Calvo, Carlos (1822–1906)

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Calvo, Carlos (1822–1906)

Carlos Calvo (b. 26 February 1822; d. 3 May 1906), Argentine diplomat and jurist. Born in Montevideo and educated in Buenos Aires, Calvo lived in the tumultuous early years after independence in the Río de la Plata region. In 1859, the president of Paraguay, Carlos Antonio López, appointed him Paraguay's representative to mediate a conflict between Great Britain and Paraguay. His mission was a success. Thereafter he retired from public life to write. In 1868, he published a book that gave him international recognition, Derecho internacional teórico y práctico de Europa y América, which contained the essence of what has come to be known as the Calvo Doctrine.

He argued that America as well as Europe consisted of free and independent nations and that their sovereignty not be ignored. He declared that sovereign states enjoyed the right to freedom from intervention by other states. Moreover, foreigners were not entitled to rights not accorded to nationals. Thus, the essence of Calvo's ideas were nonintervention and the absolute equality of foreigners with nationals. According to Calvo, European interventions in Latin America were a violation of the equality of sovereign nations, and no nation had the right to employ force against another for the enforcement of contracts or agreements between its citizens and those of the other. Many Latin American countries have incorporated this clause into contracts with international corporations.

Calvo enjoyed a long diplomatic career. In 1878, he served as a delegate to the International Congress of Geography that met in Paris. He was minister plenipotentiary to the postal congress of Paris (1878) and Vienna (1891). In 1883 he became special envoy and minister plenipotentiary to Berlin and to the Russian and Austrian emperors in 1889 and 1890, respectively. In 1899, Calvo was appointed minister to France and the Holy See. He died in Paris.

See alsoCalvo Doctrine .


Percy Bordwell, "Calvo and the 'Calvo Doctrine,'" Green Bag 18 (July 1906): 377-382.

José Yves Limantour, Memoria sobre la vida y obra de D. Carlos Calvo (1909).

A. S. De Bustamante, "Carlos Calvo" in Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 3 (1930).

Additional Bibliography

Obregón, Liliana. "Completing Civilization: Nineteenth Century Criollo Interventions in International Law." Thesis, Harvard Law School, 2002.

Pérez Calvo, Eduardo Ricardo, and Lucio Ricardo Pérez Calvo. Vida y trabajos de Carlos Calvo. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Dunken, 1996.

                                 Juan Manuel PÉrez

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Calvo, Carlos (1822–1906)

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