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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Background on the First Defense Ministerial of the Americas


July 24, 1995

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Williamsburg, VA

The White House
Washington, DC
September 13, 1995

In December 1994, I hosted 33 other democratically elected leaders from our hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas in Miami. Together, we affirmed our region's commitment to democracy, justice and opportunity. And we vowed to establish a new architecture for regional relationships -- to build partnerships that would preserve the values we share and promote the prosperity that will ensure better lives for our children.

I am particularly pleased that Secretary Perry and his counterparts throughout the region were quick to take up this challenge. The July 1995 Defense Ministerial of the Americas in Williamsburg, Virginia gathered civilian and military leaders of the region for the first time. During three days of meetings, they discussed a broad range of security issues in an atmosphere of open dialogue and mutual confidence. The six "Williamsburg Principles" they established will guide our future security policies. These principles recognize that the preservation of democracy is the basis for mutual security and that armed forces should be subordinate to democratically elected leaders.

Future generations will look back on the Defense Ministerial of the Americas as an exciting new chapter in regional relations -and a milestone in the cause of hemispheric peace. I commend Secretary Perry for hosting the event and I thank all those who participated for their enthusiasm and vision.


The Secretary of Defense
Washington, The District of Columbia

I am pleased to share this report with you, which provides an overview of the first ever Defense Ministerial of the Americas.

Building on the "Spirit of Miami", forged at the Summit of the Americas hosted by President Clinton, representatives from all thirty-four democratically elected governments of our Hemisphere assembled in Williamsburg to discuss how our Armed Forces can best promote peace, cooperation, and security. After extensive consultations among all participating governments, we agreed to focus on three themes: defense transparency and confidence building; defense cooperation in such areas as international peacekeeping, demining operations, and counterdrugs; and the role of the Armed Forces in twenty-first century democracies.

Discussions and working groups organized around these three themes led us jointly commit to the six Williamsburg principles of promoting democratic values, recognizing the legitimate role of the Armed Forces in defending the sovereignty of democratic states, subordinating the military to democratically constituted governments, relying on negotiations to resolve outstanding disputes and to prevent new ones, and cooperating for international peacekeeping and against narcoterrorism. President Clinton and I believe that progress in these areas will both parallel and facilitate attainment of the economic and political goals Hemispheric leaders laid down in Miami last December.

I hope that these materials will allow others to share in the extraordinary spirit of Williamsburg.

William J. Perry


 Table of Contents

  • The Williamsburg Process

  • The Williamsburg Principles

  • Keynote Address by U.S. Vice President Gore

  • Closing Statement by U.S. Secretary of Defense Perry

  • Summaries of the Working Groups

    • Transparency and Confidence & Security Building Measures (Salvadoran Minister of Defense General Corado)
    • Defense Cooperation (Bahamian Minister of Public Safety & Immigration Smith)
    • Armed Forces in 21st Century Democracies (Argentine Minister of Defense Camilion)

The Williamsburg Process

The "Williamsburg Process" refers to the open and direct manner in which the countries of the hemisphere addressed the first ever Defense Ministerial of the Americas. The consultations process leading up to the meeting represented a new approach to security relations in the Hemisphere-one based on equal partnership, mutual respect, and cooperation. The idea of the Ministerial was raised by Secretary Perry in January; the U.S. Government agreed to host the meeting after February consultations with states in the region yielded a positive response.

The joint endeavor began in March when Secretary Perry announced to Western Hemisphere Ambassadors that he would host a meeting of his counterparts in July. During the next few months, senior level officials from the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, and the National Security Council met with leaders in the region to form the Ministerial agenda and format. A consensus formed around the following themes:

  • Armed Forces in 21st Century Democracies

  • Defense Cooperation

  • Transparency and Military Confidence and Security Building Measures

The openness and dialogue that characterized the consultations process carried through to the meeting in Williamsburg. Countries gave presentations at the plenary and working group sessions on security issues important to their governments. Plenary sessions included ample time for response; the working group sessions were structured to encourage informal discussion on Ministerial themes.

The dialogue among defense leaders at the Ministerial led to agreement on a wide range of defense and security issues. The extent of this consensus is reflected in the press communiqu�, and six principles of Williamsburg read at the closing ceremony at the House of Burgesses.

Welcoming Defense Leaders

On Monday, July 24, Secretary and Mrs. Perry welcomed delegations as they arrived at Langley Air Force Base. At Langley, delegates saw a number of events, including an F-15 demonstration, a quality of life briefing, and a presentation on the United States Southern Command's multilateral exercise program.

Monday evening Secretary Perry and his wife opened the Ministerial with a dinner at the Governor's Palace for all participants. Mr. Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty, Counselor to the President, made brief remarks, acknowledging the enduring legacy of the Summit of the Americas: "The ongoing cooperative Spirit of Miami has been instrumental in allowing us to achieve post-Summit success. There is no better example than the Ministerial here in Williamsburg."

Mr. McLarty underscored the importance of the growing cooperation in Hemispheric relations. He said, "We are challenged by our newly defined relationships to work for a better, more democratic and prosperous future. Alone, we cannot succeed. Together, we cannot fail."

Setting the Scene

On Tuesday, July 25, Secretary Perry opened the day's working sessions praising delegates for "making history" by seizing the opportunities presented by the end of the Cold War to "begin our world over again in our hemisphere." The tools needed to define the post-Cold War security agenda currently exist: a shared outlook regarding the importance of democratic government, free trade and open markets; and, strong leaders willing to protect these principles. The purpose of Williamsburg, according to Secretary Perry, was to address an important third element -"a framework for hemispheric defense establishments to work better together."

