Pan-American Conference

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1906 Pan-American Conference, Rio de Janeiro

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 and would risk 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" was coined.[2] 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 International Conference of American States in Washington D.C. 1889-90.[3]

List of Pan-American Conferences[edit]

International summits have been held in the following cities:

International Conferences of American States[edit]

Dates / Year[4] City Country Notes
October 2, 1889 – April 1890 Washington D.C.  United States See First International Conference of American States
October 22, 1901 – January 31, 1902 México  Mexico
July 21 – August 26, 1906 Rio de Janeiro  Brazil
July 12 – August 30, 1910 Buenos Aires  Argentina
March 25 – May 3, 1923 Santiago de Chile  Chile Pan-American Treaty
January 16 – February 20, 1928 Havana  Cuba
  • Convention on Private International Law (February 20, 1928)[5]
  • 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)[6]
  • Convention regarding Diplomatic Officers (February 20, 1928)
  • Established the Inter-American Commission of Women[7]
December 3–26, 1933 Montevideo  Uruguay
December 3-26, 1936 Buenos Aires  Argentina
  • Special Conference for the Maintenance of Peace[9]
December 9–27, 1938 Lima  Peru
  • 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 Lázaro Cárdenas to put forward a non-intervention policy in the Americas in order to prevent involvement by the United States military.[10]
  • Permanently established the Inter-American Commission of Women[7]
January 15–28, 1942 Rio de Janeiro  Brazil The meeting was organized in the wake of US entry into World War II as well as the United States' intention to use the occasion to offer additional economic assistance to Latin America countries, in return for security cooperation and the severing of diplomatic ties with the Axis powers.[11][12]
February 21–8 March 1945 Chapultepec, Mexico  Mexico The goals of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace were to establish the status of Argentina, relate regional security to the United Nations, and consider postwar American economic aid. Argentina would be readmitted if it declared war on Germany. The issue of American aid was postponed. the conference adopted a formal resolution called the Act of Chapultepec which proclaimed the principle of collective self-defense through regional pacts. This policy was adopted by the United Nations and article 51 of the UN charter.[13]
March 30 – May 2, 1948 Bogota  Colombia Led by Alberto Lleras Camargo and General George C. Marshall, created the Organization of American States[14]
March 1–28, 1954 Caracas  Venezuela US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles attempted to convince the delegates that Jacobo Árbenz's Guatemala represented a communist threat to the Western hemisphere. The US government was later successful in overthrowing the Guatemalan government by secretly instigating a military coup d'état.[15]
1967 Buenos Aires  Argentina
1985 Cartagena  Colombia
December 1994 Miami  United States
1996 Santa Cruz de la Sierra  Bolivia
1998 Santiago  Chile
2001 Québec City  Canada

Special conferences on peace and security[edit]

  • December 1–23, 1936: Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace (Buenos Aires)
  • February 21 – March 8, 1945: Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace (Mexico City)
  • August 15 – September 2, 1947: Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Continental Peace and Security (Rio de Janeiro)[12]

Meetings of foreign ministers[edit]

Previous conferences[edit]

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. The United States was permitted to send representatives, and President John Quincy Adams supported the initiative, but the United States Congress was slow to provide funding for the delegation and the U.S. representatives failed to attend the conference. Titled the Panama Congress, the countries agreed to unite, 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.[17] 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 in 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[edit]


  1. ^ Crapol, pp. 120–122; Calhoun, pp. 81–82.
  2. ^ Salisbury, Richard V. "Pan-Americanism". Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, v. 4, 274-75
  3. ^ Atkins, G. Pope. "Washington Conference (1889)". Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, v. 4, 273-74
  4. ^ "Records of International Conferences, Commissions, and Expositions". 15 August 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  5. ^ "Convention On Private International Law (Bustamante Code)". Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  6. ^ "Convention on Maritime Neutrality, Havana, 20 February 1928". Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  7. ^ a b "Universal Declaration of Rights Part A" (PDF). biblio-archive.unog. New York: United Nations. 29 February 1948. p. 59. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  8. ^ Wilson, Larman C. "Montevideo Conference (1933)". Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, v. 4, 271.
  9. ^ Wilson, Larman C. "Buenos Aires Conference (1936)". Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, v. 4, 270
  10. ^ Vanden, Harry E.; Provest, Gary. Politics of Latin America: The Power Game. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. pg. 309
  11. ^ Helleiner, 2014. Page 107.
  12. ^ a b "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.
  13. ^ G. Pope Atkins (1997). Encyclopedia of the Inter-American System. Greenwood. pp. 237–38. ISBN 9780313286001.
  14. ^ Delpar, Helen. "Bogotá, Conference (1948)". Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, v. 4, 269-70
  15. ^ Rabe, Stephen G. (1988). Eisenhower and Latin America: The Foreign Policy of Anticommunism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina press. pp. 49–53. ISBN 0807842044.
  16. ^ "Rio Conference (1942)". Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  17. ^ "Pan-Americanism and the Pan American Conferences" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-03-20.


External links[edit]