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

By J. Lloyd Mecham | Go to book overview

X The Organization of American States (1945-1948)

It may be said that in the political field our Organization has now reached full maturity. . . . It has the means for settling pacifically disputes arising between the member nations, and it can also repel extra-continental aggression, through joint action, with all the force of its solidarity.

ALBERTO LLERAS, 1949

T HE AMERICAN NATIONS had made it clear at Chapultepec, and underlined this decision at San Francisco, that they proposed to deal with purely American security questions through a stronger and more effective inter-American system. Thus, within two years the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance was negotiated at Rio de Janeiro, and shortly after, at Bogotá, additional improvements in the organizational set-up were effected. These developments were declared to be consonant with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, and so represented further integration of the inter-American system into the world organization. Thus the end of the war afforded the awaited opportunity to create, from the patchwork of temporary expedients, a more cohesive security system.

The Rio de Janeiro Conference. It had been decided at the Mexico City conference that one of the first of the postwar actions would be to draft a treaty incorporating the principles and procedures of the Act of Chapultepec, for this notable document, which provided for reciprocal assistance, was a temporary wartime agreement and would lapse at the conclusion of the war.

Obviously, the drafting of such a treaty had to await the decision of the San Francisco Conference respecting enforcement action by regional arrangements. The acceptance of Article 51, which recognized the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense, was understood to make the Act of Chapultepec consistent with the United Na

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