On the day our plenipotentiaries exchange their full powers, an immortal date will be inscribed in American diplomatic history. When, a hundred centuries hence, posterity explores the origin of our public law and recalls the pacts that consolidated its destiny, it will record with respect the Isthmian protocols. In them, it will find the plan for the first alliances which project the course of our relations with the rest of the world. -- Simón Bolívar, 1824.
BOLÍVAR wrote these prophetic words more than a century ago, when he invited the American Governments to take part in the Congress of Panama. The Liberator, like all geniuses, was ahead of his time. The nations of the New World were not ready to put Bolívar's noble vision into practice. The farsighted provisions of the Treaty of Perpetual Union, League and Confederation signed at Panama in 1826 remained only phrases on paper.
The tradition of inter-American consultation was renewed in 1889, and was subsequently buttressed by the decision to hold conferences periodically. The first timid endeavors of those conferences fell far short of the provisions of the Treaty of Panama, which had been designed to strengthen continental solidarity and to assure the total defense of America. Little by little, however, the republics of the hemisphere began to march firmly along the path pointed out by Bolívar and by President Monroe, who, in his time, had traced it clearly, even though from the start his ideas were marred by being expressed in terms of unilateralism and later on were distorted.
Nevertheless, it was not until last February, when the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace met in Mexico City, that continental instruments were devised to carry Bolivar's program into effect. When they have been fully developed, they will convert the inter-American system into a real association of nations, surpassing in many respects the most ambitious dreams of the Liberator. This association should constitute an effective guarantee of peace and cordiality among the
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