In his remarks as guest of honor at the Defense Ministerial, U.S. Vice President Gore challenged defense leaders "to look beyond the traditional concept of security to new missions related to our new circumstances and new realities." The Vice President suggested examples of new roles for Armed Forces in the region based on a commitment to strengthening our mutual security: (1) participation in UN peacekeeping operations, (2) support for police efforts to eradicate the scourge of narcotics, and, (3) protection of national environmental assets. Of critical importance, said the Vice President, is that militaries implement these missions "not with swords drawn, but with swords sheathed in the service of peace and freedom."

Addressing Shared Challenges and Opportunities

Throughout Tuesday's working group and plenary meetings, discussion was open and candid, with participation by all countries. Three countries-El Salvador, the Bahamas, and Argentina-were asked to summarize the views of delegates on the three main themes. Their reports were given at Wednesday's final plenary and closing ceremony, and document well the achievements of the Williamsburg meetings.

Theme 1: Transparency and Military Confidence and Security-Building Measures

At the Ministerial, discussions on transparency and military confidence and security building measures (CSBMs) were designed to highlight multi- and bi-lateral mechanisms already in place, and generate ideas for additional CSBMs. For example, Argentina and Chile, and Venezuela and Colombia, spoke of the numerous programs they have developed to lessen tension on their shared borders. Secretary Perry emphasized the importance of two OAS sanctioned regional CSBMs, which encourage countries to: (1) standardize reporting on defense expenditures, and (2) register arms sales and inventories with the United Nations. The United States also announced that it would give prior notice to countries of significant multilateral military exercises in the region-an important unilateral confidence building measure.

At the conclusion of the Ministerial, delegates agreed to adopt as a goal the resolution of border disputes in a time frame consistent with regional economic integration. If adhered to, this commitment will significantly strengthen confidence and build trust among the countries of this Hemisphere.

Delegates also discussed ways to exchange information on Defense matters:

  • The United States provided delegations with copies of the Defense Department Annual Report to Congress, which explains U.S. defense policies and expenditures.

  • Canada gave a presentation on the national review process it used to determine defense policy.

The publication of defense expenditures, policy, and goals provides important information to domestic constituencies as well, helping to consolidate democracy within countries.

Theme II: Defense Cooperation

In the area of defense cooperation, participants shared the experiences of their militaries in the areas of peacekeeping, demining, and humanitarian and disaster relief:

  • The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations discussed the success of the Battalion involved in the UN Mission in Haiti.

  • Brazil gave a presentation on its participation in peacekeeping operations world-wide, including Bosnia and several African states.

  • The seven-nation Regional Security System in the Eastern Caribbean gave examples of the benefits of regional cooperation in disaster relief and counternarcotics.

The dialogue provided opportunities for expanded cooperation in defense. For example, Argentina and Canada offered to open their peacekeeping training centers to additional students from other countries. Countries also agreed to consider greater military cooperation in support of police efforts to eradicate illicit drugs, especially in the areas of information sharing and arms interdiction.

Theme III: Armed Forces in 21st Century Democracies

In the post-Cold War era, most of the region's defense establishments are dealing with new civilian-military dynamics, tight resources and new missions. U.S. Senator Bob Graham, acknowledging the participation of parliamentarians at the Ministerial, discussed the important role legislatures play in the oversight of defense.

In Williamsburg, countries learned from each other how best to approach common challenges. For example:

  • Colombia described its recent efforts to institute military justice reform and human rights training programs for the Armed Forces.

  • El Salvador has undergone a significant military re-orientation from fighting an armed insurgency to traditional missions of external defense. Its force conversion plan was briefed to delegations.

  • Jamaica gave a presentation on the role of defense forces in civic action and nation-building.

Williamsburg Principles and Process: Inaugurating a New Security Relationship

The Williamsburg principles and process, described by Secretary Perry at Wednesday's closing events, represent a new chapter in inter-American security relations. The six principles of Williamsburg articulate common goals for regional defense and security forces; the Williamsburg process promises further dialogue and cooperation among defense establishments.

The Ministerial exceeded expectations, promoting quality interaction, opening new lines of communication, building new friendships and establishing a vehicle to continue such discussions. The challenge for the countries in this hemisphere is to encourage the Williamsburg process and deepen the commitment to the six principles of Williamsburg. As Secretary Perry said in his final remarks, "now we must work together to carry this out."


The Williamsburg Principles

  • Uphold the promise of the Santiago Agreement that the preservation of democracy is the basis for ensuring our mutual security

  • Acknowledge that military and security forces play a critical role in supporting and defending the legitimate interests of sovereign democratic states.

  • Affirm the commitments of our countries in Miami and Managua that our Armed Forces should be subordinate to democratically controlled authority, act within the bounds of national Constitutions, and respect human rights through training and practice.

  • Increase transparency in defense matters through exchanges of information, through reporting on defense expenditures, and by greater civilian-military dialogue.

  • Set as a goal for our hemisphere the resolution of outstanding disputes by negotiated settlement and widespread adoption of confidence building measures, all of this in a time-frame consistent with the pace of hemispheric economic integration, and to recognize that the development of our economic security profoundly affects our defense security and vice versa.

  • Promote greater defense cooperation in support of voluntary participation in UN-sanctioned peacekeeping operations, and to cooperate in a supportive role in the fight against narcoterrorism.


Keynote Address: U.S. Vice President Al Gore

It is fitting that we should gather in this historic setting of Williamsburg, for here, amid these cobbled streets and among these ancient buildings, as we come together to assess the future of freedom in our hemisphere, we can also recall our shared colonial pasts. At every corner and every street, at every inn and tavern, we can hear the echoes of the struggles that gave birth to democracy in my country, and we're reminded of the freedoms that we now join to celebrate and to sustain.

