Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Chapultepec Conference (21 February–8 March 1945)

Conference convened in 1945 to foster hemispheric cooperation and security. The meeting, held under its full title—the Inter-American Conference on War and Peace—assembled at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City during 21 February–8 March 1945. It was there that the framework for a regional security system in the Americas was formally laid out.

Latin American nations, together with the United States, adopted the Act of Chapultepec; the signatories agreed to a full inter-American consultative process. They also pledged to band together in the application of collective measures, including armed force, in cases of threats or acts of aggression against any American state.

A month later, at the United Nations Conference held in San Francisco in April 1945, the Latin American countries ratified their Chapultepec commitments. Three years later, the Organization of American States (OAS) was formally founded, a direct consequence of the Chapultepec Conference. Together with the Rio and Bogotá Treaties, the OAS and the Chapultepec Conference resolutions formed the foundations of inter-American military and political cooperation during the Cold War.

The Chapultepec Conference also addressed the postwar economic future of the Americas. This subject was controversial, because the United States called for an Economic Charter of the Americas that was opposed by Latin American states anxious to promote industrialization, income redistribution, and increased standards of living.

The clash between Latin American developmentalism and U.S. economic orthodoxy was not resolved at Chapultepec. Indeed, the conference disillusioned the leaders of the Latin American states, who had expected that their efforts supporting the Allied cause in World War II would have resulted in more tangible rewards, including a focusing of U.S. energies on the Americas instead of on Europe.

Barry Carr


Further Reading
Connell-Smith, Gordon. The Inter-American System. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.; Grandid, Greg. The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.; Green, David. The Containment of Latin America: A History of the Myths and Realities of the Good Neighbor Policy. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1971.
 

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