The Organization of American States

The Organization of American States

The Organization of American States

The Organization of American States

Excerpt

It has been facetiously said that the Organization of American States can never be accused of subscribing to a "do or die" philosophy, for it seldom does yet it refuses to die. The authors of this study, while not in complete accord with this theory, are nevertheless well aware of the fact that survival of the Organization of American States in this tumultuous century depends to a considerable extent on its capacity to adapt itself to the important developments taking place in the relations among the nations of the Western Hemisphere.

Many of the problems now faced by the inter-American community are new; others have been with us for a long time. The solution of both old and new problems must take into account the interests not only of one country or one group of countries but of the whole inter-American community. The members of the OAS have devised effective weapons with which to tackle impediments standing in the way of hemispheric peace and well-being, but of late the organization instead of settling hemispheric problems has tended to make settlements more difficult. Until the members of the OAS accept both the need for making its broad and sometimes vague goals more explicit and the responsibility for backing them by a more purposeful program of action, the nations of the Western Hemisphere are failing to employ the instruments of the organization with maximum effectiveness to achieve desirable ends.

For the reader increasingly concerned with inter-American relations and the search for inter-American co-operation, this book attempts to chronicle the rise of the OAS and to offer a rounded survey of its legal forces and developments. The authors feel that today the Organization of American States is becoming more and more mechanical, and unless it reverses this trend, instead of developing a more secure and fruitful basis of international association it will continue its present process of stagnation and decay. It is therefore earnestly hoped that this study will be of aid to those who are seeking to revitalize the role played by the OAS in hemispheric affairs. The authors have attempted in this juridical-political study of the organization to provide a pragmatic basis for judgment on the value of the OAS to the Western Hemisphere, on the limitations on what can be expected from the organization under existing conditions, and on the kind of co-operation that each American state must be prepared to give to make it function effectively.

With the idea of bringing the investigation as nearly up to date as was practicable, we have tried to deal with relevant developments through February, 1963. We are indebted to a number of law journals for the opportunities which they have granted us to develop the views expressed in these pages and for having granted permission for the reappearance in this volume of materials based on studies originally prepared for them. The chapter on collective security appeared in Volume XIII of the Southwestern Law Journal; that on the province of the inter-American conference in Volume VI of the St. Louis University Law Journal; and that on democracy in Volume XLVI of the Minnesota Law Journal.

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