Here in this city some of the world's boldest and most resonant words on behalf of independence and freedom have been heard. Nearby at the House of Burgesses the American Patriot and Revolutionary Patrick Henry first gave voice to one of our nation's earliest and most eloquent calls for liberty. And here in Williamsburg in 1776, outraged by the tyranny of a distant monarch, 7irginia declared itself to be an independent Commonwealth. "Sic Semper Tyrannis,""Thus always to tyrants, "-became the motto of Virginia and was emblazoned on its flags and seals. And it remains so today.

It was also here that a young provincial legislator named Thomas Jefferson presented a pamphlet called "A Summary of the Rights of British America" in which he wrote the radical- revolutionary-notion that people had a right to govern themselves. Above all, he wrote, and I quote-"The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." These ideas became the inalienable rights that Jefferson himself wrote into the American Declaration of Independence. They gave moral force to our revolution, and they have nurtured our democracy for more than two centuries.

We here today represent nations who share the experiences of colonialism, of a struggle for independence, of a striving to build democracy. Though we have traveled different paths, we have sought a common destination.

Many of our nations believe that our paths finally converged at the Summit of the Americas in Miami last December. The "Spirit of Miami" incorporated a new sense of community into the historic notion of hemispheric identity. It recognized that we are a community of nations bound by the principle that government derives its authority from the consent of the governed; that our citizens have legal and human rights that governments must protect; that we have a common interest in-. using the creative forces of the free market to promote economic development and trade; and, that mutual respect and cooperation should be the cornerstone for our relations with one another.

Indeed, the "Spirit of Miami" affirms that as a community of democracies we are becoming interdependent, not only in economic terms but also more broadly in a social and political sense. This interdependency compels us to think anew about the meaning of security in this hemisphere.

In the past many of us have thought about security only in terms of our own national defense, but new circumstances challenge us to look more deeply at the concept of security. In short, these new times demand new thinking.

This meeting is designed to stimulate our thinking about these things and to give us all an opportunity to learn from one another, to begin discussions in a cooperative manner on a range of issues, the sum of which may help us better understand what our needs and expectations for security really are. I am convinced that security in our hemisphere can be enhanced by the consolidation of democracy, by prosperity and cooperation, indeed by the very sense that found expression in the "Spirit of Miami".

Today that spirit is taking hold across our lands from Point Barrow to Tierra Del Fuego. Every country here is led by a democratically elected government. Equally impressive, with rare interruptions the nations of our hemisphere have been at peace with one another throughout this century. Indeed, the Latin American and Caribbean nations, of all regions, spend the least on military budgets and have the fewest uniformed personnel per capita.

Can we develop a framework for hemispheric security that will assure the integrity of our borders, reduce the potential for conflict, increase cooperation and develop means for the fair and speedy resolution of problems? These are the questions that are being addressed, and I think the answer is yes. And let us begin by acknowledging the eternal and most fundamental issue of national security, the defense of our borders.

The citizens of our nations have given all of us here a special responsibility for the preservation and protection of our nations respectively. We must all recognize that threats to our security certainly did not end with the demise of communism. We have a responsibility to maintain disciplined, effective forces that are trained, equipped and ready to execute national defense missions. But you also share with your elected leaders the requirement to uphold the well-being of the citizens within your borders.

One of the most difficult challenges for any democracy is the balancing of individual freedom with demands for societal stability. We have known throughout our own history that this balance was the most critical of all. In our case, we viewed this balance as a two-way compact that governments reliably serve the needs of the people but also derive their legitimacy and their ultimate authority from the consent of the people-of the governed.

Well, today, as Miami has made so clear, all our nations are joining in this dynamic experiment. Throughout the hemisphere legitimacy and stability grow from the will of our citizens. As Abraham Lincoln, one of my country's greatest Presidents, said, it is "ballots, not bullets," that must guide our nation's path. That is why the role of the military, and its fidelity to the people and fidelity to the leaders of the people-the freely elected democratic leaders of the people-is so critically important as we move forward on this democratic path.

At the Managua OAS General Assembly in 1993 our nations all affirmed that Armed Forces must be subordinate to legitimately constituted civilian authority. We can find in the "Spirit of Miami" an implicit reaffirmation of this fundamental premise of democracy.

To make the Managua resolution effective, civilian leaders must ensure that political and judicial institutions have sufficient resources and character and are able to meet their responsibilities. To do anything less is to invite the kind of instability that threatens the fabric of society. Equally important, civilian and military leaders must work together to ensure that military institutions are ready to fulfill their responsibilities. These relationships must be recognized if the Armed Forces of any nation are to perform the functions implied in the traditional definition of security.

But we must all be encouraged and challenged to look beyond the traditional concept of security to new missions related to our new circumstances and new realities, missions performed not with swords drawn but with swords sheathed in the service of peace and freedom.

These missions bring with them an expanded assessment of what really constitutes national security; namely, a recognition that the security of our own countries depends not on the weakness of our neighbors but on the efforts to promote mutually beneficial prosperity for all of our nations in this hemisphere.

Let us briefly summarize, then, some, but certainly not all, of the new roles our militaries in the region may perform.

The most striking impact of hemispheric stability is that professional military and civilian security resources have been freed up to participate in international peace-keeping. Twenty nations in our hemisphere are supporting fifteen of the sixteen United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world with over ten thousand peacekeepers from our hemisphere in such distant places as Bosnia and the Sinai. In our own hemisphere they have performed vital roles in promoting peace in Central America and recently in Haiti. Here again, we are witnessing a major rethinking of what constitutes national security as our nations recognize the interrelationship between democracy and long-term stability.

