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. 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.
List of Pan-American Conferences
International summits have been held in the following cities:
|Dates / Year ||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)||
|December 3–26, 1933||Montevideo (7th)||
|December 9–27, 1938||Lima (8th)|
|March 30 – May 2, 1948||Bogota (9th)||Led by General George C. Marshall, created the Organization of American States|
|March 1–28, 1954||Caracas (10th)|
|February 1960||Quito (11th)|
|1985||Cartagena de Indias|
|1996||Santa Cruz de la Sierra|
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 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. 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 on 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.
- Crapol, pp. 120–122; Calhoun, pp. 81–82.
- http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/043.html (United States National Archives [only for the first ten conferences])
- Convention on Private International Law (Bustamante Code)
- Convention on Maritime Neutrality
- Vanden, H.E., Prevost, G. (2006)Politics of Latin America: The Power Game (2nd Edition) pg. 309