Economic Charter of the Americas: “Elimination of Excessive Economic Nationalism in All Its Forms”

In February 1945, the United States attended a hemispheric conference in Mexico to discuss the “fundamental economic aspiration of the peoples of the Americas” and “their natural right to live decently and work and exchange goods productively in peace and with security.”

This is known as the Economic Charter of the Americas

In preparation for this conference, the U.S. Department of State drafted a memo to the American Ambassador in Mexico, George S. Messersmith.

Washington, February 5, 1945 – 7pm:

Following is résumé of Department’s policy with respect to the economic portions of agenda:

Other American republics to join United States in reduction of barriers to free flow of trade and commerce. This will be embodied in an economic charter for the Americas covering the following points:

1. Fullest collaboration in accordance with the principles of the Atlantic Charter to secure for all improved labor standards, economic advancement, and social security.

2. Joint action to create conditions which will encourage an economy of abundance, expanded domestic and foreign trade and consumption, and thus, through maximum productive employment, permit peoples everywhere to be healthy, adequately clothed, housed, and fed, and to enjoy the rewards of their labor in dignity and freedom.

3. Elimination of existing forms of discrimination and prevention of new forms, and enjoyment of equal access to trade and raw materials.

4. Reduction of trade barriers and stabilization of currencies.

5. Elimination of excessive economic nationalism in all its forms.

6. Just treatment for enterprise, skill, and capital brought from one country to another.

7. Early action to bring into operation the International Monetary Fund, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and food and agriculture organization of the United Nations.

8. Adherence to system of private enterprise.

9. Prevention of cartels and combinations which restrict international trade or access to markets but with provision for necessary commodity agreements.

10. Recognition of rights of labor.

I think points 5 and 8 are key to understanding the Economic Charter of the Americas. In short, the U.S. wants to make sure that Latin America continues to fulfill its service function without “excessive economic nationalism” that would encroach on U.S. interests.

Thanks for reading,


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