This said, I know that peacekeeping sometimes prompts a concern that is shared by many of the defense ministers here today; that in our cooperation on common humanitarian efforts we not lose sight of deeply felt beliefs in this hemisphere for sovereignty, nonintervention and territorial integrity.

I understand the historical basis for this concern and believe strongly that, working together, we can reduce fears that peacekeeping will ever be abused. Our vision remains one of independent and sovereign states voluntarily contributing to specific missions in specific circumstances. There must be a strong international consensus that a serious threat to international stability and security exists, and the characteristic requirements for engaging in a peacekeeping operation must also exist before it is ever undertaken.

Now, there is a second role. The scourge of narcotics trafficking continues to pockmark our hemisphere. As General McCaffrey, who works on this problem every day, has noted, narco-trafficking is a cancer. If it is left to metastasize-as cancer does-it will foment violence, it will undermine democracy, it will create corruption throughout society, it will create a disease in the communities of the nations represented here.

Each of our nations is paying a dreadful price because of this sickness. In my country alone, the cost of drug abuse is now estimated at over $67 billion per year, more than we spend each year on the United States Army.

Even as we meet, our nations are working together to disrupt the drug trafficking that abuses our citizens and poisons our children. We have forced the cartels to change their methods, their infrastructure and their shipment routes. Though our Armed Forces cannot be expected to be on the front lines of this struggle, they can-in voice and in deed-join their brave colleagues in the fight against drugs.

For example, we can applaud the work of those like President Samper and Defense Minister Botero in Colombia who are standing up to traffickers, often at tremendous personal risk demonstrating tremendous personal courage. And we are in the United States, as are you here, doing our part. Last year the Southern and Atlantic Commands spent over $600 million to support regional counterdrug operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Our message is clear. Our hemisphere is ready to stand up to the cartels. Drug traffickers shall not prevail. They will be defeated.

Let me mention a third role. No review of the challenges we face would be complete if it did not include the very real and grave threats to our shared ecosystems. Let there be no doubt: Our peoples cannot share fully in mutual prosperity when our planet's health adversely affects the health of humankind. In the end, we cannot expect to be responsible stewards of freedom if we are not also responsible stewards of our hemisphere's air, land and water.

In my own country the Armed Forces are doing their part. Indeed, many of our military installations now contain some of the most unaltered ecosystems in the nation and are addressing the cleanup of some of the worst environmental problems in my country. And we are spending, indeed, scores of billions to clean up after years of the Cold War.

All of us can, and must, do more. Democracy requires both civic responsibility and individual accountability. There is no doubt in my mind that in the next century, our hemisphere's militaries can become models for responsible environmental stewardship.

But our challenge is not simply to manage the lands and waters we use for military purposes. Our broader challenge is to recognize that the sustainable development of democracy requires that we also sustain the development of the resources which nourish our freedoms.

Today our Armed Forces, with their special skills and discipline, have a unique role in shaping this vision. How can we employ the information collection resources, the ability to respond quickly, to move people and material, to communicate under difficult circumstances-how can we use these extraordinary capabilities to protect the environment on whose security, I argue, our people will depend even more in the next century? This is a challenge that I hope your conference will take seriously. One that, indeed, you must take seriously, in my view, if we are to make the next century one of peace and security and prosperity for our people.

Well, the dialogue that you are initiating here in this historic meeting on strengthening military cooperation, confidence and security building measures and the Armed Forces of the 21st century, this historic dialogue is essential to the realization of a new framework for security in our hemisphere.

The Armed Forces can bring to the dialogue, and to democratic society, the strengths of courage, discipline and dedication to the will of our citizens. These are not easy challenges. They require a broad understanding that a nation's security really does rest on indivisible political, economic and social pillars.

Our nation's defense policies must address these larger issues as well as specific military concerns if we are to succeed in effectively supporting the hemisphere's shared goals of representative democracy, human rights and shared prosperity.

I believe we truly are off to a great start, and today we can start planning to do more; more cooperation, more openness, more modernization, more confidence-building, more understanding and trust and shared good will, more sharing of experience on how to reduce tensions and to enhance our democracies and our freedoms.

It is that shared mission that brings us together today in Williamsburg. You possess the ideas and the vision to help propel us to a future of democratic security and prosperity. You have been tested, both by success and by failure, and, above all, each of you, in your own way, has helped to awaken your fellow citizens to a new day of freedom. While each of our countries will pursue its own democratic course where and when our interests intersect-as they do here today-we can and should pursue them together.

Well, in closing, I have spoken today of Thomas Jefferson, and I feel certain that he would be proud that his legacy is alive and well in this room. There were shared values in that day, shared by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Simon Bolivar, who-every citizen of the United States is proud to know-once carried a picture of George Washington in his breast pocket.

These shared values are even stronger in 1995 than they were two hundred years ago. In those days as a young man, Jefferson spent several years in Williamsburg, both as a student and as a legislator. Reflecting on his years in this city, Thomas Jefferson once said, "I have heard in Williamsburg more good sense, more rational and philosophical conversations than in all my life besides." Well, like Jefferson's time, may your own time here in Williamsburg be stimulating and productive. May you hear good sense, rational and philosophical conversation and come away from the experience having felt that this is indeed an extraordinary enterprise in which we are all engaged. All of the citizens of our hemisphere have great expectations of those of you gathered here in Williamsburg.

