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Letter Suggesting an Inter-American Conference to Advance American and World Peace.

January 30, 1936

My dear Mr. President:

The agreement by the Governments of Bolivia and Paraguay upon the peace protocols recently negotiated at Buenos Aires has afforded the Government and people of the United States the deepest gratification, since it has led them to hope that there is now every prospect of a permanent and equitable solution of this tragic controversy, which has continued for so long a period; which has caused the sacrifice of so many lives; and which has placed so crushing a burden of expenditure upon the citizens of the two belligerent Nations. I know well with what intimate concern the Government and people of Argentina have followed the course of these hostilities, and their happiness at the termination of the conflict is fully shared by the Government and people of the United States.

I cherish the sincere conviction that the moment has now arrived when the American Republics, through their designated representatives seated at a common council table, should seize this altogether favorable opportunity to consider their joint responsibility and their common need of rendering less likely in the future the outbreak or the continuation of hostilities between them, and by so doing, serve in an eminently practical manner the cause of permanent peace on this Western Continent. If the tragedy of the Chaco can be considered as having served any useful end, I believe such end will lie in our joint willingness to profit from the experience learned and to exert our common endeavors in guarding against the repetition of such American disasters.

It has seemed to me that the American Governments might for these reasons view favorably the suggestion that an extraordinary inter-American conference be summoned to assemble at an early date, at Buenos Aires, should the Government of the Argentine Republic so desire, or, if not, at some other capital of this Continent, to determine how the maintenance of peace among the American Republics may best be safeguarded-whether, perhaps, through the prompt ratification of all of the inter-American peace instruments already negotiated; whether through the amendment of existing peace instruments in such manner as experience has demonstrated to be most necessary; or perhaps through the creation by common accord of new instruments of peace additional to those already formulated.

These steps, furthermore, would advance the cause of world peace, inasmuch as the agreements which might be reached would supplement and reinforce the efforts of the League of Nations and of all other existing or future peace agencies in seeking to prevent war.

With the conclusion of the Chaco War and with the reestablishment of peace throughout this Continent, there would appear to be offered an opportunity for helpful counsel among our respective Governments which may not soon again be presented. Your Excellency's devotion to the maintenance of peace among the American Republics is well known, and I would therefore deeply appreciate such views as Your Excellency may care to express to me, as I would likewise value highly Your Excellency's opinion whether such a special inter-American conference of the American Republics would not in fact prove most beneficial.

I am addressing myself thus personally to Your Excellency, instead of through the usual diplomatic channels, because of my thought that the questions at issue are of such vital concern to the people of this Continent as to warrant a personal interchange of views between the Presidents of the American Republics.

With the expression of my warm regard, believe me, my dear Mr. President,

Faithfully yours,

His Excellency Agustin P. Justo,

President of the Argentine Republic.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter Suggesting an Inter-American Conference to Advance American and World Peace. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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