ratification of the convention. The declaration states that, when regions now in the possession of non-American nations are in danger of becoming the subject of barter of territory or change of sovereignty, the American nations may set up a regime of provisional administration under the conditions (a) that, as soon as the reasons requiring this measure shall cease to exist and in the event that it would not be prejudicial to the safety of the American republics, such territories shall be organized as autonomous states or restored to their previous status, and (6) that the regions shall be placed temporarily under the provisional administration of the American republics. These provisions are both general and permanent in character. The resolution provides for the establishment of an Emergency Committee composed of one representative from each of the American republics, to function only until the convention on the provisional administration of European colonies and possessions in the Americas shall come into effect. This Committee is to be constituted as soon as two thirds of the American republics shall have appointed their members. The resolution also provides that, should the need for emergency action be so urgent that action by the Committee cannot be awaited, any of the American republics, individually or jointly with others, may act in the manner which its own defense or that of the continent requires. If action is taken as an emergency measure, the matter is to be placed before the Emergency Committee immediately in order that it may adopt appropriate measures.

The major result of the labors of the Committee on Economic Cooperation was a resolution on economic and financial cooperation which constitutes a broad statement of policy with respect to interAmerican economic cooperation and takes cognizance of the dislocations and disruptions of international commerce arising out of the European war and their repercussions in the Americas. The InterAmerican Financial and Economic Advisory Committee * was specifically instructed to proceed at once with the preparation of plans for the orderly marketing of surpluses; for the development, where feasible, of commodity production and marketing agreements and arrangements; for increasing consumption in the American republics which would aid in the disposal of surplus commodities; and for the promotion among the American nations of mutually beneficial trade. The Committee was also instructed to consider the possibility of a

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* The requisite number of governments having appointed their members, the Emergency Committee has been established. See post, p. 71.

*For an account of the origin and functions of the Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee, see post, p. 61.

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