On behalf of President Clinton, I would like to say that I am proud that the United States has the honor of hosting this conference, and we are grateful to each of you for the opportunity you have given us to be your hosts. I'm proud that we do so here at the historic confluence of the James and York Rivers, in this ancient cradle of the United States democracy, and I'm very proud that we gather today in common cause on the cusp of a new century, present at the creation of a new hemispheric community of democracies.


Closing Statement
U.S. Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry

Here at Williamsburg, a cradle of liberty in the Americas, representatives from the Hemisphere's 34 democratically-elected governments joined together for three days in a historic first meeting of civilian and military leaders. The House of Burgesses is an appropriate place to celebrate the conclusion of this historic event. It is here that my country's early leaders debated the principles of democracy to guide a new nation. Now, 219 years later, we celebrate the consolidation of democracy throughout the hemisphere. All of the delegates to this conference have shared my view that in our own way we are also making history with this conference.

The leaders of this Ministerial represent many different types of defense and security institutions. Yet, during these three days, these differences posed no barrier to our communication-quite the opposite. Our discussions have been open, cordial and substantive, as befits conversations among allies and friends.

We began with two premises. First, as stated at the Miami Summit of the Americas, stable democracies are the best guarantee of peace and well-being in the region; and second, that the end of the Cold War provides an unprecedented opportunity for our countries to strengthen joint efforts across all spectrums-political, economic, social, and military.

At Miami, the Hemisphere's leaders committed to economic integration by the year 2005. Recognizing that progress in one area reinforces advances in others, we discussed how cooperation on defense matters must parallel and complement the process of economic and political cooperation proclaimed in Miami.

We are convinced that by dedicating our countries to democratic values, active support for confidence building measures, and greater bilateral and regional cooperation in defense, we will establish a solid foundation to meet the Hemisphere's security challenges of the 21st century.

This new foundation is based on a commitment to partnership in conflict prevention. The consolidation of representative democracy in the Hemisphere has had a positive impact on our societies and on relations with one another. The democratic states of Latin America and the Caribbean are the least armed and militarized in the world. Among all regions, they spend the lowest proportion of their gross national product on the military. The Americas has, with few exceptions, an enviable tradition of peace and avoidance of conflict.

However, even in the best relationships, there are inevitable tensions that require negotiation and compromise. By our participation at this conference, we recognize that true security cannot exist either at the expense of, or in isolation from, other nations. Essential to our new partnership is dedication to achieving common approaches and joint solutions in an atmosphere of open dialogue, mutual confidence and transparency.

Those assembled here acknowledge that civilian and uniformed leaders together must promote security. As our governments declared in Managua in 1993, all of the region's Armed Forces must be firmly established within the democratic system of government that the Americas proclaim. Civilian leaders should in turn respect the apolitical nature and professionalism of security institutions.

Confidence and Security-Building Measures

Building on the commitment made by our Heads of State and Government at the Miami Summit to strengthen mutual confidence and regional dialogue, we began our meeting with a discussion on defense transparency and confidence building.

The Hemisphere has a gratifying history of significant confidence-building agreements, many under the active leadership of the Organization of American States. Yet, we are not content to rest upon the achievements of the past; as a region we are exploring new ways to build trust and community. To that end, we strongly endorse the regional conference on confidence and security building measures to take place in Santiago, Chile, in November, 1995, and call for full participation in this important event. We encourage those in the Hemisphere who have not done so, to announce at that conference their full compliance with UN and OAS resolutions calling upon member states to:

  • participate fully in the UN Register of Conventional Arms, by providing data on arms imports and exports, and background information on military holdings and to share these submissions with the OAS;

  • regularly supply the UN and the OAS with information on military expenditures;

  • prevent all forms of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems;

  • utilize measures for conflict prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes taking into account the instruments that already exist; and

  • regularly inform in advance neighboring states of significant military exercises. In this regard, I announced at this meeting that the United States Government will henceforth give prior notice to all 33 participants of significant multilateral military exercises in the region.

We are equally convinced that our dedication to defense cooperation should reinforce the indivisible economic, social and political pillars of inter-American cooperation. In Miami, the Hemisphere's leaders committed themselves to achieving economic integration by the year 2005. We hope the nations of the Americas will set as a goal the resolution of outstanding territorial differences on the basis of mutually agreed solutions in parallel with the process set in Miami for economic integration.

The announcement made by my colleague from Brazil on the Peru-Ecuador border agreement is a milestone that validates the type of work we are doing at this conference. The guarantor countries worked hard to help the two parties reach this agreement. Indeed, just yesterday, Vice President Gore met with the delegates from Peru and Ecuador.

The Ministerial provided an opportunity to build a network of relationships that will promote transparency internally and externally. We discussed mechanisms for exchanging information on defense matters. For example, the US provided delegations with copies of the Defense Department Annual Report to Congress, which explains US defense policy and expenditures. Canada gave a presentation on its national defense policy documents.

Such exchanges foster greater transparency of defense information to the public, a key ingredient in democratic consolidation. We all learned the importance of open and regular communications between both defense and foreign ministries, as well as legislators and presidential advisors.

In the end, the maximum confidence-building mechanism is the consolidation of democracy.

Defense Cooperation

The Hemisphere's defense and security forces have a legitimate role in democratic states, as determined by constitutional authorities, to defend national sovereignty. We acknowledge that each country is best able to determine its appropriate defense requirements, including the size and composition of its Armed Forces necessary to protect national sovereignty.

Also, the end of the Cold War has brought further opportunities to, in the words of the OAS Charter, make it possible to devote the largest amount of resources to the economic and social development of the member states.

