Sharing Responsibility

With our great material and technical resources we have often been tempted to do for others what we thought was best for them. But the modernization process takes hold only when other countries have the incentive to commit their talents fully for purposes they consider their own. In the past two years we have moved from a predominant role to shared responsibility by helping to reshape interAmerican institutions and by modifying our participation in them.

A milestone was the gathering of twenty-two Latin American governments in Viña del Mar, Chile, in May 1969 to formulate and pool their ideas on development and particularly how the U.S. might help. Their proposals -the Consensus of Viña del Mar- were then presented to me. Together with the Rockefeller Report and our own studies, they formed the essential ingredients of our policy review in the National Security Council.

Thus the measures we announced in October 1969 responded to their ideas and their concerns as well as to our own interests.

We then negotiated the details of many of the proposals in meetings of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (IA-ECOSOC), the principal forum of the Organization of American States for development and trade. It was a new experience and a difficult adjustment. We deliberately concentrated on eliciting their contributions rather than taking most of the initiatives ourselves. Together we reached agreement on steps to improve development assistance, increase the transfer of technology and expand trade. The results were more meaningful because they were jointly formulated.

In 1970, for the first time, the United States submitted its economic policies affecting the hemisphere for review by the Inter-American Committee for the Alliance for Progress (CIAP), as other hemisphere nations have done for many years. This symbolized our commitment to equal partnership, increased Latin American understanding of our policies and heightened our sensitivity to the great impact of our economy on the region.

To foster collaboration in planning and managing development assistance, we provided financial support for the staff of CIAP to play a greater role in setting development priorities; pledged financial support to increase the capabilities of the Inter-American Development Bank and CIAP to prepare projects for financing by development leaders; permitted CIAP to participate in the planning of U.S. bilateral development loans for the hemisphere; eased restrictions so that our neighbors may now spend aid dollars elsewhere in Latin America or the developing world; supported the expanded technical assistance programs of We OAS Secretariat General and specialized organizations; extended financial assistance to the Central American Common Market and the Caribbean Free Trade Area.

Inter-American mechanisms for noneconomic problems were improved as well. Several important revisions in the OAS charter took effect last February: the creation of an annual OAS General Assembly; the upgrading of the IA-ECOSOC and the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Council; and the assignment of peaceful settlement functions to the OAS Permanent Council.