Pan-American Conference

The Conferences of American States, commonly referred to as the Pan-American Conferences, were meetings of the Pan-American Union, an international organization for cooperation on trade. James G. Blaine, a United States politician, Secretary of State and presidential contender, first proposed establishment of closer ties between the United States and its southern neighbors and proposed international conference.[1] Blaine hoped that ties between the United States and its southern counterparts would open Latin American markets to US trade.


On 2 December 1823, President James Monroe delivered the 'Monroe Doctrine' which would eventually influence Secretary of State James G. Blaine to push for the creation of the Pan-American Conferences. In this speech, President Monroe stated that any further attempts by the Europeans to colonize the Americas (North, Central and South) would be seen as an act of aggression that would include intervention by the United States. This doctrine was set in place in order to ensure that the colonies that were currently in place (and independent) would remain that way and to ensure that the Americas would be able to remain independent of each other and yet bond each other together at the same time. This unofficial union of the countries that comprised North, Central and South America would allow for relationships to slowly develop between the countries.

In an attempt to solidify the idea of the "Western Hemisphere", Secretary of State James. G. Blaine determined that if the United States were to be the country that put forward the idea of a Union of the Americas, the United States would hold the upper hand and would be able to guide the agenda as well as carry heavy weight in major decision-makings. Another reason for this union was for the United States to be financially benefited from the other countries – this is an aspect that the other countries soon realized, and through the conferences, attempted to prevent this from occurring.

However, when President Garfield was assassinated, Blaine was removed from his post and the process for creating the Pan-American Conference was slowed down. Eventually, through the lobbying of Congress, Blaine was able to schedule the first Pan- American Conference in January 1889.


First used in the New York Evening Post in 1888, the term "Pan-Americanism" rose. Pan-Americanism refers to the movement toward commercial, social, economic, military, and political cooperation among the nations of North, Central, and South America. The term was largely used the following year at the first Pan-American Conference in Washington D.C.[2]

List of Pan-American Conferences

International summits have been held in the following cities:

International Conferences of American States

Dates / Year [3] City Notes
October 2, 1889 – April 1890 Washington See First International Conference of American States
October 22, 1901 – January 31, 1902 Mexico City (2nd)
July 21 – August 26, 1906 Rio de Janeiro (3rd)
July 12 – August 30, 1910 Buenos Aires (4th)
March 25 – May 3, 1923 Santiago (5th) Treaty to avoid or prevent Conflicts between the American States (May 3, 1923)
January 16 – February 20, 1928 Havana (6th)
  • Convention on Private International Law (February 20, 1928)[4]
  • Convention regarding the Status of Aliens in the respective Territories of the Contracting Parties (February 20, 1928)
  • Convention concerning the Duties and Rights of States in the event of Civil Strife (February 20, 1928)
  • Convention on Maritime Neutrality (February 20, 1928)[5]
  • Convention regarding Diplomatic Officers (February 20, 1928)
  • Established the Inter-American Commission of Women[6]
December 3–26, 1933 Montevideo (7th)
December 9–27, 1938 Lima (8th)
  • Due to the precursor events of World War II and the prospect of fighting a two front war, the United States was attempting to ensure its security through gaining support and defense in Latin America. This caused Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas to put forward a non-intervention policy in the Americas in order to prevent involvement by the United States military.[7]
  • Permanently established the Inter-American Commission of Women[6]
January 15-28, 1942 Rio de Janeiro (9th) The meeting was organized in the wake of US intro into WWII, and the USA intention to use the occasion to offer additional economic assistance to Latin America countries, in return for security cooperation and the severing diplomatic ties with Axis powers.[8][9]
March 30 – May 2, 1948 Bogota (10th) Led by Alberto Lleras Camargo and General George C. Marshall, created the Organization of American States
March 1–28, 1954 Caracas (11th) The US secretary of State John Foster Dulles invoked the Monroe Doctrine and lobbied Eisenhower Cold War politic on behalf of the American United Fruit Company to instigate a military coup by the Guatemalan army through the CIA under the pretext that Jacobo Árbenz's government and the Guatemalan Revolution were veering toward communism supported by the Soviet Union. [10][11]
February 1960 Quito (12th)
1967 Buenos Aires
1985 Cartagena de Indias
December 1994 Miami
1996 Santa Cruz de la Sierra
1998 Santiago
2001 Québec City

Special Conferences on Peace and Security

Meetings of Foreign Ministers

Previous Conferences

Pan-American Conferences trace their origins back to earlier Pan-American summits.The four Latin American Conferences took place prior to the Pan-American Conferences but were highly influential in the campaign to create the Pan-American Union. They are as follows:

Congress of Panama on June 22, 1826 in Panama City Initiated by general Simon Bolivar (a Venezuelan political and military leader), the first Latin American Conference took place in Panama. Bolivar wanted to unite all of Latin America together in order to prevent invasion by the United States as well as other major powers at that time. However, the United States was permitted to send representatives – however, neither of them made it to Panama. Titled the Panama Congress, the countries agreed to unite together, convene with each other on a regular basis and provide financial and military backing to the treaty.

The Second Latin American Conference, December 1847 – March 1, 1848 in Lima, Peru The Latin American Conference in Lima, Peru was in response to two threats: the fear of Spanish designs upon South America’s west coast and the U.S. incursion into Mexico.[2] Although the United States were in the middle of a war with Mexico at the time of the conference, the United States was permitted to send a representative to serve as a symbol of unity to the forces present outside of the Americas (mainly Europe).

The Third Latin American Conference in September 1856 in Santiago Although this conference only consisted of two meetings, it was called due to the worry that the Latin Americans had towards the United States regarding their want of more territory and this time the United States was not invited. There was an attempt at signing a Continental Treaty but it fell through due to disagreements between the delegates.

The fourth Latin American Conference on November 1864 in Lima, Peru Failed in its attempts to make any agreements regarding the intervention that had taken place by mostly European powers. At this time, there had been an increased amount of interaction between Latin America and the United States through the actions that the European powers took regarding the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Chincha Islands.

See also


  1. Crapol, pp. 120–122; Calhoun, pp. 81–82.
  2. 1 2
  3. "Records of International Conferences, Commissions, and Expositions". Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  4. "Convention On Private International Law (Bustamante Code)". Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  5. "Convention on Maritime Neutrality, Havana, 20 February 1928". Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  6. 1 2 3 "Universal Declaration of Rights Part A" (PDF). biblio-archive.unog. New York: United Nations. 29 February 1948. p. 59. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  7. Vanden, 2006 pg. 309
  8. Helleiner, 2014. Page 107.
  9. 1 2 "Avalon Project - A Decade of American Foreign Policy 1941-1949 - Havana Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, July 21-30,1940". Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  10. Cohen, Rich (2012). The Fish that Ate the Whale. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. p. 186.
  11. Ayala, Cesar J (1999). American Sugar Kingdom. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.


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