We are convinced that bilateral and regional cooperation will provide new opportunities for our nations to use scarce resources more efficiently to support humanitarian relief, demining operations, information-sharing, counterdrug efforts in support of law enforcement, and combined training in these areas. Sharing these experiences, especially in the context of cross-border cooperation, also reinforces our confidence-building efforts.

The scourge of narcotrafficking, narcoterrorism., and the violence and corruption they engender, threaten the very existence of some of our democracies. Though many of us believe that the police rather than the Armed Forces should be on the front lines of the fight against these threats, we all support joint counterdrug efforts such as greater information sharing and arms interdiction.

Our discussions in these areas provide the basis for expanded cooperation. There was consensus to invite each other to our respective training programs in these areas. On demining, Argentina proposed a number of initiatives and we agreed to explore a regional fund for demining the entire hemisphere. Argentina and Canada, two of twenty hemispheric countries engaged in peacekeeping operations around the world, offered to open their peacekeeping training centers to additional students from other countries. Those countries interested in participating in peacekeeping call for continued reform of UN peacekeeping operations.

The CARICOM nations recounted their success in establishing a joint CARICOM battalion to participate in the UN Mission in Haiti. The seven-nation Regional Security System in the Eastern Caribbean offered itself as an example of the benefits of cooperative disaster relief and counterdrug activities. Noting the especially severe resource limitations of small states, the CARICOM countries call on the larger states of the hemisphere for training and other assistance to help stop illegal arms and narcotics trafficking.

Armed Forces in 21st Century Democracies

We reaffirm our mutual conviction that the maintenance of peace, the promotion of human rights, and the consolidation of democratic regimes are principles shared by all of the nations of the Hemisphere. No crisis facing any member state justifies a breach of the system of representative democracy.

We regard the basic dignity of the individual and respect for the rule of law as essential factors in achieving solid and durable hemispheric security. In keeping with the Miami Summit Plan of Action, we initiated an exchange of information on human rights training for our Armed Forces. As for our part, the United States proposes we continue such exchanges, for example, by convening a meeting of military and civilian leaders in 1996 to discuss human rights training initiatives in the region.

There was a common understanding that, in the post-Cold War world, we all face the challenge of restructuring our forces with limited resources. We recommitted ourselves to our traditional missions of external defense and territorial integrity. We also explored new missions like reforestation, education and health care that address the pressing socio-economic needs of our people. However, we recognized the need to balance the military's role in internal development against the need for strong civilian institutions. We shared ideas on how the Armed Forces could best assure an adequate quality of life for their personnel. Our discussions also emphasized the need to retrain our soldiers so that militaries change as the world changes.

All agree on the importance of encouraging interaction between civilian and military personnel, including joint professional education and training, to develop a better understanding of each other's contributions to national security and a democratic society. Going one step further, I suggest we recommend to our governments that they support an expanded role for the Inter-American Defense College to educate civilians in national security studies. We also agreed on the important role that Ministries in charge of security and defense play in furthering the process of civil-military relations.

Conclusion

In sum, as chair of this first-ever meeting of Western Hemisphere defense leaders, it is my belief that we have reached a consensus on the six principles of Williamsburg:

  • First, to uphold the promise of the Santiago Agreement that the preservation of democracy is the basis for ensuring our mutual security;

  • Second, to acknowledge the critical role of the military and security forces in supporting and defending the legitimate interests of sovereign democratic states;

  • Third, to reaffirm our commitments made in Managua and Miami, that our Armed Forces should be subordinate to democratically constituted authority, act within the bounds of national Constitutions and respect human rights through training and through practice;

  • Fourth, to increase transparency in defense matters through exchanges of information, through reporting on defense expenditures, and by greater civilian-military dialogue;

  • Fifth, to set as a goal for our hemisphere the resolution of outstanding disputes by negotiated settlement and widespread adoption of confidence building measures, all of this in a time frame consistent with the pace of hemispheric economic integration, and to recognize that the development of our economic security profoundly affects our defense security and vice versa; and

  • Sixth, to promote greater defense cooperation in support of voluntary participation in UN-sanctioned peacekeeping operations, and to cooperate in a supportive role in the fight against narcoterrorism.

We have accomplished this through dialogue and consensus, and a shared commitment to strengthening and consolidating our democratic values and institutions. Now we must work together to carry this out.


Summary of the Working Group Transparency and Confidence & Security-Building Measures

Salvadoran Minister of Defense, General Humberto Corado

Within the spirit of the Summit of the Americas, and as a contribution to the meeting on confidence-building measures to be held on November 7th and 8th in Chile, we here set out some considerations, foundations and conclusions on the subject of transparency, confidence-building measures which summarize the exchange of ideas and experience on this subject from all of the countries of the hemisphere during the Defense Ministerial of the Americas held in this historic City of Williamsburg.

Foundations

  • The countries of America agree on common objectives and interests, hemispheric integration, sustainable development, transparency and confidence.

  • As a result of the far-reaching political-military changes globally, the concept of security must be redefined and geared toward democracy and hemispheric cooperation.

  • Without security there can be no peace, and without peace, no development. The new concept of security should cover aspects such as democracy, poverty, human rights, drug trafficking, the environment, education, culture, an opening of international markets, fair and balanced rules of participation, disarmament and migration.

  • The patrimony of America is a peaceful community among its nations.

  • America is a region of peace with low military budgets compared to other parts of the world.

  • As Secretary William Perry has said, the Chiefs of State and heads of government of the Americas believe that transparency is a priority matter, and its implementation requires a more open defense policy among ourselves, sharing, for example, annual reports on defense and security, military budgets, plans and programs to modernize Armed Forces. All of this will make possible a strengthening of confidence and transparency.

