Pan American Conferences, the periodic meetings of the independent republics of the Western Hemisphere. From 1889 to 1954, meetings were regularly held to discuss general topics of concern to the American republics. Until 1948, the meetings were officially known as International Conferences of American States. In 1948, when the Organization of American States (OAS) was formed, the official name of the conferences was changed to Inter-American Conferences. These conferences were to be held every five years, but none took place after 1954. In 1970 the OAS charter was amended and the Inter-American Conferences were replaced by annual meetings of the general assembly of the OAS.

In addition to the general conferences, many special Pan American conferences have been held on such subjects as health and sanitation, trade and finance, aviation, highways, and education.

Conferences have typically aimed at fostering closer relations among the American republics in political, economic, and social affairs. Pan Americanism has sometimes included proposals for a political alliance or for confederation, but these efforts have gained little support.

Early Pan American Movement

During the period when the Latin-American countries were winning independence, Simón Bolívar called a conference that met in Panama City in 1826. Four countries were represented; the United States delegates did not arrive in time. Treaties were drafted for a Spanish-American confederation but were not ratified. Later conferences were held in Lima, Peru, in 1847 and 1864–65 and in Santiago, Chile, in 1856. Treaties of alliance and mutual assistance were drafted but were ratified by only a few countries. Conferences were held on problems of international law in Lima in 1877 and Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1888–89.

The United States was not represented at any of these conferences. Henry Clay was an early advocate of Pan Americanism. Another was James G. Blaine, who promoted the first Pan American Conference and as secretary of state presided over it.

Pan American Conferences
First Conference,
  • –90, Washington, D.C.; 18 countries represented, all of the then-independent American republics except Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic). The International Union of American Republics was created with a permanent bureau called the Commercial Bureau of American Republics (now the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States).
Second Conference
  • –02, Mexico City; every country represented. A chief topic was international arbitration.
Third Conference
  • , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Haiti and Venezuela were absent. The conference asked that the 1907 Hague Conference adopt the Drago Doctrine.
Fourth Conference
  • , Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bolivia was not represented. Conventions were adopted on various matters, including patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
Fifth Conference
  • , Santiago, Chile. Bolivia, Mexico, and Peru were absent. Conventions were adopted to improve commercial relations.
Sixth Conference
  • , Havana, Cuba. Conventions were adopted on international law.
Seventh Conference
  • , Montevideo, Uruguay. Costa Rica was absent. One convention declared that no country has the right to interfere in the affairs of another country.
Eighth Conference
  • , Lima, Peru. The Declaration of Lima affirmed the solidarity of the American states against foreign encroachments.
Ninth Conference
  • , Bogotá, Colombia. The Chatter of the Organization of American States was drafted.
Tenth Conference
  • , Caracas, Venezuela. Costa Rica was not represented. Resolutions condemned Communism and colonialism.
Special Conferences
Inter-American Conference For the Maintenance of Peace
  • , Buenos Aires; adopted treaty for maintenance and preservation of peace.
Inter-American Conference On Problems of War and Peace,
  • , Mexico City. The Act of Chapultepec affirmed the principle of solidarity and mutual assistance.
Inter-American Conference For the Maintenance of Continental Peace and Security
  • , near Petropolis, Brazil. The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance was drafted.
Inter-American Conference On the Application of Science and Technology to the Development of Latin America
  • , Brasília, Brazil.
Summit Meetings of the American Presidents

were held in 1956, Panama City, Panama; 1967, Punta del Este, Uruguay.