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Rio Conference (1942)

Rio Conference (1942)

The Third Meeting of Consultation of Latin American Ministers of Foreign Affairs (the Rio Conference of 1942) took place in Rio de Janeiro on 15-28 January 1942, in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. After that attack the United States called for an "emergency consultation" to determine the response of the Pan-American nations to the state of war and the Axis threat to the Western Hemisphere.

The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala had declared war on the Axis powers prior to this conference, and Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela had severed diplomatic relations. As a result of the conference, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay severed diplomatic relations with the Axis powers, and Mexico declared war, in June 1942. Although they agreed to the conference's joint resolutions of cooperation regarding the common defense of the Western Hemisphere, Argentina and Chile did not sever relations until 1943 and 1945, respectively.

Another purpose of this conference was to make plans for the role of Latin American countries as noncombatants allied with the United States. Conference resolutions included calls for the end of economic, financial, and diplomatic relations with the Axis powers; the establishment of an international fund to stabilize currencies; the organization of coordinated censorship; and a unified effort to purge the Western Hemisphere of Axis spies and saboteurs. In addition, representatives from the twenty-one republics were to meet in Washington, D.C., to plan unified defense measures. An Inter-American Defense Board was created to handle defensive measures, and an Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense, to organize activities to prevent subversion. The conference also settled a conflict between Peru and Ecuador and endorsed Franklin D. Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy.

The United States simultaneously negotiated a series of treaties with various Latin American countries to resupply necessary commodities that were scarce as a result of the interruption of trade. In exchange, the Latin American countries agreed to allow the United States to use strategic sites for naval and air bases, and to sell the United States raw materials totaling more than $25 billion for the defense effort.

See alsoWorld War II .


Leonard, Thomas, and John F. Bratzel. Latin America during World War II. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Sheinin, David. Beyond the Ideal: Pan Americanism in Inter-American Affairs. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2000.

Vázquez García, Humberto. De Chapultepec a la OEA: Apogeo y crisis del panamericanismo. La Habana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2001.

                                                Lesley R. Luster

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