Volume #18 - 1040.|
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Ambassador in United States
September 13th, 1952|
POSSIBLE INVITATION TO CANADA TO ACCEPT OBSERVER STATUS AT 10TH INTER-AMERICAN CONFERENCE OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES TO BE HELD IN CARACAS, VENEZUELA IN 1953|
Attached is a State Department memorandum, copy of which was left with the American Division by Mr. J.H. Morgan, Counsellor of the United States Embassy in Ottawa, for informational purposes only. However, it poses a new and very interesting question as to whether Canada would attend the next meeting of the Organization of American States as an observer, and it gives the background of U.S. views at an official level on Canadian participation in the OAS.
2. You will observe this memorandum has been prepared for background use in connection with talks which either Mr. Matthews or Mr. Miller intends to have with you. Mr. Morgan was not advised by Washington whether these discussions had yet been held with you, but we thought you might like to have their departmental memorandum for early consideration.
3. In Mr. Morgan's informal talk with the American Division, he inquired as to what our views might be and he was told that we would give consideration to the problem and advise him shortly as to our reaction. He was told of Our past relations with the OAS and informed of the public statements made by the Prime Minister and Minister in 1949, bringing him up to date by a resume of our most recent statements of policy as set out in our secret letter of instructions to the Canadian Ambassador in Brazil, being,
a) that Canada is not prepared at present to, join the Organization of American States, but that we do take a certain part in the inter-american system of organizations and technical conferences,
b) that Canada is not seeking an invitation to join the OAS,
c) that for the time being we prefer not to receive an invitation,
d) that knowledge of the OAS or the Pan-American. Union is very limited in Canada and that there does not seem to be any pressing reason at the moment which would prompt us to change our attitude to the inter-american system,
e) that our economic, cultural and other mutual relations with the various Latin American republics had always been very good and that we expected they would improve constantly.
4. The reasons above are those put forward towards joining the OAS as a full-fledged member while the present query is whether we would attend as observers only - in this instance, but with the hope that this action might lead to membership later. This creates a new situation and one which should be assessed with considerable care. It is not impossible that the State Department is beginning to feel that the United States is getting into a position of being one against twenty and that the U.S. Government may even attempt to press us to join the OAS in order to counteract the growing anti-United States propaganda throughout Latin America.
5. Mr. Morgan was asked if the U.S. Ambassador in Canada or he were of the opinion that our entry into the OAS would, in their view, tend to have good or detrimental effects upon the direct friendly relations now existing between the U.S. and Canada. He appeared quite surprised at this approach, considered it a most interesting point and said he would talk further with Mr. Woodward on this subject. He was also told that we felt our participation in the United Nations, NATO and Commonwealth organizations were about all we could handle at the present time, and that even if we viewed this approach with favour we would find it extremely difficult to provide sufficient personnel to enter properly into the various bodies of the Organization of American States. This point, however, would not preclude our going to the 1953 Conference as an observer.
6. We would be most interested to learn from you whether you have recently been approached on this subject, and to have your views of the opinions expressed in the attached memorandum.
département d'État des États-Unis
Memorandum by American Republics Affairs Bureau,
OBSERVER STATUS AT TENTH INTER-AMERICAN CONFERENCE
As you requested, this memorandum, in which BNA (British Commonwealth and North European Division) has concurred, has been prepared for your background in connection with the discussion you indicated you would have with Ambassador Wrong. The immediate question is whether Canada would accept observer status at the Tenth Inter-American Conference to be held in Caracas in 1953, if an invitation should be extended. Dr. Lleras Camargo, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, is convinced that the action necessary to extend the invitation cannot be taken successfully unless there is good-reason to believe that it would be accepted.
The principal arguments for acceptance which might be addressed to the Canadian are: (1) that the gesture of good will would be well received by and would influence attitudes of the representatives of governments with which Canada is presumably anxious to develop increased economic relations, with which she must deal in the United Nations and other international organizations of which she and they are members, and whose continued cooperation in the development of the strength of the free world is indispensable, (2) that, without commitment as to eventual membership in the Organization of American States and its constituent organs, the observer status would offer Canada an opportunity to become fully acquainted with the nature and function of the Organization; (3) that from the purely intelligence point of view, the opportunity to acquire information regarding the activities and motivations of the governments of the twenty Latin American Republics should be valuable to Canada; and (4) that Canadians have participated in Inter-American meetings, such as the recent Consultation on Geography, with what may be assumed to be mutually beneficial results.
The chief Canadian objection is likely to be that acceptance of observer status would be regarded as a first step toward eventual membership in the OAS, a role which they do not seem to wish to assume. Their antipathy toward such membership appears to stem from (1) a somewhat personalized psychological disinclination to be associated with Latin Americans, many of whom they do not respect and frequently distrust; (2) concern lest membership in the OAS might somehow be interpreted as a weakening of bonds with the members of the British Commonwealth and their NATO relationships; (3) opposition to contributing to the costs of an additional international organization; (4) unwillingness to run the risk of becoming involved through the operations of the OAS peace and security machinery in disputes among American Republics; (5) concern lest they be placed in an awkward position in relation to the long standing controversies between the UK and certain of the Latin American countries over territorial matters.
For your own information, some of the principal advantages to the United States of Canadian membership in the OAS seem to be: (1) that this would tend to ameliorate somewhat the unique position of the United States as the only English-speaking member; (2) that another country with a high degree of both the theory and practice of representative government would be a valuable contributor to the liberal principles which are the declared aim of Latin American countries, but which are so often contradicted by them. in practice; (3) Canada's membership would remove one of the difficulties in the way of extending the practice of having inter-American specialized organizations serve as the regional units of United Nations organizations; (4) Canadian officials and experts in specialized fields could make valuable contributions to the solution of American problems; (5) it would help to round out whatever geographical basis there is to the hemisphere as an international region, (6) Canada's weight would be helpful in efforts to preserve inter-American peace. (It is doubtful, however, that, so long as the basic concept of the North Atlantic Treaty is maintained, Canada's participation in the Rio Treaty would offer any striking gain to security from outside the hemisphere.)