Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 24, 1942
Dept. of State Bulletin, Jan. 24, 1942.
At a time of the greatest crisis which has ever confronted the American republics the American Foreign Ministers have been meeting here in this great Capital of Brazil during the past 10 days. As you all know the purpose of the meeting has been to determine what steps should be taken for the common defense and for the safeguarding of the best interests of the peoples of the 21 nations.
The closing session of our meeting will take place on Monday next. I can now say, however, without a shadow of a doubt that every one of my associates will agree with me when I state that we have met with the utmost measure of success in attaining the objectives which we sought. As our great chairman, Oswaldo Aranha, the Foreign Minister of Brazil, has said, "This is a meeting of deeds and not of words."
Yesterday the governments of the 21 American republics officially and unanimously proclaimed that they jointly recommended the severance of diplomatic relations between all of the American republics and the Governments of Japan, Germany, and Italy because of the aggression committed by a member of the Tripartite Pact against one of the American family of nations, namely, The United States. This means that the diplomatic and consular agents of the Axis powers within the American republics will no longer be able to use territory within the Western Hemisphere as their basis of activities against us and our allies.
For the first time in the history of our hemisphere joint action of the highest political character has been taken by all of the American nations acting together without dissent and without reservation.
It is true that we have not all seen eye to eye as to the exact details of the agreement which has been reached, but the objectives which all of us had in mind have been completely attained and, what is everlastingly important, the complete unity and solidarity of the 21 American republics has been preserved.
The economic resolutions of the meeting have reached a degree of importance and immediacy not attained by those of earlier conferences. Most significant, of course, is the resolution calling for the immediate breaking off of all commercial and financial intercourse direct or indirect with the Axis Nations and the suspension of any other commercial and financial activities prejudicial to the welfare and security of the American republics. In accordance with this resolution not only will all direct economic relations with the Axis be terminated but Axis nationals and other persons inimical to the Americas will not be permitted through control of corporations and other enterprises or by means of the profits arising out of business activity with or within the American republics, to enter into any activities subversive to the welfare and defense of the continent.
The resolution also provides for the control, supervision, reorganization, or seizure of such enterprises in order that they may be operated under government auspices or otherwise in the interests of the economy of the particular American republic involved. Measures are also to be taken to alleviate any injuries to the economies of the American republics which may arise out of the application of these measures of restriction and control.
The meeting has also adopted other measures of great significance to our war and defense effort. Among these is a strong resolution calling for the most complete cooperation of all the nations of the hemisphere in increasing by all possible means the production of the strategic materials essential for the conduct of the war and the defense of our country and recommending mechanisms and measures for attaining this objective. Recognizing that the production of materials is of little avail unless adequate transportation is provided, the meeting has also recommended the most rapid development of essential means of transportation, with particular emphasis on the closest coordination of shipping services in order to give preference to the speedy delivery of those strategic materials without which war cannot be waged, adequate defenses prepared, and the economies of our nations maintained. In accordance with this resolution the Axis merchant vessels immobilized in ports of the hemisphere which have already been acquired by the governments of the respective nations will now be placed immediately into efficient and closely coordinated service along with the merchant fleets of all of the American nations. To this end the maritime authorities of all the republics will work closely together in scheduling and routing the vessels under their control.
In preparing these measures of economic solidarity looking towards the defense of the continent and resistance against the aggressor nations the meeting has not overlooked the necessity of assuring full consideration by the exporting nations of the minimum import requirements of commodities essential to the maintenance of the economic life of all of them. In accordance with this resolution appropriate mechanisms will be set up in each country to present accurate statements of the import requirements of each, export quotas will be determined wherever possible and in a measure consistent with exigencies of war and defense, and mechanisms for equitable distribution will be established in the importing countries. All of these measures will tie in closely with the priority and allocation procedures already established in the United States, and on its part the United States has already announced that it would give to the civilian needs of the other American republics consideration equal and proportionate to that given to its own civilian needs.
In connection with these problems of supply of commodities essential to the maintenance of economic activity the meeting has also considered questions of fair and equitable prices both for imported and exported products. In this field it has recommended that undue price increase be avoided; that domestic price ceilings be extended to cover exports with due regard to the additional costs involved in exporting; that importing countries prevent any runaway price increases in scarce imported commodities; and that every effort be made to insure a fair relationship between the prices of exports and imports, of agricultural and mineral raw materials and manufactured products.
In addition to the financial and economic measures of control to which I have just referred, the foreign ministers of the American republics have reached unanimous agreement on a number of other practical measures for assuring the security of the hemisphere.
All subversive activities directed by the Axis Powers or states subservient to them are brought under rigid control; telecommunications-whether by telephone, telegraph, or radio-are likewise brought under strict control in order that they may not be used by or for the benefit of the aggressor nations; nationals or companies of the Axis Powers are prevented from operating civilian or commercial aircraft; and procedures have been established for coordinating the activities of all the American republics in all matters relating to their national security.
As all of the delegates of the 21 governments leave the closing session of our meeting Monday I think we will all of us leave with the conviction deep in our hearts that there exists today a more practical, a more solid, and a more real Pan Americanism than has ever existed in the history of the world.