The United States and Inter-American Security, 1889-1960

By J. Lloyd Mecham | Go to book overview

XI
Developments in Inter-American Solidarity (1949-1960)

A major aspiration of all the countries of the Hemisphere is to strengthen and to put to practical use the inter-American system.

GALO PLAZA, 1954

THE BOGOTÁ, CONFERENCE, with its record of qualified success, imposed largely by untoward circumstances, marked a turning point in the historical evolution of American regionalism. New forces and factors were destined to alter profoundly, during the ensuing decade, the bases and objectives of inter-American cooperation. The actual validity of declared principles of inter-American solidarity seemed to be called into question. Therefore, to establish a point of departure, it is in order to take stock of the continental-security arrangement at the half-century turn.

The inter-American security system at mid-century . In a lecture delivered at the Pan American Union on May 24, 1948, Alberto Lleras, secretary-general of the OAS, said: "The fact is that the Organization of American States is today, in spite of its shortcomings, the most perfect instrument of its kind that ever existed between sovereign nations. The Charter, in comparison with any analogous document of any era, is the most advanced that has been signed spontaneously, in complete unanimity, by the 21 state . . ."1 Dr. Lleras is a man not given to exaggerated rhetoric, and what he said was substantially correct, for the Charter of the OAS largely confirmed the legal existence of a de facto system that had been functioning and developing for fifty- eight years. The Charter, together with the Rio de Janeiro Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance and the Bogotá Inter-American Treaty of Pacific Settlement, completed the formal framework of an

____________________
1
The Bogotá Conference, Pan American Union, Bulletin, LXXXII ( June 1948), 302.

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