  • The countries of Central America, as a result of their particular circumstances, are moving toward a new system of regional security in the framework of the Central American Integration System.

  • Traditional missions of defense remain valid and necessary so long as there are states. The transition to the 21st Century requires that Armed Forces join in the protection of human rights in the democratic system.

  • It is important to consider that the geopolitical situation of some countries varies, in particular, in the Caribbean, and there must be emphasis on the combat of drug trafficking and protection of their trade.

  • The OAS is the forum for discussion and an instrument for action to implement confidence and security building measures. It is timely to make an appeal to the member countries of the organization in order to obtain their firm support to successfully achieve the objectives of the upcoming meeting in Santiago in November.

  • We must recognize that the progress made in the OAS in terms of transparency and confidence building is due largely to the very successful work of the Special Committee on Hemispheric Security.

  • Confidence-building measures in Central America should refer to Agreements I and 11 of the Esquipulas. This began the transition towards peace, offering a new model of security to transform Central America into a region of peace, democracy, development and freedom. And modernization of Armed Forces is necessary to maintain and strengthen the democracies.

  • Hemispheric security must be restructured on the basis of consensus cooperation and reflection, natural components of the process of integration which, when achieved, will produce new formulations of doctrine.

Conclusions

  • Our over-arching objective is the consolidation of democracy.

  • We reaffirm our commitment to peace fully settle disputes and disagreements among states of this hemisphere.

  • Our relations should be grounded in respect for international law.

  • We must carry out the mandates of the United Nations and the OAS regarding the registry reports on and trade in conventional weapons to strengthen confidence among our countries.

  • Close communication among military personnel at all levels and on border areas and a good-neighbor policy on measures that can forestall conflicts.

  • Academic exchanges and joint exercises can be developed to improve mutual understanding and confidence. Transparency and exchanges of information can ensure that there will be no surprises, and thus we share the idea of announcing bilateral or multi-lateral military exercises to all the countries in the hemisphere.

  • We should gear our efforts to cooperate with governments to develop confidence building measures among our nations so that by the year 2005 we can achieve a free trade area, allowing our peoples economic prosperity, integration and sustainable development.

  • We should seek an inter-American system that is secure, stable and cooperative and that has direct support of the economic, political, social, cultural and environmental sectors.

  • The maximum level of confidence, mutual confidence, is reached through consolidation of democracy and economic integration.

  • Cooperation in international peacekeeping missions strengthens integration, transparency and mutual confidence.

  • The subordination of the Armed Forces to political power strengthens democracy.

  • Negative practices such as protectionism, the transport of toxic waste and nuclear testing have a negative impact on confidence and transparency.

Finally, we state that this ministerial meeting constitutes the beginning of a process of exchanging ideas in a spirit that will certainly strengthen our Armed Forces.

We agree on the large objective of modernizing Armed Forces to support our governments in the consolidation of democracy, peace and sustainable development which will make possible a better future for our peoples in the 21st Century.


Summary of the Working Group Defense Cooperation

Bahamian Minister of Public Safety and Immigration, Cornelius A. Smith

It is a special honor for the Bahamas to serve as spokesperson for the working group on defense cooperation which, I dare say, has been the over-arching theme of this conference.

In retrospect, the assignment of this particular function to the Bahamas has a special symbolic significance as several of the issues discussed, in particular those in the sphere of counter-narcotic activities, have resulted in the development of a unique cooperative relationship between the Bahamas and the United States.

For obvious reasons, the defense cooperation theme attracted outstanding participation and generated many very compelling presentations and equally instructive interventions under three sub-themes of international peacekeeping, demining and counternarcotics.

Not only were we able to expand and build on some of the ideas and concepts articulated in the Plenary, but, more importantly, we were able to achieve consensus and unanimity on several themes.

On the theme of peacekeeping, the group was updated on Canada's exemplary peacekeeping history and focused on the Canadian 1994 Defense White Paper. Admiral Mifflin brought into our discussions the realities of the changing face of peacekeeping, or, as he more aptly describes them, peace operations. Canada highlighted the need for several principles in the effective execution of peace operations. They include, among other points, a clearly defined mission, a suitable force for the mission, a clear understanding of responsibilities and a solid operational concept and command and control structure.

To this, Uruguay added the need for a more fluid channel of communication with the United Nations to ensure the expeditious disposition of fiscal matters; specifically, the reimbursement of troop contributing nations.

The issue of demining set off fervent and prolific debate among several of the Latin American countries. Those countries were singular in decrying the enormity and pervasiveness of the problem; the wanton destruction of human life, normally innocent civilians, the need for international financial support and the crippling effect placed on national development because of the presence of mines.

Brazil shared the considerable experience garnered in a multi-lateral demining operation in Nicaragua, which, tragically, has more mines per capita than any country in the world. This was described as a very successful laboratory experiment of mine removal in the hemisphere, one which also bears the hallmark of regional cooperation in confidence and security. Several proposals emerged out of the discussions which elicited unanimous support. They are as follows:

  • The establishment of an international demining fund under the aegis of the United Nations.

  • The enactment of regulations prohibiting the production and sale of anti-personnel mines.

  • The need to promote the demining requirements of the affected countries in Latin America as a priority item at the upcoming Geneva Conference.

  • And, the need for regional and international agencies, such as the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Defense Board, to provide both technical and leadership support for demining.

Mr. Secretary, with regard to the fight against drug trafficking, candid and instructive debate ensued. Aside from our common geographical and historical connections, a byproduct of this dangerous trade is that it causes all of us to be more resolute in our efforts to deal effectively with the problem.

