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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

First Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas: The Williamsburg Principles

July 24, 1995


Williamsburg, VA

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.


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