Several countries enumerated recent initiatives, shared their experiences and proposed cooperative strategies for the future. Of particular interest were the insightful presentations from producer countries, one of which proposed a holistic approach to combating all aspects of the drug trade, including illegal cultivation, production, distribution and illegal financial networks.

Colombia's success with the steady dismantling of the Cali Cartel, hitherto the epicenter of drug trafficking in the hemisphere, was discussed. In that vein the group was cautioned to expect that the dismantling of supranational cartels might result in the development of numerous and widely dispersed small operators, thereby creating more and different challenges.

Diverging views as to whether or to what extent the military should be employed in the fight against drug trafficking were addressed by several countries, but a clear consensus could not be achieved. There was unanimity in the call for collective action in the spirit of shared responsibility and the need for greater financial and material support from the traditional donor countries, in particular, the lead player in the hemispheric alliance, the United States.

On the whole, the session on defense cooperation defined some very seminal issues which, unfortunately, could not be developed to their fullest potential because of time constraints. But, in spite of the time constraints, I think I speak for all the delegates when I say that our principal accomplishment was the charting of a course of dialogue which must be followed up in subsequent hemispheric and regional follow-up and through bilateral action.

Permit me, Mr. Secretary, to thank all the delegates who attended the defense cooperation session for their contributions to the proceedings, and special thanks must go to our distinguished moderator, Minister Raul Tovar of Bolivia, who so ably guided our deliberations.

Thank you very much.


Summary of the Working Group Armed Forces in 21st Century Democracies

Argentine Minister of Defense Oscar Camilion

The conclusions of the third group, to a large extent, coincide with those that we have just heard from the first and second groups through their spokespersons. The principal areas in which all of the countries agreed upon in Group Three are the following:

First. The Armed Forces in the 21st Century will be the Armed Forces of sovereign states. The state will not disappear as a protagonist, and the Armed forces are fundamental and founding parts of the states in each of the countries of the region.

Second. The Armed Forces continue to carry out their traditional missions, such as defense of sovereignty of the national territory, and still have a key function in occupying the territories of our countries with vast empty spaces and still have a very important function in supporting the economic and social development of each country in the nation-building process.

We, of course, must clarify that the missions of support to the community and the promotion of economic and social development should not change the basic focus of action of the Armed Forces in the field of defense, nor project for them expectations that they are not in a position to take care of.

Third. The Armed Forces are institutions that fit within the framework of the democratic processes of the regions. The Armed Forces in the 21st Century are armed services with regard to the service of constitutional institutions and of democracy.

The decision of the Summit of Miami of creating an area of free trade for the year 2005 generates a continental commitment that extends itself to the area of democratic political institutions and to security.

Fourth. This commitment implies civilian control over defense and security. Civilian control over defense and security means control of the civil society through its government, respecting the characteristics of each country. Within this framework, cooperation between civilians and the military must be and is, in fact, increased.

Fifth. Respect for human rights becomes a basic concern in the functions of the Armed Forces in carrying out its security and defense missions. It must be assumed as a problem to the extent to which it exists, and it is desirable that past situations in this field also be acknowledged in order to be able to overcome them once and for all.

Sixth. The existence of international problems that affect the security of our nations define new roles for the Armed Forces, such as participation in peacekeeping operations within the United Nations framework. Although the UN Security System is imperfect, it's the only one we have, and we must support it. And increasingly peacekeeping operations become a central function for the Armed Forces instead of being supplementary or side functions.

Seventh. Although there is a distinction, there are differences in the responses of the countries vis-a-vis the struggle against narco-traffic and terrorism, we cannot deny that the subject is a serious one. We cannot discuss its projection as a matter of regional security and the need to cooperate; although, situations may be different in the light of national legislation, different national cultures and very specific structural systems in this narco-traffic war.

Eighth. In the possible fight against natural disasters, the Armed Forces continue be the best-organized and capable institution to face these problems. In some cases, in the light of the processes of privatization, they are the only institutions that the states have at their disposal to face contingencies of this nature.

Ninth. The defense of our natural resources that might be subject to depredation, such as fisheries resources, are a very important task in the course of action that the Armed Forces are to take.

Tenth. The present profile of the Armed Forces raises new needs from the educational point of view. The scenario for the 21st Century calls for the profile of a military personnel trained according to the latest technological advances, the need for the training of the men in uniform so that they join civil society, and this creates needs in the establishment of curricula, both in universities as well as in military training centers.

Eleventh. The Armed Forces of the region must face the reality of decreasing budgets. Nowadays, the Armed Forces of the Americas are expressed in defense establishments that take up the lowest per capita amount of the gross domestic product of each country, compared to other areas of the world, but we don't believe those resources will increase; they will, rather, decrease. A better allocation and distribution of resources, in the view of the trend that these military budgets are growing slower than the gross product grows, requires great rationalization and changes of the Armed Forces, something that has been undertaken and is underway already in many countries. Transparency and confidence-building measures and cooperation-building measures among the countries of the region will contribute in the implementation of these processes.

Twelfth. In view of these new realities, civilian institutions that are entrusted with the responsibility for taking care of defense and security problems of the countries of the region, whatever the name may be, will play a very important role.

Mr. Secretary of Defense, since these will be the last words that I will speak in this meeting, I would like to briefly reiterate what I said in my opening remarks; that is, to congratulate you for your initiative. I believe that there is unanimity among those who are present here that this meeting has filled a vacuum and that your objective has been met. We can consider that this meeting of ministers of defense and equivalents throughout the hemisphere has been a success.

If the countries present here consider at some time that this effort must be repeated, Argentina would feel very honored to be the host of a similar event.

Thank you very much.



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